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Kingsday is Cancelled, Long Live Balkoningsdag

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What started as a small idea among friends, is now gaining huge momentum nationally, and helping to keep this Dutch holiday alive via 180 Kingsday

Kingsday is Cancelled, Long Live Balkoningsdag

Every year, on the 27th March, the people of the Netherlands celebrate Kingsday. A national holiday marking the birthday of King Willem Alexander. This year, however, the festivities have been cancelled for obvious reasons. 

The cancellation of Kingsday 2020 has left a gap in the Dutch calendar, leading to an innovative idea to keep the residents of The Netherlands celebrating safely.

Balkoningsdag, an event devised by creatives Tom Bremerkamp and Koen Gerretsen of international advertising agency 180 Kingsday, aims to keep the spirit of the day alive. The event encourages people to celebrate Kingsday safely from their balcony, roof terrace or backyard. The organisers are encouraging everyone to decorate their personal outdoor space in the Dutch national colours; the traditional orange of the day along with the red, white and blue of the national flag.

Balkoningsdag will connect thousands of people to a Livestream, on which Holland’s biggest artists and DJs will be playing live. The initiative, which started out as a way to celebrate personally with friends, has now gathered thousands of likes on social media and attracted one of the worlds most recognised ticket booking services, Ticketswap.

 Created in collaboration with Morris Compier and Teun Gerretsen, the idea was conceived following the announcement of social distancing measures placed on Dutch residents due to the coronavirus pandemic. The aim was to find a safe solution for the inevitable festivities and to limit the temptation to gather as normal.

The live stream will start at 12.00pm on the 27th of April. At 13.00pm, everyone will be asked to raise a glass to celebrate the 53rd birthday of King Willem Alexander - a virtual toast, from the safety of your own home.

Tom Bremerkamp said: “This will be the first time in 76 years that Kingsday won’t be a big party. It’s something that is so ingrained in our national identity that it felt wrong to let it go. We wanted to create something that was first and foremost safe. We know that on such an iconic occasion, people may be tempted to break the rules and so we wanted to create a festival from a safe distance that still feels close to each other and Koningsdags traditions'

Koen Gerretsen added: “The day has always been about celebration, collaboration and entrepreneurship - we hope this encapsulates these values in a way that can bring the whole country together.”

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.


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180 Amsterdam, Wed, 22 Apr 2020 10:46:39 GMT