King’s Day is celebrated all over the island, it’s a national holiday on Wednesday 27th of April and everyone joins in on the fun. There are a few places that really stand out above the rest! Read below our 3 top tips on where to go to celebrate the traditional “Koningsdag” in Curaçao.
1. Punda, the heart of Willemstad! Where it once all started!
The city center of Punda is where the Curaçao King’s Day was first celebrated almost a decade ago and started to take it’s form as we know it today. This year Punda is celebrating its 24th edition of it’s Koningsdag celebration. It starts from early morning and goes on into the night. It’s the biggest Kings Day event on the island. It consists of the biggest “Koningsmarkt”, a kids market and a plants & veggies market. The main activities take place around the Wilhelmina plein, but the market stalls, games, music and fun scatters throughout the streets, alleys and other squares in Punda. The are also many bars, food trucks and food stalls to choose from. The most beautiful thing of this day is that it really represents the multicultural society of Curaçao. In Punda you will celebrate together with people of all ages and all nationalities! Don’t miss out! For more info check out their Facebook event page: Koningsdag Punda 2016
2. Pietermaai; the “Quartier Latin” of Curacao
King’s Day Pietermaai has gained popularity over the past few years. Majority of Pietermaai got renovated and revamped over the years and has now become a fun & vibrant part of town. They started with their “Koningsdag” celebration only a few years ago, but it has quickly grown into a well visited event. The event takes place on the main street and some of the alleys of the bars and restaurants. The are many stands selling vintage goodies, crafts and more. Drinks and food is widely available. This part of town is mostly frequented by students and the more Dutch population. But also locals and tourists found their way to Pietermaai. Many start out in Pietermaai and walk to Punda, or the other way around. Also in Pietermaai it’s an all day event, so prep yourself for a long day of fun and laughter. For more info check out the Pietermaai Kings Day event page on Facebook!
3. Riffort Otrabanda & Renaissance hotel; the other side!
At the Riffort and the Renaissance hotel and mall the driveway in front of the shops will also be transformed into a popup market. The shops are also open and many of them will have King’s Day specials and sales. Kids like to play and dance around the water fountain and within the walls of the old Riffort, there will be live music and more festivities. The crowd on this side of town is a fun mix of locals and tourists. Many combine their visit to Otrabanda with a walk over the bridge to Punda.
Extra advantage: Remember all of the above are free to visit. All of the above options are walking distance from Curaçao Marine! And all are in the same direction, therefore many visitors combine 2 or all 3 and make a whole day out of it!
Oh and if you don’t like the hustle & bustle, mingling with the different cultures or having a ball.. Then you might be better of spending the day on your boat!
A little bit of history!
Since you might think “Curaçao doesn’t have a King, why celebrate King’s Day in Curaçao?”
Let’s end this Top 3 with a short piece of history on “Koningsdag”! You are absolutely right, Curaçao doesn’t have it’s own Royal Family, but due to the history and strong ties with the Netherlands, King’s Day is widely celebrated on the island. Besides the fact that Curaçao people just like to party and therefor will celebrate just about anything if it means that they can make a fun day out of it, the royal family actually does have quite a fan base on the island!
During Colonial times Curaçao fell under the Kingdom of the Netherlands and thus under the Dutch reign. The Royal Family always showed much care and concern for the islands and paid numerous royal visits to the former Netherlands Antilles. Even after the end of colonialism, the islands remained part of the Dutch Kingdom. Even with all the statutory changes in the past years the bond between Curaçao and the Netherlands still remains strong. Curaçao’s population is a very mixed one, but most inhabitants have been and still are very fond of the Royal Family. On this day everyone comes together and celebrates in unity. The celebration of “Koningsdag” in Curacao has really grown into an annual tradition, which everyone looks forward to. It’s celebrated in the same style as in the Netherlands; the streets color in orange, the people dress up in orange and there are lots of markets and fun & festivities bringing all ages and nationalities together.