It’s one big orange festival in Holland. The orange craze on King’s Day is nothing compared to the one during sport events such as the European Football Championship, World Cup or the Olympics.

Cycling through the streets in Holland you might ask yourself if you got colorblind as orange is the only color you see. When the national sports team plays, the Dutch people go bananas or…oranges.


This article is all about the Dutch and their drive to decorate everything, including themselves, in orange when the opportunity presents itself. 


Which festive days are best for an orange festival in Holland?

One of my favorite annual public holidays is King’s Day. The day many, if not all Dutch people, wear orange to celebrate the king’s birthday. Born or imported, big or small, when you get the orange fever you become one with the Dutch and decorate your house, the street, yourself to create one big orange festival in Holland. Local competitions led by neighbourhoods or media sure help to get the party started. 

Whether it is in an international football match, hockey game or other sporting event, whenever the national sports team of the Netherlands plays, take out your orange outfit and get ready. 

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team building based on King's Day orange festival in Holland Verita's Visit Can I wear orange on all national events in the Netherlands?

While major sporting tournaments and the 27th of April, the king’s birthday, are full of orange festivities, there are national events in the Netherlands on which it is not appropriate to wear orange. These are the days of remembrance and commemoration. Remembrance Day, May 4th,  is the best known. All Dutch honor those who died for our freedom. This is not a public holiday, but a national day of commemoration. On the next day, it’s Liberation Day with many freedom festivals. Very few Dutch locals wear orange on those days. 

Then there is a day which I only found by chance. It is not a national event and known to very few people, but worth mentioning. It is No Orange Clothes Day, ( what’s in a name, no?) on June 16th. To commemorate the day in 1784 when wearing of orange was banned in Holland.

By the way, if you have an old travel guide, Queen’s Day was on 30 April. In 2013 William Alexander became king and changed the public holiday to his actual birthday on the 27th of April. So, if you visit the Netherlands dressed in orange on 30 April, you’re a couple of days late for the orange festivities.

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7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit King's Day

Why do the Dutch wear orange?

 At first the Dutch orange craze was only on King’s Day and other royal events such as weddings and births. World Cup 1974 was the first major sporting event the Dutch showed their color. Now when the football team, nicknamed Oranje, or another national sports team plays, an army of fans called Oranje Legioen make each match an orange festival. 

What started as a way to support the national team, is now an expression of community and national pride. The color that at first only was a symbol for the Dutch monarchy has gained in significance. Orange is not only a royal color, it is the national color of the Netherlands.

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Visit the orange festival in Holland, The Hague with Verita's Visit
Most chances to find orange are in The Hague, residence & working palace of the King of the Netherlands

Is the flag of the Netherlands orange?

During the orange festivals in Holland orange flags are everywhere. There is only one official orange flag in the Netherlands. When the King is at home in Palace Huis ten Bosch or at his working palace Noordeinde you can see it on one of these buildings in The Hague. A flag proudly waves on the building in the Hague where he’s at. This is the only official orange Dutch flag. It’s the flag of the royal family, the House of Orange Nassau. On it is a royal blue cross as reference to the Nassau family and in the middle the golden coat of arms of the Netherlands. If you look closely you can see the crown on top of the coat of arms. Furthermore there are 4 hunting horns, referring to the coat of arms of the House of Orange and decorations belonging to the most important Dutch knighthood.  

At the time the Netherlands did not have an official flag yet, that’s 5 centuries ago, there was no orange festival in Holland. During days of rebellion and victory the single colored orange flag had to compete with other semi- official flags. Today, there is only one national flag of the Netherlands and it is not orange. So, why is the Dutch flag not orange? We’ll talk about that next time. 

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Join King's Day & sports events an orange festival in Holland Verita's Visit

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