Annual photo session prior to the holiday of the Royal Family.

0666-Prince’s Day 2020

On Tuesday September 15, 2020 it is Prince’s Day, the festive opening of the new working year of the States General (the Upper and Lower Houses). On this day the King drives to the Binnenhof in The Hague in the Golden Coach and reads the speech from the throne in the Ridderzaal. The speech from the throne contains the most important plans of the government for the coming year.
Later that day, the Minister of Finance hands over the Budget Memorandum and the national budget to the President of the House of Representatives. He does this on behalf of the government. In the Budget Memorandum and the national budget, the government indicates how much money is available for the various plans and where the money for the implementation of the plans comes from.
Prince’s Day is an important day for Dutch politics. It takes place every year on the third Tuesday in September. Article 65 of the Constitution provides that on the third Tuesday of September (…) an explanation of government policy is given by or on behalf of the King in a unified meeting of the States General. Article 105 paragraph 2 of the same Constitution adds that this coincides with the submission of the budget. This is followed by general considerations in the House of Representatives, after which the National Budget is also discussed. (Budget note).

Prince’s Day is accompanied by the necessary rituals. The king makes a tour with the Golden Carriage through The Hague, and the Minister of Finance walks around with a mysterious suitcase that bears the inscription “Third Tuesday In September”. This briefcase contains the “Memorandum of the billions” (Miljoenennota). The content of this is officially kept secret until Prince’s Day, although parts of it usually leak out. All ladies attending the delivery of the throne speech are wearing striking hats, which are later discussed in the media. Traditionally, the Constitution stipulated the day on which Prince’s Day falls. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the session of the States General was initially opened on the first Monday in November, and later on the third Monday in October. When a one-year budget was introduced in 1848, the House wanted more time to deal with this budget. Therefore, Parliament’s parliamentary year was extended by bringing the opening date forward another month, to September. Monday was not an ideal day. It was difficult for a large number of MPs from remote parts of the country to be in The Hague on Monday. To prevent them from having to travel on Sunday (Sunday rest), the constitutional amendment of 1887 replaced Monday by Tuesday. The annual session of the parliament was extended not only by opening it earlier, but also by closing it later. On Monday, the day before Prince’s Day, the Minister of the Interior drove to the Ridderzaal in a court carriage to close the session. Minister De Gaay Fortman just went in his official car, but his successor Hans Wiegel restored the carriage and even put on a nineteenth century uniform, complete with stitch. The constitutional reform in 1983 changed the term of office of the States General from one year to four years. After that, this day was maintained in the Constitution as the day on which the Speech from the Throne is delivered. The name Prinsjesdag for the opening of the session of the States General became fashionable around 1930. Prince’s Day was originally the festively celebrated birthday of the Stadtholder Prince Willem V (8 March). In patriotic time, Prince’s Day was used to hold demonstrations of Orange spirit. On the basis of this, it was probably decided later to call the day of the solemn opening of the States General also Prince’s Day.

Prince’s Day derives much of its splendor from the role of the King and his House. But that role has never been undisputed. As early as 1872, Abraham De Kuyper criticized De Koning’s reading of the Speech from the Throne in De Standaard. In view of the ministerial responsibility introduced in 1848, he believed that one of the ministers should perform this task. But in his reigns he kept the tradition alive. One hundred years after Kuyper, President of the Chamber Vondeling made a proposal to change the scenario: the King would henceforth not be surrounded by the members of his House when he delivered the Speech from the Throne, but by the members of his government. Along the way, the procession successively passes the monument to Queen Wilhemina, the Kneuterdijk Palace, the Hotel des Indes, the Lange Voorhout Palace, the King’s Cabinet on the Korte Vijverberg and the Mauritshuis. The procession enters the Binnenhof through the Grenadierspoort. Here the king and his entourage get out at the Ridderzaal. The Golden Coach was donated to Queen Wilhelmina in 1898 by the people of Amsterdam. In 1903 it was used for the first time with Budget Day.

The Golden Coach is built of Javanese teak and partly covered with gold leaf. The national national coat of arms has been incorporated on both sides of the trestle. The four wheels of the carriage symbolize suns. The cornice of the carriage shows the arms of the then 11 provinces of the Netherlands. In addition, the coat of arms of the city of Amsterdam can also be seen.
The carriage is a sedan on eight springs, pulled by eight horses. Only when the head of state uses the carriage is it drawn by eight horses. At the wedding of Willem-Alexander and Máxima, the carriage was drawn by six horses.

Due to the coron crisis, the royal driving tour and the balcony scene will not take place this year on Prince’s Day. King Willem-Alexander will read the Speech from the Throne (in the Grote Kerk and not in the too small Ridderzaal), but he will not be in the Glass Carriage. There is limited military ceremonial at the Grote Kerk and Noordeinde Palace. There is no public welcome in The Hague on this day.


King Willem-Alexander takes part in training mission with F-16.

