A celebration for everyone. Photo Novum
The inauguration of king Willem-Alexander will be a wonderful party which all Dutch people can celebrate together, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday.
He was speaking after an extra cabinet meeting, called to discuss queen Beatrix’ decision to step down from the throne on April 30.
Nevertheless the cost of the celebrations must be kept within limits – in line with the express wishes of Beatrix and her son, the prime minister said. The queen has also said she does not wish to receive a gift from the nation, because this would be inappropriate given the financial situation.
But this does not mean celebrating with a glass of soft drink, Rutte said. The cabinet has agreed to set up a national committee to organise the celebrations under the leadership of former Akzo Nobel chief and economic affairs minister Hans Wijers.
‘The cabinet is looking forward to making April 30 a great day, together with both houses of parliament and Amsterdam city council,’ Rutte said.
The inauguration deliberately coincides with the traditional Queen’s Day celebrations, brought in by Beatrix’ mother Juliana to celebrate her birthday. Beatrix did not change the date, but from next year, Queen’s Day will become King’s Day and be celebrated on April 27, Willem-Alexander’s birthday.
It is not yet clear what the impact of the inauguration will be on the Queen’s Day festivities, during which hundreds of thousands of people flock to the capital, which becomes a giant open-air market.
Meanwhile, Willem-Alexander has begun preparations for his new role. He is resigning from the International Olympic Committee and giving up other formal jobs.
Plaudits for queen, predictions for king: what the papers say
King Willem-Alexander will have an inauguration not coronation
The queen’s abdication speech in full
Queen Beatrix to step down, the Netherlands will have a kingQueen Beatrix: a profile
Prince Willem-Alexander: a profile