Hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on Amsterdam to celebrate Queen's Day. These tips will help you enjoy the city's biggest party even more.
1. Don't Drive or Bike on Queen's Day
With hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to Amsterdam on Queen's Day, driving in the city is next to impossible. Streets are literally packed with revelers, so biking becomes a nuisance, too. On Queen's Day, your best bet is to walk. Trams and buses do run, but inevitably the rides are interrupted because crowds block their routes. See this Queen's Day map for event locations suggested walking routes between them.
2. Do Drink ResponsiblyTrue, on Queen's Day it is perfectly legal to drink alcoholic beverages outside on the streets and sidewalks. But city laws state that each person shall only be allowed one alcoholic drink (i.e., a can or bottle) at a time. If you're seen carrying around a six-pack or a mini-keg of beer, for instance, you'll be considered a "dealer" and your stash will be confiscated. In much of the city center there are beer stalls selling reusable cups, so you can fill up, drink up and then move on to find another tap.
3. Do Plan Your 'Pit Stops'For lack of a better way to say this, don't pee in the streets or canals! Not only is this disgusting, it is illegal. Public, portable toilets and urinals are placed throughout the city to accommodate Queen's Day crowds. If you'd rather relieve yourself at a permanent establishment like a bar, expect to pay at least for the toilet and perhaps also for a drink. Long lines for most toilets are a given, so plan your "pit stops" accordingly!
4. Do Get out There Early
The density of the crowds in Amsterdam on Queen's Day rivals that of the throngs at Mardi Gras in New Orleans or New Year's Eve in New York City. The rummage sales
(only allowed on this one day of the year) start as early as 6 a.m., and most outdoor parties and concerts are well underway by 12 noon. So if you're not a fan of walking and dancing elbow-to-elbow with strangers, get out and about by morning to enjoy the thinner (and noticeably less intoxicated) crowds. That said, the revelers I've encountered on Queen's Day are calmer than those at other mass parties I've attended.
5. Do Keep Kids in the VondelparkIf you're a family with children in Amsterdam on Queen's Day, you'll likely want to stay in the Vondelpark and the residential neighborhoods surrounding the area. Widely known as the hub of family fun on this otherwise rowdy holiday, the Vondelpark offers face-painting, games, children showing off their own talents for a fee and much more G-rated fun. Plus, the spaces are much more open than in the city center.