New Zealand Embassy The Hague, The Netherlands
Warning for travel to and from Amsterdam on Tuesday 30th April 2013
This year Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) on 30th April will also mark the Queen's abdication and the investiture of her son as King Willem-Alexander. Last year Queen's Day attracted 700,000 visitors to Amsterdam and Dutch authorities are expecting even greater numbers this year, including many VIPs which will necessitate strict security arrangements. Dutch authorities recommend that, as much as possible, tourists and Dutch residents stay away from central Amsterdam and consider celebrating Queen's Day in other Dutch cities.
Given this year's Queen's Day holds special significance, it is expected that Amsterdam will be extremely busy from Saturday 27 April to Tuesday 30 April. We also understand accommodation in the city is already close to full. If travelling to the Netherlands around this time, please keep this in mind.
Dutch officials have warned they may be forced to shut down transport and rail links into Amsterdam on 30 April, as it is possible the city will be full to capacity. Authorities will try and maintain connections to Schiphol Airport, the country's main airport which is located close to Amsterdam, but travellers should be aware that train services to or through Amsterdam may be cancelled, delayed or re-routed.
Security incidents have occurred at several royal events in the Netherlands. For example, during Queen's Day in 2009 eight people were killed during an assassination attempt on the royal family. Queen Beatrix's investiture in 1980 was marred by street battles between protesters and riot police. Security around the investiture (in the vicinity of Dam Square) will be tight, and access restrictions will be in place.
Given that the area where the famous balcony scenes are done (called De Dam) can hold a maximum of 20,000 it is most certainly not recommended that you visit the area on this day. Should you still wish to see the new King and Queen, it is recommended that you watch the proceedings on television.
In short, travellers who do choose to visit Amsterdam on 30 April should expect extremely large crowds and should exercise caution.