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).
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
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.
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
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.