Jup, we have a king. And yes, the whole country celebrates his birthday. It’s normally done with a lot of orange clothing and a lot of beer drinking (like almost every Dutch holiday). But there is a bit more behind it!
Kingsday was celebrated for the first time in 1891 the fest was created to create more unity within the Netherlands. It was then called Queensday as we had a queen at that time (makes sense right?). The day is normally celebrated on the actual birthday of the reigning sovereign with an exception for our previous Queen Beatrix. Her birthday was in January and because the Dutch weather normally isn’t very good during that month (or any month), they decided to keep the date of her mother: April 30th. Since 2014 the Netherlands has a king and thus changed the name to Kingsday and the date to 27th of April. The royal family visits a different Dutch city every year. This year it’s Tilburg!
Okay, so now you know a little bit more about the date and why we celebrate it. But what do we actually do besides drinking beer? Kingsday is all about traditions. In the past you didn’t need a permit to sell stuff on the streets at Kingsday, this is why normally at Kingsday, kids (and grown-ups) sell anything and everything on the streets. You see massive flea markets all throughout the city. Kids putting a blanket on the pavement and selling their old toys, people selling tv’s, books, records, clothing… Name it and you’ll find it.
Besides the flea markets a lot of traditional Dutch games are played; like ‘sjoelen’ (shoot a wooden disk through a hole on a wooden board), ‘spijkerpoepen’ (wear a rope around your waist with a nail on it. Make sure you get the nail in a bottle on the ground by squatting over it) and ‘koekhappen’ (A traditional Dutch treat hangs on a rope, try to eat it while blindfolded).
Where is the alcohol in all this you might ask? Don’t you worry, Kingsday has another side as well. During the day all the bars are open, people are having fun and drinking beer. Kingsnight is the night before Kingsday so people are normally a little bit hungover, and nothing cures a hangover better than a hair of the dog that bit you! There are a lot of (free) festivals as well.
As we said (and you probably already knew) the king is coming to Tilburg this year. That is why everything is orange and streets, you didn’t even knew needed repairing, are being replaced.
If you plan to stay in Tilburg we have a few tips!
- Put your bikes only in the designated areas. A lot of the places where you normally would put it (for example besides Carpe) are not allowed. Guarded bike stands are the best options. Check the time they close though!
- Wear orange.
- The king makes a tour through Tilburg between 11.00-14.00. He is passing by Carpe as well. So if you want to spot him make sure to be close.
- All bars close at 03.00 on kingsnight. This because of safety measures. Yes, this includes fastfood shops.
- A fun way to start your Kingsnight is “Tilburg Zingt” tonight at 19:45. It is at the ‘Piusplein’ and ‘Paleisring’. Basically 15.000 people singing songs on a square (like a cantus, but for beginners). Sounds fun right? After the event make sure you’ll meet us in Carpe for a beer!