King’s Day, or Koningsdag in Dutch, is an orange-coloured national holiday celebrated on April 27th in honour of King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. Each year the royal family visits a different city and festivities, such as flea markets and music festivals, take place throughout the country. On King’s Day people in the Netherlands embrace the national colour, dress up and decorate their cities with orange ornaments. Households fly the Dutch flag and sometimes even add an orange streamer called a wimpel.

Koningsdag & Oranjebitter – from orange-coloured spirit to successful music festival

Oranjebitter is a Dutch spirit that is traditionally used for toasting to the King or Queen’s health. Like the Italian aperitif Aperol it gets its bitter sweet taste from bitter orange. Nowadays, the popularity of this festive spirit has dwindled somewhat. To the younger generation Oranjebitter is perhaps better known as the successful music festival in Rotterdam, which takes place annually on King’s Day since 2008. 

How to eat an oranjetompouce 

King’s Day is also the occasion for enjoying a marvellous pastry called the oranjetompouce: a pastry of French origin that combines vanilla-flavoured cream with two layers of puff pastry. Normally, a tompouce is covered with a layer of pink icing, whereas on King’s Day orange icing is used and the tompouce becomes an oranjetompouce. A returning point of discussion at Dutch gatherings on King’s Day is how to eat your tompouce without making a mess. The Dutch variety store-chain HEMA even published an amusing blog post with several techniques for eating this type of pastry. Enjoy!

Written by Eveline Mineur
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