Archive for the ‘Monarchy’ Category

As the Dutch celebrate Queen’s Day and the coronation of a new monarch, readers share their view of the celebrations

queens day netherlands
Dutch Queen Beatrix in Zeewolde, Netherlands, on the occasion of Queen’s Day, the celebration of her birthday. Queen Beatrix announced on 28 January 2013, in a previously recorded speech, that she will give the throne to Crown Prince Willem-Alexander on 30 April 2013. Share your pictures from Queen’s Day and the coronation with us. Photograph: VINCENT JANNINK/EPA

Tying in with her 75th birthday, the abdication and coronation in Amsterdam’s central square will be cause for celebration and ceremony across the Netherlands with the Dutch throwing street parties and parades.

We’re keen to see your images and videos of the celebrations – whether in Holland or beyond – from national costumes to impromptu spates of orange-clad dancing to document what is likely to be one of the biggest celebrations of all things Dutch this century.

On the 28 January our Queen Beatrix announced her abdication. I watched her speech together with my grandparents and felt slightly shocked. She had been our queen for 33 years and – though I hadn’t expected it – knowing that we had to say goodbye to her now, made me feel quite emotional.

Yet after my emotions settled down, I realised 2013 was going to be a very special year for the Netherlands and I have barely been able to contain my excitement over the past few months. A coronation – though technically in Holland it’s an inauguration – of a new king is something that happens only once, twice or, if you’re lucky, three times in your lifetime. It’s an event of great historical importance and everyone in the Netherlands seems to realise that.

Most of the Dutch people – as various polls have shown – support our king-to-be Willem-Alexander and are genuinely excited for 30 April. This is illustrated by the “orange madness” that has taken over our newspapers, television shows, shops and minds. Most of us can’t wait for the 30 April to arrive, because if there is one thing the Dutch know, it’s how to throw a good party! Especially if we’re allowed to dress up in orange!

From the moment Queen Beatrix announced her abdication in January, the Netherlands slowly turned orange. It’s inescapable: advertising becomes openly royalist, papers produce countless coronation specials, television starts favoring the new king over reports on violence in Syria.

The constitutional monarchy in the 21st century is an odd beast. Succession is fundamentally undemocratic. Exit the right womb and – in the case of the new Dutch king – you receive 850.000 euros per annum. That’s over two Obama’s. We also constitutionally prevent you paying taxes on them.

With the final Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day upon us this Tuesday, I should confess I do go out with friends on that day. The party often starts the night before, because it’s no secret Koninginnenacht is even better.

The Netherlands lacks a strong nationalist tradition. During the year, it’s rare to see the Dutch flag in everyday life. Municipal buildings only carry a flag on some – not all – national holidays. Nobody flags daily out of national pride. Of course there are occasional flourishes of orange when our national soccer team progresses – and ultimately fails – in European and international tournaments.

Even as a softcore republican I recognise some benefits of our monarchy. Koninginnedag especially is an inclusive, uniquely carefree orange-hued celebration of ‘Dutchness’, without dark undercurrents of nationalism. It naturally centers around the pampered head that wears a crown, but for most people it’s just a day to enjoy with friends, sell attic trash on the vrijmarkt and get drunk. As nationalism goes, you could do worse.

Looking back, Beatrix as a symbol probably helped maintain this healthy form of nationalism, in a way a president possibly couldn’t. But I wouldn’t be a real Dutchman if I didn’t grumble about the cost.

Read original article here.



The Netherlands is about to have its first King since 1890. Queen Beatrix last week announced she would step aside for her son Willem-Alexander after more than 30 years on the throne. The Prince has worked hard to bolster his image in the past 15 years, swapping his reputation as a beer-guzzling party animal for the trappings of a family man. The Royal correspondent, Marc van der Linden, says the decision to abdicate came as no surprise to the Dutch.

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander

MARC VAN DER LINDEN: We’ve got a history of monarchs that abdicate in favour of the heir to the throne at certain points. We had three kings and three Queens and four of them altogether abdicated. So the system we use, we are used to it. We like the system, we like the fact that at a certain age the monarch is stepping down and we get a younger generation as King and as Queen. And that’s happening now.

ASHLEY HALL: What was the reaction like?

MARC VAN DER LINDEN: Well Beatrix is extremely loved, people respect her. She is a very – she’s been a very good Queen. There’s hardly any discussion about that. So people were very grateful for what she’s done for the country, emotional because it comes at a time that the Queen has a difficult period, a difficult time in her life. Her son had a very tragic accident last year, he’s in a coma since.

But most people also, you know, wish her some nice years, some peace, some rest, time for her hobbies, time to travel, time to enjoy grandchildren. So, you know, it’s a double feeling.

ASHLEY HALL: So she stands aside to hand over the reins to her son Willem-Alexander. What sort of indications are there about what kind of King he will be?

MARC VAN DER LINDEN: Well he said that he liked the way his grandmother was a Queen; close to the people, down to earth, extrovert, very open. His mother had a more business like style, she was (inaudible) there was always a little distance, but in the last years, especially since her husband died, her parents died, the accident of her son, the attitudes changed and Queen Beatrix became more open and more emotional in public sometimes.

And that, you know, that formed a very strong bond between her and her people.

ASHLEY HALL: Willem-Alexander did have a reputation as a bit of a party animal for – in his earlier years; has he managed to put that behind him?

MARC VAN DER LINDEN: Yes. He was, like all young men, enjoying his beers, he had some girlfriend, and when he married a lot of things changed. He became more serious, but he also became more open. We saw him as a father; he’s a very, you know, happy father, very loved by his – very much loved by his daughters. And we saw a lot of footage of him in his role as a father. And he’s given a lot of interviews, he’s very open to the press, he’s got a good relationship with the press at the moment.

