Once a year a million people pour onto the streets of Amsterdam for a huge, colourful street party in honour of the Dutch royal family.

While Northland's version of Koningsdag – or King's Day – won't be able to compete in size, organisers are promising many of the same activities enjoyed by the Dutch every April.

Dutch festivals have been held in the past at Whangarei's Quarry Gardens with great success, but this year will be the first time Koningsdag is officially celebrated in the Far North.

Festivities will be held at Kingston House, on Kerikeri's Hone Heke Rd, from 11am to 10pm on Saturday, April 27.

Advertisement

Co-organiser Monique Ansems said since fellow Dutchwoman Noortje Honing organised a smaller King's Day event at the Pioneer Tavern in Waipapa last year, members of the Dutch community had been calling for a full-day event involving kids like the traditional Koningsdag in Holland.

"It's a big celebration, like a street party. In our case it will be contained in a building but it'll be a day of fun, entertainment, and nice Dutch food that everyone's been craving for."

The family-friendly festival will have an emphasis on children's games and activities. It will start with a children's fleamarket in which kids are invited to have a stall selling anything they want, from old toys to crafts to home baking.

Ngarimu Besseling pursues an elusive chocolate fish in a game called koekhappen at a previous Dutch festival in Whangārei. Photo / Ron Burgin
Ngarimu Besseling pursues an elusive chocolate fish in a game called koekhappen at a previous Dutch festival in Whangārei. Photo / Ron Burgin

There will also be a range of traditional Dutch games such as shuffleboard, koekhappen (in which competitors have to retrieve a chocolate fish from a string without using their hands) and spijkerspoepen (best not translated but it involves lowering a nail into a bottle by inelegant means), as well as games known in the English-speaking world such as egg-and-spoon races, stilt walking and a version of musical chairs.

Food stalls will offer Dutch and Indonesian treats such as poffertjes (mini pancakes), oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts), croquets, coffee and boterkoek ("butter cake").

Dance performances will start at 3pm, and the bar will open at 4pm to mark the start of the grown-ups' party, featuring an Auckland-based singer and a DJ until 10pm.

Ansems said she had made an effort to keep the event affordable: $2 entry for adults and $1 for children. Most food would be priced around $5 and there would be no charge for games or activities.

The Dutch King, Willem-Alexander, is unfortunately unable to attend due to commitments at home.

Advertisement

• Festival-goers should wear something orange, the Dutch national colour. Kids who want to take part in the fleamarket should book a space beforehand: call or text (09) 401 6563 or 027 280 9805.