The Netherlands may not have the best cuisine, and the Dutch language might sound made up to most foreigners, but if there’s anything this country can do right, it’s partying (and biking and many other things, of course). Dutch people love concerts, Heineken, and the color orange, but most of all, they know how to celebrate their king. Willem-Alexander has a birthday every April 27, and so naturally, this day is now known as King’s Day. King’s Day is perhaps the largest national holiday (at least from what I have personally experienced), and on this day the entire country dresses up in orange, being that this is the unofficial national color. If you’ve traveled through Europe, then this next reference will make sense to you – we all look like EasyJet employees.
However, as exciting as this day may sound, the festivities begin the night before, conveniently being called King’s Night. Now, this day did not go off to such a great start. I woke up that morning knowing that I had my final exam in a couple hours’ time. I biked to campus and although I expected to use up the three-hour window of time we had for the exam, I ended up finishing the exam in around 45 minutes. This was good news, because I knew that for King’s Night, my friends would be heading to the city of Arnhem, a small city located in eastern Netherlands. I knew that I would have just enough time to go back home and get ready to head over with them. However, they insisted that I stay behind for a bit because another one of my friends also had an exam that day and she would be finishing a little later than me, and they did not want her to travel to Arnhem alone. Therefore, I agreed to stay behind and wait.
You may be asking yourself, “Iram, why are you going to Arnhem when you already live in Amsterdam? Aren’t there many parties there already?” Well, yes you would be correct. However, a friend I made here has a Dutch boyfriend who lives in the small town of Velp, and you must travel to Arnhem because that is the closest train station. He had told us of a party happening in Arnhem and promised it would be fun, so we agreed.
After finally making it to Arnhem central station, my friend and I were both very hungry, so instead of looking for the quickest way to Velp, we decided to walk to the nearest Burger King and get food. I must say that this was the best BK of my life. Despite how early it was in the afternoon, there were already parties going on in the streets and of course everyone was wearing their orange outfits. After eating we make it to the town of Velp and to my friend’s boyfriend’s house. When we got there, the entire friend group was crammed into the kitchen, so there was minimal breathing room.
After about an hour, we decide to head over to the venue. I was not sure what to expect because I wasn’t given many details on the event, but when we got there, I realized that this was no indoor event. In fact, the entire party was situated underneath the overpass of the highway. The music was extremely loud, and everyone was having a great time. I expected to be there until the early hours of the next morning, but we later realized we needed to head back to Amsterdam tonight, being that we couldn’t all fit in the tiny house. It was not until around 11:30 that we realized that the last train to Amsterdam would be leaving at exactly midnight. Therefore, we decided to cut the night short and head out. However, everyone else seemed to have that thought, because when I tell you that train station was packed, I mean it was PACKED. It was like the Eras Tour had come to Amsterdam and everyone was rushing back home after having seen the best concert of their lives. After making it back to Amsterdam, we decided to head straight home and rest before the big day. If King’s Night was this eventful, I couldn’t begin to imagine how much fun I would have the following day.