Today is King’s Day (Koningsdag) in the Netherlands. The official holiday has been celebrated annually on April 27 since 2014. Reigning monarch King Willem-Alexander was born in Utrecht and is the oldest child of Beatrix of the Netherlands and German diplomat Claus van Amsberg. He became Prince of Orange as heir apparent upon his mother’s accession on April 30, 1980, and succeeded her following her abdication on April 30, 2013.
King’s Day is marked with various activities. Festivities usually begin on the eve of April 27 in many towns and cities, especially in Amsterdam, Arnhem, Utrecht, and The Hague, and stalls are set up to sell King’s Day products. On King’s Day, musical performances are staged and people sing “Het Wilhelmus,” a poem written in 1574 that describes the life of William of Orange (William the Silent) and his fight against the Spanish Habsburg Dynasty for the Dutch people. This musical piece is also played by bands that perform at the King’s Day events and on radio stations. The royal family traditionally visits one or a few places where they are entertained with displays and performances around local historic events. Royal family members also participate in games and greet thousands of people who turn out to see them.
The Netherlands is in Western Europe. It is bordered by Germany on the east, Belgium on the south, and the North Sea on the northwest. Amsterdam, its capital and largest city, is also the political center of Netherlands.
The monarch’s birthday in the Netherlands has been a festive celebration for many years. Queen’s Day was celebrated in 1890 after Princess Wilhelmina became queen following the death of her father. Queen Juliana, Wilhelmina’s daughter, was crowned in 1948 and from 1949, the Queen’s Day celebrations honored her birthday on April 30. Queen Juliana’s daughter Beatrix became queen on April 30, 1980. Her birthday is on January 31, but Queen’s Day remained on April 30 – coinciding with Queen Beatrix’s own coronation day and her mother’s birthday.
In 2013, it was announced that beginning 2014, Queen’s Day in the Netherlands would become King’s Day and be celebrated on April 27. The announcement followed the Queen’s abdication from the throne in favor of her eldest son Willem Alexander whose birthday falls on April 27.
We greet the people and government of the Netherlands headed by His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the occasion of its National Day and King’s Day.