How to Enjoy Queen’s Day in Amsterdam

Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day is one big city wide party, followed by one big city wide flea market. This year the population of the city rose by 300,000 for a weekend party. So it’s crowded, noisy, dirty and pretty difficult to get around. After many years of research I’ve come up with four ways to enjoy Queen’s Day.

(1) Leave the City
This has the advantage of giving you a long weekend away when Queen’s Day falls on a Friday or Monday, so you can take an emergency luxury break and relax in peace and quiet. I’ve tried this twice.
In 2001 problems with an overstretched transport system meant the railway closed down in the morning, leaving 4 of us stranded at Schiphol, unable to get to Antwerp, but also unable to get back into the city.
In 2004 I went to Prague thinking we’d get away from the city. Only to find that the whole city was celebrating the Czech Republic’s admittance to the EU. (Distinct lack of forethought on our part).

(2) Wander Around the City
Start early-ish to collect the bargains, and enjoy the gezelligheid in relative calm, then retreat to your own apartment. This worked really well in 2005, here is the evidence.

(3) Join In
Sell your own cast-offs in the vrijmarkt, this has the disadvantage that you’re stuck in the one spot for the day, but has the advantage that you do get to meet your neighbours. I did this 2006 and gained 150 euro and 2 cubic meters more space in the apartment.

(4) Take to the Water
I haven’t tried this yet, you would miss the worst of the crowds, and get to have your own ongoing party on the water. The disadvantage is that according to the local TV station, half the men surveyed said they had peed in the canals on Queens day.

Next year I’ll try option 1 again.

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