Ways to celebrate King's Day at home; King to speak at 10 a.m.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima opening the King's games in Enschede, 26 April 2013
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima opening the King's games in Enschede, 26 April 2013Buurserstraat38DepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Like everyone else whose had a birthday since the start of the coronavirus crisis, King Willem-Alexander will be celebrating his birthday at home today, instead of the planned festivities in Maastricht. There will also be no festivals, no flea markets and no parties. But just because everyone's stuck at home, does not mean King's Day can not be celebrated, according to the Oranjebond.

The Oranjebond's official national program kicks off with bells chiming in the morning, "as a sign of connection, sadness and joy", according to NOS. To find out what time bells will be ringing in your municipality, check this website. Follow exactly what is happening in your area from this site, a initiative o the Oranjebond. The website will also post pictures of how King Willem-Alexander is celebrating his birthday at home. 

At 10:00 a.m. the Concertgebouw Orchestra will play the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus, from their homes. They call on everyone to participate from their balcony, through their window, or in their garden, and share it on the internet with the hashtag #Wilhelmus2020. The sheet music for the anthem can be downloaded from the Orchestra's website. Members of the meeting platform for people with hearing problems Let's Talk, will also participate by signing the Wilhelmus on Zoom at 10:00 a.m.

After the Wilhelmus, just after 10:00 a.m., the King will give a short speech. 

Then the online festivities really kick off. Instead of physical flea markets, people can buy and sell their items online here. Several cities are holding digital alternatives to the usual King's Day parties. Amsterdam, for example, has a special virtual King's Day program. And via Balkoningsdag music from various artists will stream between noon and 10:00 p.m. In Tilburg, teachers and students from Factorium Podiumkunsten will give mini-performances from their front doors. And in Edam, there will be a "noise concert" - residents are called on to go outside, while maintaining social distance, and make as much noise as possible. 

The Oranjebond's official King's Day program ends at 4:00 p.m., with a toast to the King from home. "In the house, in the hallway or landing, on the balcony or roof terrace, in your front or backyard, it doesn't matter: pour and raise a glass to the King." The toast can be followed from this site

This is a King's Day that will never be forgotten, Oranjebond president  Pieter Verhoeve said to NOS. "A day that brought people together again for a while, in a real Dutch way, during this difficult time. It may be a bit messy, but that is also part of King's Day."