King's Day in Rotterdam
nustyR Fotografie

King's Day in Rotterdam

Join us for King’s Day in Rotterdam on Thursday, 27 April, when we will celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s birthday and the fact that he has been king for 10 years. Rotterdam will throw a fantastic party for King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, their daughters and the rest of the Royal Family. The theme of the party is: We are all Kings & Queens. Because everyone is special and a crown fits on every head. More info via

The Royal Walk

Imagine yourself as a King or Queen as you explore the King’s Day route in Rotterdam. The Royal Walk draws a line through the city. The one-kilometre walk plus river crossing shows a complete and multifaceted view of Rotterdam in all its glory; you will see and experience cultures, art, architecture, innovation, food, history and the future.

Walk the King’s Day route

The Royal Walk on King’s Day starts in the Afrikaander neighbourhood, crosses the Nieuwe Maas and ends at the Binnenrotte square in the city centre. On foot and by water taxi, the royals will get to see Rotterdam in all its diversity: the different cultures, art, architecture, history and the future.

1. Afrikaanderplein

On Thursday, 27 April, the Royal Family’s walk starts near the Afrikaanderplein square, where you can find one of the largest markets in the Netherlands every Wednesday and Saturday: the Afrikaandermarkt. Experience the amazing mixture of cultures, scents, colours and flavours this neighbourhood has to offer. Queen Beatrix also enjoyed the hustle and bustle here 31 years ago on Queen’s Day in 1992.

2. Kocatepe Mosque and the botanical garden

Together, the school building, gardener’s house and botanical garden form a national monument. The former school building has been home to the Kocatepe Mosque since 1996. You can admire a vast variety of plants and trees in the botanical garden; at least 850 different plant species and 40 different trees. Volunteers maintain the garden. Continue your way along the Royal Walk: it runs along the Pretorialaan towards the Maashaven. Tip: take a short detour from the route and get to know the Afrikaanderwijk and its residents.

3. Watertaxi

It is impossible to imagine Rotterdam without these little yellow-and-black boats. The water taxis cruise the Nieuwe Maas and stop at about 50 jetties. Hop on for a quick ride across the water from A to B or even a tourist cruise. On King’s Day, the Royal Family will cross the water from Maashaven to Leuvehaven. In this Maritime District, you can follow in the footsteps of a surprising number of royals from the House of Orange, from William of Orange to Willem Alexander. The bridge names are reminiscent of these visits, Koningsbrug, Willemsbrug and Regentessebrug. The latter was festively opened with a carriage ride by Queen Emma and Queen Wilhelmina on 9 June 1899.

4. ss Rotterdam

The ss Rotterdam was the former flagship of the Holland America Line and is now a hotel moored at the quay in Katendrecht. The ‘Grand Dame’ sailed many passengers to New York in her heyday. Queen Juliana christened the ship on 13 September 1958. And a year later, Princess Beatrix stepped aboard for the very first voyage of the ss Rotterdam. Tip: be sure to stop off at the ss Rotterdam. Have a drink on the aft deck with stunning views of the Rotterdam skyline.

5. Hotel New York

The former headquarters of the Holland America Line used to be the departure point for thousands of emigrants. Full of hope for a better life, they left for North America. Now it’s a place to stay overnight, eat, drink, get married and have meetings and parties. Tip: have a break and settle down on the terrace on the Wilhelmina Pier. Enjoy the view, in particular of the Fenixloods II where the FENIX Museum of Migration with a spectacular viewing platform will open in 2024.

6. Erasmus Bridge

The royal party will travel under the Erasmus Bridge in water taxis. The bridge, also called ‘The Swan’, was opened by Queen Beatrix in 1996. Continue the route by water or walk across the bridge, and stop for a moment to appreciate the Willemsbrug in the distance. Queen Beatrix and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander opened this bright red bridge on 1 July 1981. At the corner of Boompjes and Leuvehaven, you will find the war memorial ‘The Bow’. Fred Carasso’s monument was unveiled by Princess Margriet on 10 April 1957.

7. Plein 1940

The route continues on the North Side from Plein 1940. Every year we commemorate war victims from the past and today at Ossip Zadkine’s sculpture ‘The Destroyed City’. It is one of the most famous war memorials in Europe. The sculpture has a hole where the heart should be, symbolising the city centre that was destroyed in the bombing on 14 May 1940. The walk continues along Blaak with highlights like Piet Blom’s famous Cube Houses en route.

8. Laurenskerk

The route continues towards the Laurenskerk via the Rev. Jan Scharpstraat. This church is the only remnant of Rotterdam’s medieval city centre. The statue of Erasmus on the Grotekerkplein, a few metres from his birthplace, is the oldest bronze cast statue in the Netherlands. Tip: from April to the end of October, you can climb the Laurenskerk tower on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

9. Markthal

The walk proceeds straight through the colourful Market Hall, opened almost 10 years ago (2014) by Queen Maxima. The artwork ‘Horn of Plenty’ on the inner façade (designed by artists Arno Coenen & Iris Roskam) is one of Europe’s largest works of art at an impressive 11,000 square metres.

10. Central Library

We will close Kings Day 2023 with a spectacular party at the Binnenrotte. This is where the Royal Walk ends and the Central Library is located. The Binnenrotte is also the place where Rotterdam was born. A dam was built in the Rotte river at its junction with the Hoogstraat in 1270. Rotte-dam. City archaeologists made a remarkable discovery here 30 years ago: an entire boat was found underground. This punt was used to close the last hole in the dam in the Rotte. Tip: you can see the punt in a permanent exhibition illustrating the origins of the city on the third floor of the Central Library.

Book the Watertaxi from the Maashaven jetty to the Leuvehaven-Centrum jetty well in advance (, walk across the iconic Erasmus Bridge or follow the route in a group with a Rotterdam guide. Send an e-mail to with the subject: Route Koningsdag 010.

Even more festivities in Rotterdam

Well-known artists from the Rotterdam region, including Davina Michelle, Ronnie Flex, and Lee Towers, will perform on a large stage at Binnenrotteplein. This is where the royal family will bid farewell to the Rotterdam public. However, the celebrations will continue until 5:00 pm with performances on the square and at other locations throughout the city. In addition to the official festivities, there are also numerous other fun parties happening in the city. Check out a selection below or visit the special site KoningsdaginRotterdam.

Het Kroonjuweel

Het Kroonjuweel

Do you get tired of the crowds around King’s Day every year? Mini ...
Shopping on King's Day

Shopping on King's Day

King’s Day is an event known for selling used items. Everywhere in the city, you can find blankets covered with toys, books, clothing, dishes, and much more. So if you’re looking for bargains, this is the moment to strike! But if you prefer ‘seriously shopping’, you can also go to the shops in Rotterdam Centre. They are open on King’s Day from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm, so there is plenty of time to shop to your heart’s content. Whether you like to look for bargains or prefer to enjoy the shopping experience in Rotterdam Centre, King’s Day in Rotterdam offers something for everyone.

Store opening hours

Celebrating King's Day? Then don't miss out on a delicious tompouce and celebrate today like a true local!

Zalmhaventoren crowned in anticipation of King's Day Zalmhaventoren crowned in anticipation of King's Day
Zalmhaventoren crowned in anticipation of King's Day