Netherlands Ambassador Rudolf Bekink royally celebrated the investiture of King Willem-Alexander Apr. 30, with a luncheon and gala reception amid 5,000 mostly orange-hued flowers to honor the former Prince of Orange.
Everything was coming up roses, tulips, peonies, lilies, and about 20 other varieties of blossoms decorating the residence of Ambassador Bekink, who sported a vivid orange bow tie with a multi-colored pattern.
“It’s almost a miracle that we are still a monarchy,” said Charles Groenhuijsen, a Washington-based Dutch author and journalist, who wore orange shoelaces for the event.
“It doesn’t seem to fit well with the Dutch culture — We don’t like authority,” Groenhuijsen told guests during his summary of its monarchy. “We always talk back.”
A major example: at the investiture of Queen Beatrix in 1980, rioting protesters “almost created a war zone,” said Groenhuijsen.
However, at the ceremony installing her oldest son as king, “Only two protesters were arrested — two — and police apologized for it!” the journalist noted.
Queen Beatrix, who became Princess Beatrix when she abdicated Apr. 30 after 33 years on the throne, “made the monarchy relevant and very popular.”
Citing the tremendous popularity of King Willem-Alexander’s wife, Queen Maxima, Groenhuijsen concluded, “Women again could save the crown.”
One of Holland’s best ambassadors has always been Dutch art.
“Van Gogh Repetitions” will open in October at The Phillips Collection, just a few blocks from the ambassador’s residence.
The exhibit of some 30 paintings is the first to focus on what the Dutch master termed “repetitions”, describing his practice of producing multiple nearly identical versions of a subject, the Phillips noted. The exhibit takes a fresh angle, exploring the deliberate, methodical process behind the artist’s intensity and speed.
It’s inspired by van Gogh’s “The Road Menders” (1889) in the Phillips, and a painting of the same subject the same year, in the Cleveland Museum of Art. They co-organized the show, which will open at the Cleveland Museum of Art in March 2014.
Representatives of the Phillips were among the ambassador’s luncheon guests.
Another exhibition, “Girl with A Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis”, is touring three U.S. cities. Vermeer’s most famous painting headlines these 35 artworks from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague. The Dutch Golden Age paintings are also by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, and Rachel Ruysch, one of the few female artists of that era.
The exhibit is at San Francisco’s de Young Museum through June 2, and will continue to Atlanta’s High Museum June 22-Sept. 29.
Then, 15 of the paintings will be displayed in New York, the former New Amsterdam, at the Frick Collection from Oct. 22-Jan. 19. The exhibit will also change its name, to “Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis”.
Now, although the United States has never had (real) royalty, Americans with Dutch ancestry include Presidents Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Martin Van Buren, Thomas Edison, and that “baron” Cornelius Vanderbilt.