Koningsdag, also known as “King’s Day” is not your average holiday. Not that there’s anything remotely average about the colorful Dutch island of Curaçao.
For those new to the culture of Curaçao, King’s Day is not simply just a day to honor the King of the Netherlands birthday, oh no, it’s a day to swim in a sea of orange, find the best bargain on anything and everything, and party your heart out.
Often described as the busiest, happiest, and friendliest day of the year, King’s Day is one of the most exciting days to live on, or visit, the island.
The holiday falls on the same day each year, April 27th, which is the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. Although if the 27th falls on a Sunday, then the holiday is moved to April 26th.
So what exactly does one do on King’s Day in Curaçao?
Garner Yourself From Head to Toe in Orange
The dress code to every event, all day long, is orange. Why orange? Because the Dutch Royal Family belongs to the House of Orange-Nassau, thus wearing orange displays pride for the Dutch Royal Family. Similar to wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day, if you’re caught without a bit of orange on… well… let’s just say you’ll be facing the consequences! (Just a joke, there aren’t any consequences we’ve heard of!)
Get Ready For The Biggest Bargain Shopping Excursion of Your Life
Arguably the most famous and thrilling part of King’s Day are the nationwide Vrijmarkt’s, also known as the “free markets.” Were talking about an enormous market, where anyone can sell anything, no permits required. Amsterdam was a city built on trade, and Amsterdammers love to haggle. King’s Day offered an opportunity to haggle and celebrate, and the tradition has stuck ever since.
Since Curaçao is a Dutch island, it shares many of the same cultural idiosyncrasies as the mainland, this one included. Essentially, the Vrijmarkt is a giant flea market. Vendors are primarily ordinary people selling their ordinary used things, and you know what they say – one man’s trash is another’s treasure! The biggest and most popular market takes place in the heart of Willemstad, which is the capital of Curaçao, in the colorful neighborhood of Punda. Pound often has markets, but none compare in size and scope to King’s Day.
It isn’t just adults who get to buy and sell to their heart’s desire, the little ones also have a special market. Each year there is a separate area reserved just for kids to sell the toys they’ve outgrown, or buy new toys to grow into.
Dance, Eat, Drink, and be Merry
Like all national celebrations, libations and happy energy can be found across the land. The exact offerings differ from year to year, but overall you can expect live outdoor music, old-fashioned games, and plenty plenty of street vendors with delicious cuisine.
Different types of parties occurs in the different parts of the island. There’s always a more family-friendly party happening at the Zuikertuin Mall, whereas the more adult-oriented partying areas are typically in Cafe de Tijd, Pietermaai Historic District, and Punda. For more information regarding specific details about the events that will take place this year, visit here and here.
If you’ve had your eye on Curaçao as your next getaway destination, April is not only a wonderful time to visit, but you might also be able to experience King’s Day, which is truly a locals holiday. Meaning, you’ll have a chance to peek into the everyday culture of the people. Curacao is a paradise year-round, surrounded by sparkling turquoise waters, and filled to the brim with incredibly kind and hospitable people.
So whether your on holiday, a business trip, or a “just because” trip, you’re bound to have an incredible experience, and will make memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re still in the planning stages, there are few resorts that compare to the luxurious Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. Book your stay at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, where you’ll have access to a private beach, private pools, and friendly hotel staff that will provide useful island information to help ensure you see and do everything on your bucket list! Happy King’s Day, in advance, and happy travels!