The investiture of king Willem-Alexander: what the papers say

Tuesday’s investiture of king Willem-Alexander takes up the bulk of the Dutch papers on Wednesday, with special supplements and endless photographs from the day.

The AD has a special edition meant to become a collector’s item. In its editorial, the paper says the monarchy is very much alive and kicking in the Netherlands. The events of Tuesday made it clear the country has not been divided into monarchists and republicans, the paper said.

The Telegraaf, as the only broadsheet, devoted its entire front page to the moment at which the new king swore the oath in the Nieuwe Kerk, with his right arm raised.

Inside, the appearance of the king, queen and three princesses takes up a double page spread. ‘The Netherlands spontaneously embraced king Willem-Alexander,’ the paper said.

People’s king

The Volkskrant is wrapped in a picture of Willem-Alexander and Máxima with tagline ‘people’s king’. ‘Inside the Nieuwe Kerk, the king surrounded himself with role models as his heralds,’ the paper pointed out. ‘An astronaut, a scientist and an Olympic athlete.’

But the paper also included a column by its television reviewer Jean-Pierre Geelen who criticised the ‘fawning’ coverage of the day’s events by Nos television.

‘The image of the monarchy was polished and reconstructed with endless repeats of the signing of the act of abdication and the balcony scene, in slow motion and with violin music,’ he said. ‘The evening news ended like a Hollywood film.’

Trust

‘A change of thrones full of trust’, is the headline in Trouw. Trouw says Willem-Alexander accepted the ‘heavy task’ ahead of him in a ceremony which went off perfectly, and was a sharp contrast to 1980 when his mother’s investiture was marred by riots.

‘The atmosphere was also totally different, with no sound of sirens and helicopters forcing their way into the church, but the cheers and applause of people on the Dam,’ the paper said.

The main theme in the new king’s speech was ‘trust’, Trouw said. Trust between monarch and the people dominated his mother’s reign, the paper said.

Protocol

Even the business paper Financieele Dagblad devoted four pages to the day’s events. The paper says the new king proved his lack of adherence to protocol by abandoning placements at the evening’s banquet.

‘In formal terms, little will change with the new monarch,’ the paper said. ‘The job of a head of state in a constitutional monarchy is clearly defined and has little political relevance for what happens in the country.’

But by stating publically [in his recent television interview] that he would not be a ‘protocol fetishist’, the new king has given himself room to be less formal and institutional than his mother, the paper states.


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