A Practical Guide to King's Day

reading time 10 minutes | by Renske Mehra

April 23 ––  2021

It's almost time for… King's Day! But what are we actually celebrating? What to wear? And where to buy a delicious orange tompouce? An FAQ for everyone who is new to the wonderful world of biting biscuits and shitting nails.

Q. When is King's Day?

A. April 27. Until 2014, we had Queen's Day, which took place on April 30 in celebration of Queen Beatrix’ birthday. She was actually born on January 31 (weather wise one of the worst days in the Netherlands, so she decided to stick to her mother’s birthday, Queen Juliana).

Q. Is King Willem-Alexander's birthday really on April 27?

A. Definitely! He was born on April 27, 1967 in Utrecht.

Q. How do you celebrate King's Day (if there is no Covid-19)?

A. For anyone who fancies a good party, the night before King’s Day is when it all starts. On Kings Night, the pubs normally fill up and people dance and drink in the streets. King's Day itself is excellently timed for anyone who has just had their spring cleaning. On April 27, there are flea markets all over the country where children and adults sell their stuff on the street. Head out early in the morning to find the hidden gems.

The King celebrates his birthday in a different city each year. Together with the members of the Royal Family he joins the local festivities where the town presents itself in a characteristic manner. This is done with a parade, musical performances and contributions from organizations and associations that are rooted in the city and region. The King and his family meet the public along the route. Kids traditionally play folkloristic games such as biscuit biting and shitting nails.

Q. I want to shit nails too.

A. Take a bottle and a nail on a rope. Tie the rope around your waist, making sure the nail hangs somewhere between your buttocks and your knees. Stand in front of the bottle and bend your knees. Whoever gets the nail into the bottle first has won.

Q. How to celebrate King’s Days in Eindhoven?

A. Eindhoven = King. And this year the King is celebrating his birthday in Eindhoven! A historic event, also because of the corona measures still being in place. Willem-Alexander will be introduced to the city of tech, design and creative parties in a unique way.

On April 27 the Oranges will follow all festivities from High Tech Campus Eindhoven.The event is broadcasted live on television by the NOS (the National Dutch Broadcasting Company). Public events are not allowed, this year you can follow everything from home! There is also plenty to do here. There's a crazy lottery with designer prizes from Eindhoven and the student teams of the TU/e share their latest innovations.

Q. What to wear?

A. Something with orange. A hat, scarf or shirt. You can also try orange hairspray. If you're like, sorry-but-orange-doesn't-work-for-me, go for a combination of red, white and blue.

Q. How else do I express Orange feelings?

A. You can hoist the Dutch flag, orange pennant and all. Eat an orange tompouce or try singing the national anthem. Forgot the lyrics? Click here.

Q. Where can I find the best tompouce?

A. A well-known place for the orange tompouce is the Hema, which sells them just like many supermarkets. Bakers and pastry chefs also offer great varieties of tompouces. Check out the vegan tompouces from Viola’s, for example.

Hoist the Dutch flag, orange pennant and all. Eat an orange tompouce or try singing the national anthem.

Q. Any fun facts about the Royals and Eindhoven?

A. One of the most famous squares in the city is named after the great-grandmother of Willem-Alexander. The Wilhelminaplein was created in 1904 on the occasion of the visit of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik to Eindhoven. The names of many bars and restaurants on the square still refer to the Royal Family.

In 1927, the first shortwave radio transmission with the Dutch East Indies took place from Natlab. Queen Wilhelmina and Princess Juliana (the great-great-grandmother and grandmother of King Willem-Alexander) spoke to the Dutch colony this way.

Warm ties were formed between the House of Orange and the Philips family. In 1936 Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard stayed in villa De Laak, the home of Anton Philips.

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