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I want to visit the Koningsdag (Dutch national holiday) and am looking for a hotel in the centre (not a hostel, I want my own room). I have checked various portals (including Airbnb) and everything at normal prices and in the centre seems to be sold out.

Are there any tricks to get affordable hotel rooms even though there is a big event going on? I only found affordable hotels far away. Is there a way around the big hotel booking platforms?

With a DuckDuckGo search I only found the loyalty programme. But I am not loyal to any hotel chain, I cannot say that I am a very good customer of any Group.

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    If you have status with a hotel chain (i.e. you stayed enough nights per year in the last relevant period), some have a "room guarantee", but I think even those policies have exceptions for large events.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 19 at 8:37
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    In the centre of what? You tagged your question Amsterdam, but your question title or body do not mention Amsterdam. Does it have to be Amsterdam, or would you be fine with Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Oosterhout, Wijchen, Nijmegen, Apeldoorn, Harderwijk, Amersfoort, Deventer, Raalte, Rijssen, Hardenberg, Meppel, Winterswijk, or somewhere else in The Netherlands? Koningsdag is everywhere, but overtourism is only in Amsterdam.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 19 at 11:26
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    Unless what you're really Asking is for some secret knowledge, what but either luck or persistence could ever meet your need? Commented Mar 19 at 23:41
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    There is that famous "plan ahead"; but this cycle some regret for having not.
    – civitas
    Commented Mar 20 at 10:04
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    @gerrit There are no far distances in the Netherlands. The furthest you can get from Amsterdam is about 170 km. Taking a taxi home is cheaper than a hotel room.
    – d-b
    Commented Mar 20 at 20:25

6 Answers 6

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It sounds like you're not going to find an inexpensive private room in the city center. Hotels don't have any reason to conceal their availability; if you're not seeing things on the normal booking sites, it's because they really are all sold out.

So the next step is to decide which of those criteria is least important to you. Which would you least dislike?

  • An inexpensive shared room in the city center.
  • An expensive private room in the city center.
  • An inexpensive private room far from the center.

I find that once I've accepted the "you can't always get what you want" mantra and prioritized my desires, it becomes way easier to make a reasonable decision.

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    Not sure that the third category will be available around Koningsdag, unless "far" means "abroad".
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 19 at 9:40
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    The first category also isn't looking good.
    – MSalters
    Commented Mar 19 at 14:12
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    "Should I just book earlier next year?"
    – The Photon
    Commented Mar 19 at 15:48
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    @gerrit There's plenty of rooms to be found for <100/night in places like Hoorn or Hilversum, which aren't in Amsterdam by any measure but have a fast and frequent train connection. Trains do run normally even on Koningsdag (for values of normally applicable to NS operations these days). Getting much cheaper than 100€ means not going to Amsterdam (looks like one can get to €60 easily in Den Haag, for example).
    – TooTea
    Commented Mar 19 at 17:11
  • @TooTea Question did not mention Amsterdam (except in a tag), but OK! Didn't expect that central Hoorn or Hilversum or even Den Haag would have OK hotels at €60 at koningsdag.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 19 at 17:53
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While the chances of success are low, you can sometimes get impossible-seeming bookings by knowing when the cancellation periods are for people with bookings to cancel without penalty. If the hotel has a 48 hour window, check then; if the hotel has a one week window, check then. People with bookings may cancel at the last fee-free minute.

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    Or just keep checking the booking site(s) as some people do cancel at earlier times.
    – Willeke
    Commented Mar 19 at 16:37
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You can search on hotels and check their own sites, but I fear you left it too late.

Usually I would advise to go to one of the other Dutch cities but this event is country wide and all cheap hotel rooms in all main and many smaller towns will have sold out.

Your best bet is farther out. And do check reviews, cheap rooms are sometimes cheap for a reason you will not want to accept. Hostels would be a good alternative if you could book a private room but those are as likely to be sold out.

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When looking for cheap accomodation when I am slightly flexible with regard to the location (that might unfortunately be necessary), I often find it helpful to use booking.com's map view. If you zoom out, you can even cover very large areas, like here, where I am searching for hotel accomodation for one person on April 27th with a price less than 100€:

enter image description here

In your case, a reasonable alternative to a hotel in the city centre of Amsterdam is perhaps the two available hotels in Amersfoort for 80-85€. They look quite decent, are in the city centre close to the railway station and there is just a 45 minutes train ride from Amersfoort to Amsterdam.

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    Or stay in Amersfoort, the party there will be as much fun.
    – Willeke
    Commented Mar 19 at 10:31
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    Much nicer to stay in Amersfoort than in Amsterdam. Far less tourists there. Or Apeldoorn, Deventer, Rijssen, Nijmegen, Winterswijk...
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 19 at 11:23
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    @gerrit Much nicer to stay in Amersfoort than in Amsterdam. Judging by the crowds in Amsterdam, my guess is many won't agree ;-)
    – Berend
    Commented Mar 19 at 12:57
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    @Berend I'm not convinced most international visitors even consider the alternatives. Having said that, Kinderdijk en Keukenhof also also (at times) suffering overtourism, although probably not on Koningsdag.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 19 at 13:06
  • @Willeke Indeed. Or go the other way, to where the real thing is happening (Emmen this year). There's really nothing special about Amsterdam.
    – TooTea
    Commented Mar 19 at 17:15
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I was in a similar situation recently. I decided last minute to go to the ProWein exhibition in Düsseldorf, and of course hotels were either fully booked or very expensive. 200+ euros for a room at Ibis, that kind of thing.

I ended up staying in Frankfurt in a much nicer hotel for half the price, and "commuting" by train. The ICE takes about 1.5 hours, so while not fun, it was manageable.

Maybe try something like this. You won't find a cheap room anyway.

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    usually that would work but this is a national holiday with events in all cities, towns and most villages, so you would have to commute across the border to find hotels in city centers.
    – Willeke
    Commented Mar 19 at 9:49
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    Antwerp (Belgium) does have a high-speed rail connection to Amsterdam, though. But same thing: that too is going to be crowded.
    – MSalters
    Commented Mar 19 at 14:17
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    Many years ago I used to regularly stay in Köln for technical fairs in Düsseldorf. Something like 40 minutes commute. Commented Mar 19 at 16:57
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    And on the 40 minute commute read the same book or magazine or catch up your social media at less expense than you would have at the more central expensive place. Or watch the countryside pass by which you might not have had a chance at otherwise.
    – civitas
    Commented Mar 20 at 12:41
  • @Willeke As shown in Tor-Einar's answer, the entire country isn't booked out, only the "good" places. Commented Mar 20 at 22:18
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  • I once slept in an all night cinema. Depends how desperate you are.
  • You could also try sleeping a the airport. Maybe not the most comfortable, but if you look like a bona-fide traveller, you are unlikely to be disturbed.
  • You could also risk a circular underground train or bus route. Or, get on a night train, and change direction at 2 or 3a.m.
  • Or, look for a camping site. You will get your own "room".

Best tip is probably to book now for next year and wait until then.

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