The World's Best Costume Parties

by Sarah Gold

Queen's Day, Amsterdam

What it is: The Queen's birthday, of course! (Not that English lady we're always hearing about, though—her late Dutch counterpart, Juliana.) But, really, Amsterdammers hardly need an excuse to play.

Party time: April 30 (or April 29, if the 30th falls on a Sunday).

The getup: Anything orange. Holland's national color, it symbolizes the Dutch monarchy, Van Oranje-Nassau—the House of Orange. Throw on a flaming wig, wrap yourself in an orange toga (or put yourself in a life-sized photo of the royalty, as the folks pictured), and don't worry about looking like the Great Pumpkin. You'll fit right in.

Where it's at: It's a countrywide celebration, but Amsterdam's arty-cool Jordaan district gets especially lively, as do the canals along the Grachtengordel. Staying at a central hotel such as the Dylan will put you just a short stagger away from the action.

What goes down: A lot of not-very-organized chaos. There's a parade of boats along the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Herengracht canals, many of which are like floating raves, with DJs blasting electronica and gyrating orange-wearers trying not to fall overboard. The city's bars, cafés, and coffee shops overflow with orange-painted patrons drinking and smoking themselves green.

Dylan Hotel
Tel: 31 20 530 2010

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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