King Willem-Alexander paid a working visit to Volkel Air Base this afternoon. He was here because of the deployment of F-16 aircraft in both the Netherlands and internationally. He also participated in a regular training mission. The King first attended a briefing in preparation for the training mission. Afterwards he was also at the debriefing. In addition to the evaluation of the training mission, the task and future of the F-16 was also discussed. It is expected to remain operational until 2024.

The air base is currently preparing for the arrival of the successor to the F-16, the F-35A Lightning II (F-35). This new fighter aircraft is expected to arrive at Volkel in 2022. The aircraft is part of the so-called “Fifth Generation Air Force” to respond to the continuous changes in the global security situation.

0631-King’s speech

Text of the speech of His Majesty Willem Alexander, King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau:

Many thanks to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for the initiative to open this online day with the Wilhelmus. How special is it that we managed to form a unit at a distance from each other and thus lay the foundation for many, to be able to sing along throughout the country. King’s Day at home promises to be a unique King’s Day. And especially unique, because I hope it will be the very, very last King’s Day home of history. So try to make the best of it. So that you will always remember later how you experienced this day at home and yet together. You can do this, for example, by uploading and displaying your activities via Koningsdagthuis.nl. I would like to thank all those who put up the website in a short time. Without your work this King’s Day at home would have had much less the “we” feeling.

Of course we would much rather have been in Maastricht with the family. There, many enthusiasts worked hard for months on a very special program and I would also like to thank them for the great effort that had already been made before the sad but inevitable message that this year would not go ahead. But what is in the barrel does not sour and ‘live Maastricht’ is already in our hearts. As every year, I intensely looked forward to images of canals, squares, streets and fairgrounds, large crowds of people on their feet in villages, cities and the snow-white beaches of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Dutch are completely out of their minds. Exuberantly partying. One of those days that, “just do it, then you act crazy enough”, does not apply to otherwise sober Dutch people. However, it should not have been so. I can well imagine that many of you had hoped for more freedom of movement after tomorrow. Here too, the teleletting was palpable. But the coronavirus cannot be lectured. So hold on, even after this King’s Day.
We do it for ourselves, but also to protect the weak in society. And to give the healthcare professionals some rest after many weeks of extreme effort. Rest they deserve to recover, and to get ready for the upcoming top achievements to catch up with the delayed medical care and unexpectedly before the virus resurfaces and hospitals fill up again with COVID-19 patients. Today our thoughts are also with all those professionals who are committed to corona and do not have time for King’s Day. Thank you for your tremendous dedication and perseverance. In March, we showed our respect for the healthcare professionals by clapping on the balcony or on the street. Now we can show our respect by persevering. Do it for yourself and do it for them.

And now it’s time for a party. King’s Day at home. Hopefully an unforgettable day. Enjoy it. Remote, but together. And, stay healthy.

0630-King’s Day: 27 April

From Princess’ Day to King’s Day
Originally, Princess’ Day was celebrated in Holland on Wilhelmina’s birthday (31 August), when she was still a princess. The feast involved many children’s games and decorated streets. When Wilhelmina became the new queen after her father’s death, it was changed to Queen’s Day. Juliana, the next queen and Wilhelmina’s daughter, celebrated Queen’s Day on 30 April with a parade on Soestdijk. Beatrix also celebrated Queen’s Day on 30 April (her own birthday is in January) but contrary to her mother, she took her entire family and travelled around the country to visit several municipalities. King Willem Alexander has followed in this tradition. He was born on 27 April and this became the official King’s Day in 2014.

The Dutch royal family bears the name: House of Oranje. This literally means the colour orange. As a result it has become Holland’s national color. On King’s Day people wear orange clothes, often even donning orange wigs or make-up.

Flea markets
On King’s Day, people are allowed to sell things on the street without requiring a permit. Flea (‘free’) markets are held in parks and streets, with many people offering their unwanted possessions, music or other entertainment for sale. In Utrecht, the flea markets even start the night before King’s Day.

Orange Bitter
A feast requires a toast. On King’s Day, the people make a toast to the king with Orange Bitter, a bright orange liqueur. The drink was created in 1620 to celebrate Prince Fredrick Henry’s victory. Initially it was not well-known but after William of Orange became the first king, it was produced once more. Since then, Orange Bitter has been closely associated with the Dutch royal family.

Spending the night
King’s Day is a feast that you should really experience for yourself. Book a hotel well in advance because they fill up quickly.

Covid-19: all events cancelled

Because of the present crisis, all events are cancelled. The King will give a short speech from the palace. Afterwords the Dutch TV will broadcast a review of King’s Day from 2014 till 2019.

