All Netherlands is orange today as it celebrates what is one of the biggest outdoor festivals in the world, Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day. Officially the day on which the queen of the Netherlands celebrates her birthday, the holiday has a historic dimension this year as Queen Beatrix abdicates in favor of her son Willem-Alexander.
Queen Beatrix succeeded her mother Princess Juliana 33 years ago and now Prince Willem-Alexander, eldest son of Queen Beatrix and the late Prince Claus, will become new monarch of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix signed the Deed of Abdication at the Royal Palace on Dam Square in Amsterdam at 10 a.m. The royals then greeted the crowd from a balcony. Willem-Alexander then accepted the Dutch crown at his investiture at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.
Investiture in Netherlands (commonly called Holland) differs from tradition in other countries, where kings and queens are crowned. The difference is that coronation is a religious ceremony while an investiture is secular.
Beloved Queen Beatrix reigned for nearly 33 years and is abdicating, as her mother and grandmother did, because she believes it’s time to for a new generation to lead. King Willem-Alexander will be the first male monarch in the Netherlands since 1890. His Argentina-born wife Máxima will become Queen Máxima and both will be addressed with the formal title ‘Majesty’. The royal couple have three daughters. The eldest, Princess Amalia (born 2003) is next in line to the throne.
Queen’s Day is always a huge event in Amsterdam and this year the city expects one million people celebrating on the city’s fabled canals and in its streets and parks with oranjegekte (orange craziness). Orange refers to the name of the Dutch royal family, The House of Orange-Nassau (Huis van Oranje-Nassau). For more on Queen’s Day 2013 events and activities in Amsterdam, see Amsterdam Marketing.
In 2014, Queen’s Day will become King’s Day and be celebrated on April 27th, King Willem-Alexander’s birthday.
For more information on the Dutch Royal Family, history and festivities, see Visit Holland.
From the 400th anniversary of the canals to the reopening of the Rijksmuseum and more, find out why the world will be coming to Amsterdam at Amsterdam 2013.
Did you know? The Dutch royal family, including young Princess Beatrix, found safe haven in Ottawa, Canada, during the Second World War. The Canadian Tulip Festival, which takes place each May in Canada’s Capital Region of Ottawa Gatineau, is a colorful symbol of friendship between the two countries.
May is Dutch Heritage Month in Ontario, Canada. About a million Canadians are of Dutch heritage, half of those living in Ontario. Dutch Heritage Month pays tribute to the contributions of Dutch-Canadians and celebrates the close ties between Canada and the Netherlands since Canadian troops played a major role in liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation in May, 1945. Liberation Day (May 5) is an important national holiday in the Netherlands.