On Saturday, 27 April 2019 the city of Amersfoort will host Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for the annual celebration of Koningsdag, or ‘King’s Day’, which marks the birthday of His Majesty.
King’s Day is a national holiday celebrated each year on 27 April (or 26 April, if the 27th is a Sunday) which marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander. Dating back to 1885, the holiday has been known by different names (depending on the ruling monarch) and the celebration was previously known as Koninginnedag under the reign of King Willem-Alexander’s mother, Queen Beatrix, and was celebrated on 30 April. It was Queen Beatrix who started the tradition of visiting a different Dutch town each year to join in the local festivities with her family.
Koningsdag usually sees an explosion of “orange madness” with Dutch citizens donning the national colour to create a sea of orange at celebrations across the country.
During his reign, King Willem-Alexander has spent King’s Day in De Rijp and Amstelveen (2014), Dordrecht (2015), Zwolle (2016), Tilburg (2017), and Groningen (2018).
Amersfoort – named for a ford in the Amer River (today called the Eem) – is a city in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands, which will be celebrating its 760th anniversary in 2019.
Often referred to as Keistad (‘boulder-city’) Amersfoort gained its nickname in the seventeenth century when a 9-tonne boulder took up residence in the city in 1661 after being dragged in from the Soest moors by 400 people. The effort came about because of a bet between two landowners, and volunteers were rewarded by the winner of the bet with beer and pretzels. The boulder became an embarrassment soon after, however, as other towns nearby started referring to the people of Amersfoort as ‘boulder-pullers’. A decision was made to bury the boulder, and though it remained hidden for a couple of hundred years, it was found once again in 1903 and given a place of prominence in the city centre.