Queen Beatrix broke the news of her abdication in a short speech. This is an unofficial translation.
As you all know, in a few days from now I hope to celebrate my 75th birthday. I am thankful to be able to do so in good health. At the end of this year, we will commemorate the fact that our country became a monarchy 200 years ago, an event which heralded a new era in our history.
The two events together have brought me to the decision to abdicate this year. It seems to me the time is ripe to take this step, which I have been contemplating for some years now.
I have always considered it a special privilege to have spent a large portion of my life in the service of our country and in fulfilling the task of monarch. Prince Claus, for many years, was my great support.
This wonderful task has never given me anything but great satisfaction. It has been inspiring to have been involved with the lives of people, to share their grief and to experience moments of joy and national pride. I have met with the same warmth and sympathy from the people in the Caribbean parts of our kingdom.
I do not abdicate, therefore, because the task has become an onerous one, but because I am convinced the responsibility for our country should now be placed in the hands of a new generation.
It is with a feeling of the highest confidence that on the 30th of April I will hand over the crown to my son, the prince of Orange. He and princess Máxima are fully prepared for their future task. They will serve the country devotedly, keep it according to the constitution and use their many talents to make the monarchy their own.
I feel heartened in the knowledge that my abdication does not mean I will have to say goodbye to you. I hope to meet many of you again in the future. I am deeply grateful for your faith in me during the many wonderful years I have been privileged enough to be your queen.
This is an unofficial translation