One Week Notice: Koningsdag

Amsterdam’s Party of the Year Is as Good as It Sounds

By The Editors
April 15, 2016 9:00 am

Because those airline points sitting in your account don’t improve with age, we present One Week Notice, your guide to globetrotting to some of the world’s best and brightest events — on a whim. All you need to get there is seven days and some moxie. Don’t think. Just go. We double-dog dare you.

Amsterdam is already Europe’s most fun city, thanks in no small part to a legally blasé perspective on pot.

Now imagine the city on a beautiful spring day, with thousands of people milling the streets, beer in hand from morning to night.

This is King’s Day, aka Koningsdag. Officially, it’s a celebration of the King’s birthday on April 27. Unofficially, it’s a massive, good-natured, highly intoxicated street party. With windmills.

Amsterdam has all the five-star hotels you’d expect of a European capital, but there’s really only one place to shack up: The Dylan. Check into your duplex, settle into a bath under a timber-beam ceiling, and plan the day’s adventures over dinner at the Michelin-starred Vinkeles. Take advantage of the superb location on Keizersgracht and ask for a canal-side room.

Koningsdag is the Netherlands’ biggest party: July 4th plus Thanksgiving in a city with a famously permissive attitude toward marijuana use. The entire street grid is remade into one neverending block party, ideally experienced from the deck of a boat streaming along the city’s canals. You won’t need to find the party — walk out the door (any door) and you’ll be surrounded by revelers wearing every piece of orange clothing they own. Plan on drinking early and continuing until you fall asleep.

Amsterdam is an easy train ride from some of Western Europe’s most interesting cities, including Paris, Antwerp and London. We recommend, though, staying in Amsterdam after the festivities are over: Take in the Old Masters at the Rijksmuseum, roam past the windmills in Zaanse Schans, and train it down to Leiden for a bike ride through flower fields — daffodils and then tulips expected. If you have time for more, head north, to Texel, for a Dutch take on a Hamptons-y beach destination.


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