A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I reckon you have heard about this curious myth around queen’s day more than a couple of times since you arrived. It is supposed to be THE event of your year in the Netherlands. And this year will be extraordinarily special, as it will be the last of its kind in a long time. Next year, the Netherlands will celebrate a King’s day.
As Emma wrote a lovely post on queen’s day last year (http://theleidener.com/2012/05/08/queens-day-2012/) and as you might have heard about it plenty of times already, I think I do not have to tell you what queen’s day is about. But for those you have (like me) just realized that this myth will take place tomorrow already and haven’t organized anything yet, I will share some of my last minute researches on events that are happening all over the place.
The queen’s night is the night BEFORE the actual queen’s day. All clubs in the Netherlands organise special events and there will be free parties and concerts outside as well. Besides Amsterdam, Den Haag is a very popular place to go to for queen’s night as there will be more than 25 free concerts on seven outdoor stages.
Queen’s Day in Amsterdam
Going to Amsterdam for queen’s day is the most obvious thing to do. I have just been in Amsterdam yesterday and the city was already covered in orange, blue, red and white. I cannot imagine how it will look like on the actual day. There will be concerts, parties and an official ceremony; it’s supposed to be a unique experiment. For live music, Museumsplein, Leidseplein and Waterlooplein are the main places to go to.
The Vondel Park might be a good opportunity to take a rest from all these party crowds as it is more a place for families and markets.
Though Amsterdam is the most exciting place to be on queen’s day, you should be aware of the fact that it could be too intense for you as well. As Amsterdam is the most popular place to go, it will be massively packed and it will get increasingly difficult or even impossible to get a train to and especially back from Amsterdam. People who get easily overwhelmed by big crowds and do not want to stay there the whole day and night should consider going to another place.
If you decide to go to Amsterdam, you can either just wander around or buy tickets online for a special party or concert. For more specific information, check out these pages:
This year, you will even have the chance to participate in an historical event as well: Queen Beatrix will sign the document of resignation at the Royal Palace in the morning which will make Willem-Alexander the new king. At 10:30, the official ceremony will take place: the Queen and the new King will address the crowds on the Dam Square from the balcony of the Royal Palace. At 2 PM, the official inauguration ceremony will take place at Nieuwe Kerk which you can watch on many TV screens located everywhere in Amsterdam.
The calmer alternatives: Haarlem, Rotterdam, Leiden
Fancy a festival? Here you can find an overview for queen’s night and queen’s day (in dutch):
For those who prefer it a bit calmer but nevertheless orange and busy should try Haarlem. It’s a beautiful city which offers various stages with live music, markets and bars.
Rotterdam is supposed to be the place for concerts on queen’s day. Artists and bands will perform live on different stages throughout the city and there will be two festivals for which you can buy tickets online. Furthermore you can wander around many flea markets located from Coolsingel to Binnenrotte and watch a firework at 10:30 pm at the Maas River.
Stay in Leiden:
That is probably the easiest thing to do: no problems with getting on a train (and especially back), no big crowds and still a fun time. In Leiden, there will be music and events all over the place everywhere as well. Especially the area at Nieuwe Rijn and De Burcht will be busy as well as Breestraat where you can find an antique market.
Get a bunch of people together, meet for breakfast, find a nice spot in the city, and make your own queen’s day.
I have to admit all these opportunities brought me into a decision crisis and made my plans for queen’s day not really easier. I hope you will find something that suits you. Whatever you do, stay orange 🙂