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How has Koningsdag changed throughout the years?

Koningsdag; the day the streets turn orange and glasses are filled to celebrate the birth of our King. As time passes, it is clear that as culture, technology, and people change, so do the traditions that come along with celebrating Kings day.

Of course the date is one that changes along with the inauguration of each new head of state. The date change from the 30th of April to the 27th in 2013 caused some confusion for tourists wanting to take part in celebrations, but after almost 10 years (!) the new date is noted on each and everyone's calendar for the foreseeable future. The change of name from Koninginnedag to Koningsdag was also a unique one after 3 years of reigning queens, and will (possibly) be renamed as such when Amalia takes the throne.

As the day gets more popular, the tradition of the “vrijmarkt,” or placing all your unused items on a blanket to sell to others, becomes more competitive. This has people attempting to reserve spaces by taping on the street, hanging up signs, and tying barrier tape to the surrounding areas. While this isn’t permitted by many municipalities, that doesn’t stop people from attempting to get the most popular spot in order to sell everything they can find in the back of their closet.

As gierige Dutchies, people will try to sell everything they can, including clothing hangers they get for free when buying from the HEMA. Selling these for only 50 cents makes payment easy, but even easier is the current trend of digital payment through QR code. This is the only day where sending a Tikkie of less than a euro is acceptable, so take advantage!

Safety is also a rapidly increasing priority, still as a result of the 2009 attack on the Dutch family in Apeldoorn, but also due to the new awareness of the rapid spreading of viruses.

Finally, while not exactly a change throughout the years, a difference in opinion is found in celebrating Koningsnacht (also called Prinsjesnacht) versus Koningsdag. Asking an older crowd would probably get an overwhelming response urging you to celebrate the day itself, while a younger crowd might say to go out the evening before and make use of the free day to hang(over) around on the couch.

We wish everyone a safe and fun Koningsnacht and/or Koningsdag, with lots of oranjebitter, tompoucen, and most of all gezelligheid!