Why and how The Netherlands celebrate King’s Day?

04May 2016
Daniel Semberya
The Guardian
Why and how The Netherlands celebrate King’s Day?

THE Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. It forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Netherlands itself and three other countries located in the Caribbean: Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten.

Guests interacting at the residence of The Kingdom of The Netherlands’ Ambassador in Dar es Salaam last week.

Furthermore, there are three extraordinary municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius, locates southeast of the Virgin Islands.

The Netherlands is sometimes called ‘Holland.’ Holland is part of the names of the two western coastal provinces, north and south Holland, which have played a dominant role in the country’s history.

Situated between the North Sea, Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands is roughly 300 km(+/- 190 miles) from north to south; and about 200 km(+/- 120 miles) from east to west. Its capital city is Amsterdam, while the government is located in The Hague. Amsterdam is also the largest city, with a population of approximately 750,000.

Speaking during the celebrations to mark The Netherlands King’s Day, the Netherlands Ambassador to Tanzania Jaap Frederiks, commended efforts taken by the fifth phase President John Magufuli to fights grafts that had become like a cancer in the Tanzanian society.

“No country in the world can develop if corruption is not eliminated,” he noted.However, the Envoy has called on the conflicting parties in Zanzibar to sit and resolve their differences around the table to rescue the fragile situation in the Isles.

King’s Day is when the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their king. King Willem Alexander was born on 27 April and so there are many parties, flea markets and, of course, the king himself visits one or several cities with his family.

From Princess’ Day to King’s Day Originally, Princess’ Day was celebrated in Holland on Wilhelmina’s birthday (31 August), when she was still a princess.

The feast involved many children’s games and decorated streets. When Wilhelmina became the new queen after her father’s death, it was changed to Queen’s Day. Juliana, the next queen and Wilhelmina’s daughter, celebrated Queen’s Day on 30 April with a parade on Soestdijk.

Beatrix also celebrated Queen’s Day on 30 April (her own birthday is in January) but contrary to her mother, she took her entire family and travelled around the country to visit several municipalities.

King Willem Alexander has followed in this tradition. He was born on 27 April and this became the official King’s Day in 2014. Orange The Dutch royal family bears the name: House of Oranje.

This literally means the colour orange. As a result it has become Holland’s national colour. On King’s Day people wear orange clothes, often even donning orange wigs or make-up.

Flea markets On King’s Day, people are allowed to sell things on the street without requiring a permit. Flea (‘free’) markets are held in parks and streets, with many people offering their unwanted possessions, music or other entertainment for sale.

In Utrecht, the flea markets even start the night before King’s Day. Orange Bitter A feast requires a toast. On King’s Day, the people make a toast to the king with Orange Bitter, a bright orange liqueur.

The drink was created in 1620 to celebrate Prince Fredrick Henry’s victory. Initially it was not well-known but after William of Orange became the first king, it was produced once more.

Since then, Orange Bitter has been closely associated with the Dutch royal family. The Dutch Royal Family Holland is a fairly young monarchy.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands was established in 1815, and King William 1 was its first ruler. The first king of Holland was from the House of Orange-Nassau.

The origin of Holland’s motto, ‘Je maintiendrai (“I will maintain”)’, the colours of the flag and the national colour orange may all be found in the House of Orange-Nassau. Princess Beatrix was the reigning monarch for over 30 years. In 2013 her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, succeeded to the throne..

The monarch has limited power; the King has immunity, but the real power lies with the ministers. The monarch is neutral and does not make pronouncements about political topics.

On Monday 28 January 2013 at 19:00, our Queen Beatrix announced that she will abdicate. She succeeded her mother Princess Juliana 33 years ago and now her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander, will succeed her as the new monarch of the Netherlands.

The investiture will occur at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam on 30 April 2013. Time for a new generation Queen Beatrix was our queen for nearly 33 years, making her the longest reigning monarch after her grandmother Queen Wilhelmina (50 years) and King Willem III (41 years and 9 months).

She abdicates not because she feels the work has become too strenuous but rather because she believes that the country should be led by a new generation.

King Willem-Alexander Once Willem Alexander was installed on 30 April, and became the first male monarch in the Netherlands since 1890. Contrary to his predecessors, who called themselves Willem I, Willem II and Willem III, he called himself King Willem-Alexander. His spouse Maxima became Queen Maxima and both were addressed with the formal title ‘Majesty’.

Gateway position Thanks to the location of North and Suth Holland on the estuaries of two major European rivers, the Rhine and the Maas, these two provinces are still very important for the economy.

With Rotterdam being Europe’s biggest seaport, and Amsterdam Schiphol one of Europe’s biggest airports, the Netherlands is an important gateway between Europe and the rest of the world.

The Dutch The Dutch are the native inhabitants and dominant ethnic group (81%) of the Netherlands. They are also the tallest people in the world: the average Dutchman stands at 1.82 metres (just over 6 feet), while women average nearly 1.69 metres (almost 5 feet)

The dominant religious identification of the Dutch is Christianity-both Catholic and Protestant. Ditch society used to be strictly organised along religious or ideological lines with every grouping having its own schools, newspapers, trade unions, clubs and so on.

Although modern Dutch society has become increasingly secular, traces of the old system can still be seen today in the media, interest groups and the education system.

Dutch society is egalitarian, individualistic and modern. Education, hard work, ambition and ability are valued; things considered non-essential or excessive are not.

Furthermore, the Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage: a rich history in art, architecture and technological advancements, and involvement in international trade and affairs.

The Dutch economy The Dutch economy is the fifth largest economy in the Euro zone. The Netherlands in noted for its stable labour and industrial relations, its moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable trade surplus, and its important role as a European transport hub.

Thanks to a high employment rate and a high labour productivity, the Dutch GDP per capita is one of the highest in the European Union. The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partner, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002.