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Home  /  Newsroom  /  News Archive  /  2010  /  THE CELEBRATION OF HER MAJESTY QUEEN BEATRIX BIRTHDAY

Apr 30 2010


SOLBIATE OLONA (VA) 30 APRIL 2010. "Koninginnedag", as we call it in the Netherlands, is one of three national events. They all have to do with Freedom and Identity. On the fourth of May the Dutch commemorate the casualties from World Wars One and Two. On the day after, we celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War Two, now 65 years ago.

Queens' Day, is the most cheerful of national holidays. It started as Princess day, and was first celebrated on the 31st of August 1885, the birthday of Queen Wilhelmina to emphasis national unity. The date later changed to 30th of April, the birthday of Queen Juliana. Queen Beatrix decided to keep this date out of respect for her mother.

We celebrate the official Birthday of Queen Beatrix, but it is increasingly also a celebration of Freedom and identity. At home this is celebrated with street parties in the cities, with music, games and free markets. Streets are coloured orange. Her Majesty Queen Beatrix and her close family visit one or two cities to join in the celebrations. This year the Royal family visited two cities in the province of Zeeland. Also abroad, the Dutch gather with friends, relatives and countrymen, like the small Dutch community did in Solbiate Olona at the Ugo Mara Barracks. The Netherland’s Monarchy is rooted in the house of Orange-Nassau, which was formed in 1544. William the 1st, count of Nassau-Dillenburg (in Germany), inherited the Kingdom of Orange (in France) and also the title Prince of Orange. His popular title became Prince William of Orange. The Monarchy itself started about 300 years later in 1815, when the Fifth Prince William of Orange, then proconsul, pronounced himself the first King of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After that followed King William the 2nd and King William the 3rd, who died when his eldest daughter was only five years old. His wife Emma headed the Monarchy until Wilhelmina was old enough to take the official responsibilities in 1898.

During World War Two, Queen Wilhelmina took office in the United Kingdom, from which she inspired and encouraged the Dutch people to fight for their freedom, thereby becoming a symbol of National Identity and Freedom. Her daughter Juliana at that time stayed in Canada, where she gave birth to Beatrix.

Queen Wilhelmina was succeeded by Queen Juliana and since 30th April by Queen Beatrix. Prince William Alexander, is expected to relieve his 72 year old mother soon, but the date is one of the best kept secrets in the Netherlands.

Apart from ceremonial tasks and being the mother of the nation, Queen Beatrix has different responsibilities in the National Government. As an example, many official civil service and judicial appointments are by Royal Decree (as well as officers' promotions). Also, after the elections, the Monarch appoints the person in charge of formation of the new government. Finally, formal laws always require contra signature by the Monarch.

Queen Beatrix executes her responsibilities in a formidable way. She combines a very wide interest with a deep knowledge of national issues and an incredible amount of compassion and human interest. She has a firm grasp of what is in the interest of the country and never forgets those most in need. She is always welcomed with great enthusiasm and whenever the country feels a sense of pride, the streets color orange.

Story by NRDC Public Affairs Office


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