Prime minister defends royal family palace renovation costs

Prime minister Mark Rutte has dismissed claims that there is not enough transparency about the cost of the royal family.

However, speaking during a debate on the royal family’s budget on Tuesday night, Rutte said the cabinet is looking at the pros and cons of making the salaried family members pay tax.

At the same time, Rutte said it was difficult to see the advantages of removing the tax break, because then the king would get a higher salary, he said.


Earlier MPs had expressed concern about the cost of renovating and modernising the family’s palaces.

In particular, the bill for a renovated new pied a terre in The Hague for €8.37m for the former queen Beatrix raised eyebrows as has a €460,000 bill for building temporary offices in the grounds of the Eikenhorst country house where the king currently lives with his family.

In addition, the Huis ten Bosch palace, where the king and his family will eventually move, is being renovated for €35m. It is the first time substantial work has been carried out on the building since 1981.

Rutte said he understood €35m is a lot of money but that it is a ‘normal’ price for renovating a 17th century villa.  

That also applies to the ‘little containers’ at Eikenhorst and the ‘little quay’ at the king’s Greek holiday home, the prime minister said.

Divided up

During the debate, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold pointed out the money spent on the royal family is spread over six different ministries’ budgets, a point echoed by other MPs.

Rutte argued that all the costs are clearly stated. b‘I can’t be more transparent than that,’ he said.

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