This year Koninginnedag is a very special day. On April 30th Queen Beatrix will abdicate the throne and turn it over to her son, Prince Willem-Alexander.
During her national address in January, Her Majesty the Queen announced her decision to abdicate saying as this year is her 75th birthday and the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Netherlands, it is therefore a good time to transfer the throne into younger hands.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, quite a few festivities are planned. Below is an outline of the day’s royal activities:
- 10:00 at the Palace: Queen Beatrix will abdicate the throne. When he succeeds his mother, Willem-Alexander Prince of Orange will become King Willem-Alexander. Princess Máxima will become Queen Máxima, and Her Majesty Queen Beatrix will become Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix. King Willem-Alexander will be the nation’s first king since 1890 and will be 46 years old when he ascends to the throne.
- 10:30 on the Palace balcony: His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Máxima and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix will appear on the balcony, wave to onlookers, and give short addresses. Her Royal Highness the Princess of Orange and Their Royal Highnesses Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane will then join them on the balcony.
- 14:00 at De Nieuwe Kerk: King Willem-Alexander will be sworn in at De Nieuwe Kerk across from the Palace.
- 19:30 at EYE Museum: the royal boat parade will depart from the EYE Museum in Amsterdam Noord, continuing along the IJ to conclude at 21:30 at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ.
If you’d like to view any of these activities keep in mind that it will be crowded. Queen’s Day typically attracts between 700,000 and 800,000 visitors to Amsterdam, so the city will already be very busy. Many foreign dignitaries are attending the inauguration events so security will also be high. Keep reading for more details.
Royal Palace and De Nieuwe Kerk
The city says that Dam Square is able to accommodate a maximum of 20,000 viewers to watch the royals make speeches from the balcony of the Royal Palace. If you’d like to be there, we recommend arriving quite early. Some say people will be camping out all night, if security will allow it.
The events will also be broadcast on television, so you’ll likely get the best view by watching the proceedings from home. Large projection screens showing the activities will also be placed around the city at Museumplein, Oeverpark at Amsterdam Noord, Kop van Java on Java-eiland and other locations. Cafes and bars will also show the coverage. Keep in mind that Waterlooplein and Spui are designated as places where those who would like to protest may gather.
Museumplein will be renamed “Oranjeplein” for the day and huge screens will be erected there to show all the ceremonies and activities live. The capacity of Museumplein is around 150,000 so there should be more room for everyone. In the evening, a King’s Dance will be held here featuring a varied program of music, art and culture to celebrate the new King.
Visitors to Museumplein are advised to travel into Amsterdam via Station Zuid. This provides quicker access to Museumplein and also relieves some of the traffic to Amsterdam Central Station, which will be extremely busy.
Royal Boat Parade
After setting sail from the EYE Film Institute Netherlands around 19:45, the ship carrying His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will be joined by a number of other boats to form a parade including music and other entertainment.
The parade will travel past the Oeverpark, via the northern side of the River IJ to the Kop van Java and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, where the event will conclude with a ceremonial salute from the boats in the parade. The planned parade route is pictured above.
If you would like to watch the boat parade, head down to the IJ. It will likely be quite busy, of course. As there are large screens to be placed at Oeverpark in Amsterdam Noord and Kop van Java on Java-eiland, those would be good places to gather. Stay tuned for more specific information on where to watch the festivities.
You cannot sail along with the royal parade in your own boat, so don’t plan on that. Navigation along the River IJ will be temporarily blocked due to the event.
This year will be the first time that King’s Night will be celebrated in Amsterdam. Events running later into the night on 30 April will take place at the Oeverpark, at Kop Java and at Museumplein along with other locations.
From 2014 onwards, King’s Day will be celebrated on 27 April, the birthday of the future King Willem-Alexander, although the first King’s Day will actually be held on Saturday, 26 April 2014, as the event is traditionally not celebrated on a Sunday.
Regular Queen’s Day Festivities
The city has said that the majority of the traditional Queen’s Day festivities including the street market and parties will go ahead as planned. The traditional Queen’s Night celebrations on 29 April will also go ahead as planned, although festivities may not continue as late into the night as is normally the case. This is due to preparations required throughout the city in advance of the inauguration the following day. See our article on Queen’s Day 2013 for more information.