Kingsday is the day when all of the Netherlands turn orange and go out on the streets to party in honor of Koning Willem-Alexander’s Birthday celebrations. Needless to say, I was glad to be on exchange here in beautiful Amsterdam when this extravaganza went down. Even though orange is literally my least favorite color, I had loads of fun and got to enjoy every second of this Dutch traditions.
Basically, Kingsday is the reason to party in Holland. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are or what type of music you are into – you really can’t escape the party unless you lock yourself into your room and draw the curtains.
Boat Party on the Canals
My Kingsday started with a boat tour through the canals. It was quite an early shift but the canals were filled with party boats already. The boat was organized through ISN Amsterdam and I can only recommend you get a hold of one of these tickets if you can! They sell out super fast, so you better set an alarm and team up with friends rather than buying them individually, as this makes it harder to get on the same shift.
Anyway, the boat was rather small and not too overwhelming, but they did offer free beer and wine, so in my opinion it was well worth it. I love how everyone on the canals just acts like one big group of partying people. Some people will throw cans of beer and hope the others catch.
The only thing I really disliked about the boat thing is that some people were apparently raised in a barn and threw the cans into the canals or put them under the bridges. Why the hell do you have to do that?! Does it make you feel soooooo cool?! Anyways, aside from these idiots the boat party was really great.
Afterwards, I headed out to meet my Austrian friends, who study in Utrecht, at Kingsland festival. Kingsland is a big EDM festival that takes place in all major Dutch cities. They mostly have the same lineup, as the just helicopter the DJs around from one place to another. I really wanted to go because of Alesso. No shit, I have been listening to Alesso for so many years now, and I never got to see him live! Can you imagine how happy I was to finally see him play?!
So the music was really good, but I think I had expected a little too much as I was still in awe of DGTL, which took place the weekend before Kingsland. Basically, Kingsland was poorly organized. It had an outdated token-system and the crowd was rather loud and childish. Some older guys got really annoying and you could definitely tell they were on drugs. Yes I know, techno festivals are basically drug capitals but for some reason the people at DGTL knew how to behave. Aside from that, Kingsland had a really contraproductive waste-policy. Basically you got some tokens for cups as you walked in, but they threw each cup away when you got a new drink and just gave you a new plastic cup. Like what the hell? Just wash out the cup and fill it up again, it’s not that gross.
The token system really made me angry at how they basically lie to people about their prices. Basically, one token equaled three euros, but they only sold them in quantities of 4 or higher. The prices of drinks were then like 2.5 or 3 tokens, which kind of looks like a low amount of money but when you do the maths, it turns out that they were ridiculously overpriced for the little amount of drink you got.
Anyway, enough of the ranting! I finally got to see Alesso and the weather got better just as he got on the stage, definitely a sign from above! Timmy Trumpet was really great too, he got us really hyped for Alesso, who is a little less of an entertainer but more of a DJ on stage anyways.
Thoughts on Kingsday
Kingsday is also when Dutch people show that they are really proud of their country and quite honestly I think they have every reason to do so! Sometimes I wish the feeling of being proud of your country and generally patriotism carry very negative connotations these days… people are quick to label you as a right-wing supporter once you embrace your countrie’s flag or traditions. I feel like in Austria we should definitely be a little more patriotic about ourselves. I hate how we still carry a lot of stigma from WWII. I remember until I was like 18 all the responses I would get when saying that I’m from Austria would be either
- “Oh Australia?!” or
- “Oh… isn’t that were Hitler is from?”
None of them were really great, the one just implies how irrelevant we are because of our size and the other one just links us to our past. Now that I’m on exchange, I can proudly say I have only heard the Australia one a single time and the WWII one not a single time! Can you believe?! This might sound weird to some people, but it definitely means a lot to me that people develop a different, more accurate picture of my country. Most people I meet here say they love our nature and come to ski and hike. Others love our elegant capital of Vienna. I love to see how tourism and education have changed the image of Austria to the better, and quite honestly we have no reason to not celebrate ourselves like the Dutch do. Personally, I hope and believe that this feeling will develop further int he future.
Anyway, if Kingsday taught me one lesson, it is that one day a year should be reserved to just party in the name of your country!