So, compared to his mother, that’s completely different. And his mother never gave quotes on TV, never gave quotes for radio. When she was talking to the press we were not allowed to use her quotes as a quote. We could just, you know, paraphrase it but not quote her. And he’s very, very easy with that.

So, it’s going to be different, but it’s going to be good. He’s going to be a 21st Century monarch.

ASHLEY HALL: Give me an insight, Marc, into reporting on royalty in The Netherlands. Most of the royal reporting that we see in Australia relates to the British Royal family, contrast that a little for me or give me some insight into how you go about your work there.

MARC VAN DER LINDEN: The good thing for the Royal family in England is that the whole world is watching them. That’s also the downside for them. That puts on a lot of pressure, that makes the media always a little bit of a circus; it’s very hard to get very close to the Royals.

I’ve been travelling with the Queen and the Crown Prince and Princess Maxima last week to Brunei and Singapore and it’s really very easy to get close to them, to speak to them. We’re invited to the parties, we’re invited to see the same concerts, we are invited to eat the same food as they do.

So it’s different, it’s very close towards the family. Of course there’s always a distance because we are the media. They are, you know, writing a lot in Germany about the Dutch Royal family. The Belgians envy our Royal family, their own king and their royal family are not very popular, and they’re always saying ‘look at them, look at how they’re doing it.’

ASHLEY HALL: Marc van der Linden is a Royal biographer and one of the anchors of the daily news show RTL Boulevard. He spoke to me from Amsterdam.

The original story:

Treasures in the Royal Attic

Posted: February 23, 2011 in Culture, History, Monarchy

Originally from this Wall Street Journal article


Columnist's name

The Dutch royal family cleans out the attics in its palaces.

Sotheby’s Amsterdam will offer property from the estate of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004) in a four-day sale from March 14-17 at the RAI Theater Congress Center.

Courtesy of Sotheby’sA set of four Chinese Doucai ‘South Sea Bubble’ plates (circa 1720).Estimate: €7,000-€9,000



The 1,725-lot auction will include furniture, porcelain, glass, silver, paintings and drawings. Most items come from 17th-century Palace Soestdijk, where Queen Juliana lived with Prince Bernhard for all of her married life. The remaining pieces are from the attics and stores of six other palaces.

The auction will be conducted on behalf of Queen Juliana’s four daughters: Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and Princess Christina. The proceeds will go to charities, including the Red Cross, with which Queen Juliana had a long-term relationship.

The property to be sold was only partly collected by Queen Juliana. The larger share was accumulated by previous kings and queens, beginning with King Willem I (1772-1843).

Although all the lots in the sale have a royal provenance, a high proportion of items will have affordable estimates of €100-€1,000. At the highest end will be pieces expected to fetch between €40,000 and €60,000.

“This sale is for everybody,” says Mark Grol, managing director of Sotheby’s Amsterdam. Although the sale will have particular appeal for Dutch buyers, Sotheby’s is also expecting international interest as many of the lots have an international provenance.

The royal sale is taking place at a convenient time, as Tefaf, the world’s most prestigious fine art and antique fair, will open in the Dutch town of Maastricht that same week (March 18-27).

In the royal auction, a rare and extensive Doccia Ginori porcelain dinner service from circa 1780-1810 is estimated at €40,000-€60,000. Decorated with Italian landscapes, the service was manufactured in Doccia, near Florence, at a famous factory founded by Marchese Carlo Ginori in 1735. A lively porcelain offering will be four Chinese Doucai plates from circa 1720, each painted with a comedian satirizing the South Sea Bubble of the same year. The bubble, a notorious financial disaster, started in England and spread to France and Holland (estimate: €7,000-€9,000). Doucai is a porcelain that combines a blue-and-white underglaze with an overglaze decoration. A pretty porcelain item will be an English Staffordshire flower-encrusted bouquet in a pot from the first half of the 20th century (estimate: €50-€100).

Metal objects offer plenty of variety. Top lot will be a rare medallion with an unidentified patron saint in the middle that was made for a guild in the early 16th century (estimate: €40,000-€60,000). There will be a nice choice of cutlery with, for example, 39 18th-century silver knives that are estimated at €4,000-€8,000 for the set. Miniature silver toys are also on hand, such as a Dutch canon made by Arnoldus van Geffen in 1740 (estimate: €2,000-€3,000). A fun item is a metal jug for pouring water, with a crowned “E” for Queen Emma, the grandmother of Queen Juliana (estimate: €100-€150).

Among the lots is nicely priced glass. An extensive, 19th century, frostedglass drinking service enameled with green rose-bud branches, including flasks, goblets and various glasses, is estimated at €2,000-€3,000. Champagne flutes seem to offer a bargain. A set of 25 20th-century glasses, for example, is expected to fetch €100-€200.

As for furnishings, there will be a wealth of chairs, cupboards, tables, screens, lighting and clocks. A large 18th century, Dutch, ebony table clock, which can play 12 tunes, is valued at €10,000-€15,000. A wonderfully elegant, Oriental-style enamel table centerpiece from circa 1870 is estimated at €1,000-€1,500. An impressive Dutch marquetry, rosewood and porcelain four-leaf screen from circa 1886 is valued at €6,000-€8,000.

For animal lovers, there will be some life-like sculptures, notably a bronze puma on the prowl by Luxembourg artist Auguste Tremont from circa 1925-1930 (estimate: €8,000-€12,000).

Write to Margaret Studer at