Koninginnedag or Queen's Day is a
national holiday in the Kingdom of
the Netherlands. Celebrated on 30
April (the 29th if the 30th falls on
a Sunday), Koninginnedag is Queen
Beatrix's official birthday. Though
Queen Beatrix was born on 31
January, the holiday is observed on
30 April as it was the birthday of
her mother and predecessor, Juliana.
Many of the traditional activities
are held outside, and observing the
holiday in April makes suitable
weather more likely.
holiday was first observed on 31
August 1885 as Prinsessedag or
Princess's Day, the fifth birthday
of Princess Wilhelmina, heiress to
the Dutch throne. On her accession,
the holiday acquired its present
name, Koninginnedag. When held on 31
August the holiday was the final day
of school summer vacation, leading
to its popularity among children.
Following the accession of
Wilhelmina's daughter Queen Juliana
in 1948, the holiday was moved to
her birthday. Her daughter, Beatrix
retained the celebration on 30 April
after she took the throne in 1980.
Beatrix altered her mother's custom
of receiving a floral parade near a
royal palace, instead choosing to
visit different Dutch towns each
year and join in the festivities. In
2009, the Queen was carrying out
this custom in the town of Apeldoorn
when a car was driven into a crowd
surrounding the royal family's
vehicle; seven people in the crowd
were killed, and the car's driver
also died soon afterwards.
Koninginnedag now sees large-scale
celebrations, with many concerts and
special events in public spaces,
particularly in Amsterdam. An
outdoor concert is held on
Amsterdam's Museumplein, where as
many as 800,000 people may gather.
To aid visitors in returning home by
train after the festivities outdoor
events must end by 20:00, and the
Museumplein show by 21:00. The city
centre is closed to cars, and no
trams ride in the heart of the city;
people are urged to avoid Amsterdam
Centraal railway station and use
other stations if possible from
their direction. International
trains that normally begin or
terminate at Amsterdam Centraal are
instead directed to a suburban stop.
In recent years parties and concerts
have been held the evening before
Koninginnedag. Nightclubs across the
Netherlands organise special events
for what has become known as
Koninginnenacht (Queen's Night).
Many young people celebrate in the
streets and squares (and in
Amsterdam, the canals as well)
throughout the night, and after
all-night partying join the crowds
at the vrijmarkt.