Tuesday 27th April is a big day for our team in Amsterdam as the city celebrates Kingsday. For those of you unfamiliar with this quirky Dutch public holiday we asked Adriënne Jansen, PA at Design Bridge Amsterdam, to explain a little bit more about the history and traditions surrounding Kingsday, and how we’ve celebrated with the team this year…
Hey Adriënne! So, what are we celebrating on Kingsday?
On Kingsday – Koningsdag in Dutch – we celebrate the birthday of the head of state, King Willem Alexander.
Didn’t this used to happen on 30th April?
Yes, when Beatrix was our Queen we celebrated Queensday on 30th April. King Willem’s birthday is on the 27th April so this has been the official Kingsday since 2014.
Obviously we’re in a pandemic at the moment so things are a bit different, but what would normally happen on Kingsday?
Parties everywhere in the Netherlands! Streets are decorated in orange and the colours of our flag and there are lots of flea markets, because Kingsday is the only day of the year when people are allowed to sell things on the street and in parks without a permit. You’ll also find people making music, organising games and providing all sorts of other entertainment.
Why is everyone dressed in orange?
The Dutch Royal family bears the name “House of Orange”, which is why it is the national colour of Holland. During Kingsday people usually dress in their best all-orange outfit – wigs, make up, the lot!
All this partying is making us thirsty…
With parties come drinks. Besides lots of beer, on Kingsday we toast with Oranje Bitter, a bright orange liqueur that dates back to 1620. It was developed in honour of the victory of Prince Frederik Hendrik, and the first King Willem of Orange brought the liqueur back to popularity. It has been linked to the Dutch Royal Family ever since.
Anything to eat?
The Oranje Tompouce! A Tompouce is a traditional Dutch sweet pastry. Traditionally it has a pink topping, but for today it is orange. It’s a very popular treat to eat on Kingsday, and to bring to your friends, family and colleagues.
Holtkamp is one of the oldest bakeries in Amsterdam and they have the best Tompouce in town, so this year we ordered Royal Design Bridge treats from Holtkamp to share with everyone from the Studio.
So that’s why the team all received a hand-delivered Tompouce to their door this year …
Yes, for the second year in a row the Dutch will have to celebrate Kingsday without all the usual events, flea markets and parties. Despite Covid, we still wanted to celebrate the 54th birthday of King Willem Alexander with the team, so Djanira, Jazz and myself personally delivered all of our Amsterdam colleagues a Royal treat – by bike and dressed in orange, of course!
Delicious! Anything else we should know about Kingsday?
Every Kingsday, our King visits a different city and his route and the event are broadcast live on television. This year the King and his family will visit the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, but with things being a bit different at the moment, it won’t be a public event. The King will lead a procession of cars from The Hague to Eindhoven in an old DAF truck that was specially made for his grandparents Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard in the 1950s, and his journey will be broadcast on NOS from 10.50am.
Thanks Adriënne, Fijne Koningsdag allemaal!
Want to be part of our Kingsday festivities next year? We’re looking for people to join the team in Amsterdam – check our Careers page for the latest opportunities.