0608-Corona virus

Foto: Koning Willem-Alexander tijdens zijn toespraak over het coronavirus

“Within a few weeks our life has changed drastically. The coronavirus affects us all. In the Netherlands in the Caribbean parts of the kingdom and around the world. The people most affected are the seriously ill and their families. We sympathize intensively with the relatives of the people who have died and with all corona patients at home or in a hospital. We are thinking of you in this difficult time.
The measures to slow down the spread of the virus are necessary and drastic. I understand your grief when you cannot visit your loved one your mother / father / grandfather or grandmother in a nursing home. Right now you only want to hold one hand, give comfort. People deliver exceptional performance, doctors and nurses. You will receive a lot of appreciation from society. We are proud of our healthcare professionals and the entire medical sector.
Thousands of former caregivers and volunteers enroll en masse to assist. That’s fantastic. We can also be proud of the experts from RIVM, GGDs and all other institutions and experts who show us the way on the basis of scientific research and experience. They are under high pressure. It is important that we continue to trust them and follow all directions. They have only one goal in mind, which is that we get through this crisis as best we can and that the risks for vulnerable people remain as small as possible.
We also realize only too well how indispensable people are who prevent our society from coming to a halt. People in logistics, supermarkets, cleaning, IT, education, childcare, public transport, the police and all those other places. You carry us through this difficult time. It simply cannot work without you. Thank you very much.
Our heart also goes out to everyone who is concerned about the continuity of his company. Whether you are an exporter or self-employed. This situation comes pruning heart. It is terrible to see your own company, which you have invested so much time and love in, for years. This also applies to people in the culture sector who cannot realize their beautiful projects now.
I also think of all children in the Netherlands. I really understand how you feel. It may be exciting to be free at first, but that will pass quickly. Not going to school, not going to football or ballet lessons, birthday parties that are canceled. That is quite difficult. Also for parents, suddenly you are at home with your whole family. Forced to work from home, hardly any possibilities to go out, because almost everything you looked forward to has been canceled. That demands a lot from all of us.
If you are unsure or afraid, the need for contact with other people is great. You want to tell your story, you prefer familiar faces around you. If possible, forget the worries together. This has become much more difficult in the current circumstances. We miss our regular patterns and especially the people who belong to them. Your working environment, the sports club, the coffee morning, the music association, the family weekend, the church service. The lack of this makes this situation extra difficult for everyone, but especially for elderly people who are vulnerable.
Fortunately, there is a lot we can do. After all, we all know who needs attention in our immediate environment. This is something we have to go through together. A lot of people realize that. They keep a watchful eye on others and help each other where possible. We cannot stop the corona virus, but the loneliness virus can. Let’s work together to make sure no one feels abandoned. Fortunately, if a visit is not possible, there are the online means of communication. The phone or the mail.
The Netherlands would not be the Netherlands if people were to act everywhere. Neighbors who are ready for the residential and care center in the district. People volunteer to join a helpline. Students who offer childcare to parents with vital professions. Corona unleashes an incredible amount of decisiveness, creativity and humanity. It is those qualities that we really need. Not only now, but certainly later when circumstances may become even more challenging.
All of you ensure that, despite the paralysis of public life, the heart of our society continues to beat. Alertness, solidarity and warmth. As long as we keep those three, we can handle this crisis together. Even if it takes a little longer. 2020 will be a year that each of us will remember for a lifetime. Everyone has their own experiences and experience it in a different way. But I hope and expect that a sense of togetherness and pride will continue to connect us right through this difficult time.”


HM Willem Alexander, King of the Netherlands


Queen speaks publicly on Brexit for first time during Dutch royal visit


The Queen has spoken publicly about Brexit for the first time, telling the King of the Netherlands that “as we look toward a new partnership with Europe” the values shared by the UK and Holland “are our greatest assets”. Speaking at a state banquet in honour of King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima, the Queen added that as “innovators, traders and internationalists we look with confidence to the future”. The Queen, who remains impartial in political matters, chose to emphasise the qualities needed by the UK and one of its closet European neighbours going forward. The women of the two Royal Families, including Queen Maxima, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall, put on a dazzling display of royal tiaras during the white-tie dinner. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the Royal Family Order, awarded to her by the Queen last year. It is understood to be made from glass rather than the traditional ivory, after the younger members of the Royal Family campaigned against the illegal wildlife trade.

King Willem-Alexander reiterated comments made before about regretting the UK’s decision to leave the EU, but he respected the decision of the British people. He went on to personally praise the Queen, highlighting her now famous appearance in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, describing her as the “most fearless Bond Girl ever” for her role alongside 007 played by Daniel Craig.

Queen Maxima brings regal glamour to the state banquet dinner at Buckingham Palace


King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands have wrapped up their UK state visit with a meeting in Downing Street hosted by British Prime Minister Theresa May and a formal farewell with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. It was the first UK state visit by the Dutch monarchy in 36 years. The last state visit from the Netherlands was by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in November 1982, while Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip paid a state visit to Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in March 1958.


State Visit

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima, at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, make a state visit to the United Kingdom. The visit will take place on 23 and 24 October 2018. The King and Queen are accompanied on their visit by Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs. The state visit reconfirms the excellent ties between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as ‘North Sea Neighbors’, based on shared values in the past, present and future.

RVD, no. 170