Dutch king speaks about life, death and happiness in open tv interview

Dutch king speaks about life, death and happiness in open tv interview

Some 4.3 million people watched Wednesday night’s televised interview with king Willem-Alexander in which he talked about his life, the death of his brother Friso and the MH17 disaster. The interview, filmed at the king’s home in Wassenaar, was broadcast on both NPO1 and commercial channel RTL4. The aim of the interview with presenter Wilfried de Jong was to show the king as a man not a head of state, broadcaster NOS said. The result was described by royalty watchers as ‘relaxed and open’. Teenager In the interview, Willem-Alexander said as a teenager and student he had long had his doubts about the monarchy. ‘I had not accepted, internalised the fact that I would take over this job from my mother,’ he said. ‘I wanted to get to know myself better. You have to know yourself through and through. This is something I am continually impressing on [crown princess] Amalia.’ The king said he told his daughters to learn their boundaries. ‘Cross them, make mistakes – as much as possible out of the public eye. That’s what I did, a lot. Parties… all that and more… it is the right thing to do, as long as you don’t do it in the public domain. The king said he had benefited from security officials who did not tell his parents what he was up to. He has made the same deal with his daughters’ security staff. ‘It is about the safety of my children, not whether or not we know what they are up to and if that is wrong or right,’ he said. ‘Otherwise you can never develop.’ Depression During the interview, based around videos of the past, the king said he had rarely been allowed to watch television until he reached the age of 14. He also said that he had gone away to school in Wales in the 1980s to escape changes on the home front. His father prince Claus was suffering from depression and his mother had just taken over the throne. It was a difficult time to be a teenager, he said. The king spoke about the death of his brother Friso in 2013 after a skiing accident. ‘You only realise what you have lost when it is no longer there,’ he said. ‘He lived in London with Mabel and the children but he was a person to have in the background… if you no longer have that, you miss it. You also sees what happens to a mother who loses a child. They lose part of themselves.’ The sorrow of losing Friso helped him understand the sorrow of the relatives of those killed in the MH17 disaster, he said. ‘Of course you understand it,’ the king said. ‘Your world collapses. And that happened to us as well.’ Immigration The interview skirted round the issue of politics but the king did say that he could understand the current debate on immigration. ‘We live in difficult times,’ he said. ‘We have all sorts of problems that could not be spoken about in the past. I understand that this makes people uneasy. The world has changed. Discussion is good. I understand the fear and anger, but it is a halfway house. It can never be the final destination.’ Queen Maxima, he said, is ‘my everything. My good fortune at home, my children, I owe everything to her. She is critical but very caring and forgiving if I am occasionally sulky.’ At the age of 50, the king said, he was happy in his skin. ‘You don’t need to feel sorry for me,’ he told De Jong. ‘I have a very interesting life. I’m happy with my role, I have more self confidence and that allows me to be myself.’  More >

King's Night passes off peacefully

King’s Night passes off peacefully and the rain stayed away Hundreds of thousands of people kicked off the King’s Day celebrations at concerts and festivals all over the country. Despite repeated warnings of bad weather, there was little rain and the evening passed off peacefully in most places. In The Hague, some 200,000 people turned out for the annual The Life I Live festival. There were just six arrests, ‘which is normal for an average weekend,’ a police spokesman told broadcaster RTL. In Utrecht, the market free-for-all traditionally carries on all night. The city was extremely busy but ‘everyone had a good time,’ a police spokesman said. Amplified music is banned in Utrecht until 11am on King's Day itself. In Amsterdam, city centre streets were crowded even though there were no large outside events. ‘There were a few incidents and more arrests than on a normal Saturday night but nothing to worry about,’ a police spokesman said. My street is ready!! #Kingsnight #Koningsnacht pic.twitter.com/khffOMfLZ9 — Silvi Santiago (@silvisantiago_) April 26, 2017 #koningsnacht #utrecht - one big party pic.twitter.com/Z5gffgt4JS — Ann M. Conefrey (@AMConefrey) April 26, 2017 Overzicht Koningsnacht en Koningsdag 2017 - Horecagroningen.nl https://t.co/InXu7FREcF — Peter Kuil Holding (@PeterKuil) April 15, 2017   More >

Dutch unions welcome paternity leave plan

Dutch unions welcome Brussel’s plans for paid paternity leave European Commission plans to bring in 10 days paid paternity leave for new fathers have been welcomed by Dutch unions but are unlikely to find much favour among employers. Currently Dutch dads are entitled to just two days paid leave when a baby is born, putting the Netherlands well down the father friendly league table. ‘The new cabinet must adopt the [Commission’s] standard,’ Catelene Passchier, deputy chairman of the FNV trade union federation said. ‘The Netherlands is at the bottom when it comes to paternity leave.’ The outgoing government had planned to extend the amount of paternity leave for new fathers but the proposal was put on ice earlier this month. It will now be up to the next administration to decide to increase paid leave from two to five days from 2019 Traditionally, work on politically sensitive issues is halted while a new cabinet is put together following an election. The decision to put the plan on hold was supported by the D66 Liberals, left-wing green GroenLinks and Christian Democrats, all of whom are in talks with the VVD on forming a new government. All three parties are in favour of more generous schemes than a three-day increase. Fathers in the Netherlands are able to take unpaid leave, spread out over several months, to take care of their offspring but currently only around one in four do so.  More >

Emoji adorn new Amersfoort building

Emoji replace gargoyles and kings on new Amersfoort building A new building in the Amersfoort district of Vathorst has a novel decoration on its façade - a selection of the 22 most popular emoji. Emoji are going to be some of the most recognizable icons of the 21st century, says architect Changiz Tehrani, which is why he decided to cast them in concrete. 'In classical architecture they used heads of the king or whatever, and they put that on the façade,' Tehrani told The Verge. 'So we were thinking, what can we use as an ornament so when you look at this building in 10 or 20 years you can say "hey this is from that year!" The answer was obvious: emoji.' It is not the first time architects from the Attika practice have used smileys to decorate a building. Eight years ago, they placed two on another building in Vathorst - but they date from the Nokia period, broadcaster RTL said. The new emoji are on a brick building which is part of a new shopping centre.   More >

How did the mother duck cross the road?

How did the mother duck cross the road in a small Dutch town? The Netherlands seems to have its fair share of smart rather than daft ducks at the moment. Take the mother duck in Beuningen who for the third year in a row has nested in the garden of Caroline Verhees’ terraced home. When the ducklings are big enough to swim, she taps on the garden door and then leads her brood through the house and into the pond at the other side of the road. ‘I help them cross the road so they don’t get squashed,’ Verhees says. In Amersfoort, meanwhile, a German shepherd dog named Wolf has adopted four orphan chicks who were abandoned by their mother. ‘It’s jolly cold outside so I brought them in,’ Josje Keunen told the AD. ‘I was worried about the dog, but right from the start he began ‘fathering’ them. He licks them and cuddles them and wants them with him all the time.’ As soon as the ducklings are big enough to cope on their own, Keunen says she will take them to a nearby duck pond. ‘But until then, they can stay close to daddy Wolf,’ she says.  More >