Lang leve de Koningin! Today is the day. Queensday, or I might even say, Dutch day. Today our queen will step down, and a new king is inaugurated. As a Dutchie, today is my day to feel nationalistic. And I do.
I love the queen. I cannot really explain what it is, but I’m a big fan, and so somewhat sad she decided to leave her position today. I don’t want this post to be a discussion about monarchy. I have had a few the last weeks. And I can understand that others are against the monarchy or don’t understand it. I can see that it might be outdated, not of this century. Or that you would argue it makes no sense, it goes against democracy, giving someone this position by birthright. Or that it costs way too much money. Many of these anti-arguments might make sense. And I do not have strong arguments to go against it. All that I can say is, I love the queen.
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Oranje-Nassau, Koningin der Nederlanden (Queen of the Netherlands), has been ruling since 1980. Bea, or Queen B, is the head of State, and her power is enshrined in the Constitution. This power is rather limited. The government and parliament (we are a democracy) form most of the policy, the queen has some functions, but is more and more taking on a ceremonial role. And for the last 33 years, Beatrix has been doing a great job. I think that is one of the reasons I don’t see a problem with the royals. It is not doing anything bad for the country. More so, I think Beatrix is a very big part of the national feel. She functions as a national symbol, as a uniting force. A politician will always be representing some people, but not everyone. The Queen, she belongs to us all.
Now, it’s up to King Willem Alexander. Together with his Argentinian wife Maxima, he’s going to prove whether he can do the job just as well. Whether he will get the chance to do so will not only depend on him, but whether in a few years’ time we will still have a monarchy. He might be capable, but I’m not sure whether he’ll manage to create the same feeling his mom did, being ‘my’ King. His wife might even do a better job in this sense. Maxima has lifted him up, making our boring crown-prince a bit more interesting. She will get the title Queen, so after 120 years of women ruling, we’ll at least not loose the title completely.
While today might be extra special, Queensday is there every year. Starting with the last Queen, Juliana, her birthday became a day to celebrate the royals, but also The Netherlands and unity within the country as a whole. Partying in the streets, boats on the canals, flea markets, orange everywhere and always the biggest party of the year. Queensday belongs to us all. It has become a national day, and a party for all Dutch.
Today will burst, being more orange than ever. Whether you’re a monarchy lover or hater.
So let’s party. Celebrate what the queen has did for my country, and give some hope and support for the King, Or just get crazy wasted. Bye bye Bea.