Picturesque Golden Age canals, premier league art, cosy cafés, and liberal urban living combine to make Amsterdam one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals.
Travel bucket list idea:
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
Amsterdam holds a massive city-wide street party every year to mark the birthday of King Willem-Alexander.
Orange-clad Dutch people (and visitors) cram the streets, parks and canals, which become clogged with boats. There is free live outdoor music everywhere, and the city becomes one giant flea market, with many an Amsterdammer trying to flog unwanted second-hand things – great for collectors. The preceding evening, King’s Night, is a big night across the city’s bars and clubs.
Wearing orange is de rigueur on King’s Day, even for visitors. Expect the whole city to be garish orange, from clothes and wigs to banners and food. The orange craze is a reference to the Dutch royal family – the House of Orange.
It’s colourful and great fun if you like to party and socialise, but for others it’s crowded, messy and noisy (and many locals flee the city until it’s over). Amsterdam is jam-packed, with some 800,000 extra visitors to the city – and be prepared for lots of inebriated Dutchmen.
Note from Matt: If you don’t like crowds, don’t go. The streets throng and it’s hard to get around. But the atmosphere is buzzing, and there are mini-concerts and entertainment all around town. My tip – find a spot you like and stay there. As the day wears on, the crowds thin and spontaneous little street parties break out all around the town, where you can dance the night away if you like to party. Anyone is welcome to stop and join in. Teens and twenties will love it.
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