Queen’s Day is always the busiest time of the year in Amsterdam, and it will be even busier this year because of the investiture of king Willem-Alexander. Some reports say tourist numbers in the capital will be up 25%.
The traditional Queen’s Day market is going ahead as normal all over the country, but big screens are being set up in parks and squares so you can follow the formal side of the celebrations where ever you go.
If you want to avoid the crowds, you can watch the whole thing in a 14-hour television marathon on Nos. But in case you don’t, here’s our guide to the official abdication and investiture.
10.00: Queen Beatrix will officially abdicate, at which point Willem-Alexander becomes king. This will be televised live.
10.30: Beatrix, Willem-Alexander and Maxima will make a brief appearance on the balcony of the palace on Dam square, during which both Beatrix and Willem-Alexander will make a short speech. They will then be joined by the three princesses.
11.00: Children’s Ball, with music and dance on the Museumplein
13.30: Guests will begin arriving for the official investiture.
14.00 – 15.30: The official investiture will take place in the Nieuwe Kerk on Dam square. This is not a religious ceremony, but a special sitting of the upper and lower houses of parliament.
During the ceremony, Willem-Alexander will promise to uphold the constitution and most of the members of both houses will swear their allegiance to the new king.
The new king will not be crowned but the crown (symbolising sovereignty and dignity), the sceptre (authority) and the orb (the territory of the kingdom) will be on full view on a cushion next to the throne.
The Nieuwe Kerk has space for 2,045 guests, of which 350 will be official guests of the Oranges and 500 will be members of the general public, invited by the provincial councils.
A number of foreign princes and princesses have already said they will attend. It is customary that coronations are not attended by sitting monarchs so as not to outshine the new king.
The family and their guests will then return to the palace for a reception.
19.30: The new king and queen and their guests will travel to the EYE film theatre in Amsterdam Noord. There via a live video link with the Ahoy in Rotterdam, they will listen to a mass sing along of the controversial Song for the King.
Time for some culture: The Nederlands Opera will perform the final of Prokojev’s opera L’amour des trois oranges in front of the EYE during the boat parade. The Nationale Ballet will peform the Hans van Manen’s duet Trois Gnossiennes on a pontoon in front of the building.
After this, a royal boat parade will begin around the waters of the IJ. The boat carrying the royals will be accompanied by some 200 other boats and the guests will be entertained by leading lights from Dutch sports, including Olympic windsurf champion Dorian van Rijssselberghe and gymnast Epke Zonderland.
Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren will be hitting the decks at the Kop van Java during the boat parade, joined by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for what officials say promises to be a spectacular performance.
21.00. The boat parade will end with a salute from the 200 boats expected to accompany the royal couple during the cruise around the IJ. Plans to release 150,000 balloons were cancelled after protests from environmental groups.
The new king and queen and their guests will then have a banquet in the EYE itself.
21.30 King’s Dance on the Museumplein, with Andre Rieu as the main attraction. He will be supported by comedian André van Duin and actor Martijn Fischer, best known for his role as torch singer André Hazes. The concert will end at 23.30.
Although the city authorities say most of the traditional Queen’s Day events will go ahead as planned, security measures will cause some disruption, particularly around central station, the cruise terminal (where royal guests will be screened) and the Dam.
Dutch Rail (NS) is running extra trains to Amsterdam on April 30 and departures will continue from central station until 04.00 hours.
However, NS is also recommending people travel via Station Zuid and then walk into the city centre. Station RAI will be closed.
The IJ will be closed to pleasure boats from 08.00 and there will be no ferries from central station to Noord from 17.30 until after the boat parade.