Introducing the King of Holland – Willem-Alexander; making history

Introducing the King of Holland – Willem-Alexander; making history

If you are on a short

stay in Amsterdam on April 30, 2013, then pack your camera and your comfortable

shoes and head to the city centre to witness the anticipated investiture of

Holland’s new King, taking place at the Royal Palace and New Church on Dam

Square. An event not to miss, it falls on the same day as the last Queen’s Day

celebration with happenings all over the city.

The Dutch are soon to welcome their first male

monarch since 1890. In January 2013 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced

her abdication of the crown in favour of her eldest son Prince

Willem-Alexander. On April 30, 2013 Willem-Alexander will become king while his

Argentina-born wife Maxima Zorreguieta will be his queen.

The date of the investiture of the new king will take place on Queen’s Day

which is a national holiday in the Netherlands that celebrates the Queen’s

birthday. This is an amazing event to be a part of even if your short stay just

falls coincidently on that day. The whole world will be tuning in to watch it

and whether you are amongst the crowds in Amsterdam or watching it on a screen

elsewhere you will be taking part and witnessing history in making.

The royal event

While the 2013 Queen’s Day celebrations will

still go ahead as every year to date there are a few added events in light of

the royal celebrations. See our blog entry ‘King’s Day’ for more information

about the yearly event which from 2014 will be renamed King’s Day and

celebrated on the 27th of April (26th if the 27th

falls on a Sunday).

The

abdication

of Queen Beatrix will begin at 10 AM at the Royal Palace on Dam Square,

followed by a royal family balcony appearance at 10.30 AM. The

investiture of King Willem-Alexander will

take place at 2 PM at the New Church which is right next to the Royal

Palace. The king will deliver an address and be sworn in. Also present to swear

an oath or make an affirmation will be members of the States of Aruba, Curacao and

St Maarten, all of which are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Dam Square and surrounding area is expected to

be filled to its capacity. The events will be televised live and broadcast at

Museumplein which will be named Orange

Square especially for the day. The Orange Square will also hold a King’s Dance

event in the evening with a varied programme planned incorporating art and

culture for all.

In addition, following the inauguration a

Royal Boat Parade will take place along

the IJ. The new king and queen, along with other boats full of special guests

and members of the royal family, will set sail from the

EYE Film Institute Netherlands at approximately 7.30 PM and travel

past Oeverpark to the Kop van Java and conclude at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. The

boat parade will end with a

ceremonial

salute at 9.30 PM. A one-off programme of art, culture and sport is planned

at a number of locations along the parade route.

The king-to-be

Born on 27 April 1967, Willem-Alexander has

been heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1980.

He will be the first king of the Netherlands since the death of his

great-great-grandfather, William III, in 1890. He served in the Dutch military

from 1985 to 1987; once he finished he went on to study history at Leiden

University. Since the death of his father Prince Claus in 2002 he has been the

head of the House of Amsberg, which is the name of a German noble family

descending from Mecklenburg, and his main interest has been in international

water management and being part of the Dutch armed forces. He married his

queen-to-be Maxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in 2002 and they now have three

daughters: Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane. When

Willem-Alexander becomes king, 9 year old Catharina-Amalia will be next in the

line of succession. Willem-Alexander has two younger brothers, Johan Friso and

Constantijn. Sadly Friso to this date remains in a coma following an avalanche

at an Austrian ski resort in 2012.

A monarchy that believes in

retirement is becoming a tradition in the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix’s

grandmother Wilhelmina was the first to abdicate in 1948 to give the throne

over to Juliana, Beatrix’s mother, who in turn abdicated to Beatrix in 1980. As

king, Willem-Alexander’s role will include being the head of state working with

ministers and government, and also actively working on behalf of the people of

the Kingdom of the Netherlands by playing three important roles: to be

cohesive, representative and encouraging.

The Constitution stipulates that the

investiture of a monarch must take place in the capital city, Amsterdam, where

Willem-Alexander’s oath or affirmation will include swearing to defend and

preserve the independence and the territory of the Kingdom, and to protect the

freedoms and rights of all Dutch nationals and all persons living in the

Netherlands.

Notes for visitors

Choose the right short stay apartment: if you

want to be in the heart of all the celebrations stay around Dam Square, the Red

Light District, Museumplein, the Jordaan district and within the Canal Belt. Go

a little further out for a quieter stay such as in Amsterdam North or south of

Amsterdam just past De Pijp area. But note that there will be celebrations in

most of the city whether big or small scale.

Public transport will not be operating in the

main city centre and will offer limited services everywhere else.

To avoid the massive crowds on Dam Square head

to the Orange Square at Museumplein where there is plenty more space to move

around in and screens to watch the event on.

If you are visiting for leisure or business

with a car, note that most of the city centre will be off limits to cars as the

city will be a pedestrian only area.

If you are visiting with children then there are

a number of family friendly areas such as the Vondelpark, NDSM Wharf which is

by the IJ in North Amsterdam or Museumplein.