King’s Day celebrations in Groningen to focus on earthquake victims

Photo: Robin Utrecht Fotografie via RVD

This year’s King’s Day celebrations in Groningen will include events focusing on the effects of the earthquakes in the province caused by gas production.

City mayor Peter den Oudsten said he wanted to include ‘not just the many good things about Groningen’ on the programme when King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visit the city on April 27.

The king will meet local residents in the Grote Markt to talk about their experiences, the mayor said. It follows a series of private visits to the city by the monarch to learn about how the quakes have impacted on local people’s lives.

Following an earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale in the nearby village of Zeerijp in early January, the government agreed to bring down the level of gas extracted to 12 billion cubic metres per year, just over half the current amount, and speed up the process. The cost of compensating householders for damage to their homes and livelihoods is expected to run into the tens of billions.

Around 80,000 people are expected to visit Groningen for King’s Day, the annual celebration of the monarch’s birthday. Other events planned for the day include a presentation on the city’s future energy plans and a training session for young footballers with national team coach and local hero Ronald Koeman.