Kingsday in the Netherlands: a traditional garage sale

The Netherlands are celebrating Kingsday, a national holiday. It’s the birthday of king Willem-Alexander, who turned 50 today, so all kinds of festivities are scheduled. One of the main courses on every Kingsday is the market, a kind of a garage sale, but without garages. People put a blanket or something on the floor in the street, and sell their stuff.

Imagine everyone cleaning out their attic and selling the mess they found for peanuts. It’s a Kingsday tradition and even the day before you can see chalk on the street with words like ‘taken’ or ‘occupied’. It means someone wants to sell his or her stuff in that spot. Funnily enough the Dutch honour those chalkwords and put their own blankets and crap somewhere else.


For over 30 years it was ‘Queensday’ on April 30th, the birthday of the Queen Mother, but since the coronation in 2013, Kingsday is celebrated on April 27th. Traditionally, the King and his family visit a random city or town somewhere in the Netherlands, waving, smiling and generally functioning as pet monkeys for the crowd. The function of the King and Queen is mostly ceremonial and days like this prove that. Most Dutchies enjoy the festivities and the fact that they have a day off work…