King Willem-Alexander must stop closing his Het Loo country estate to the public or lose a sizeable government subsidy for its upkeep, caretaker minister Carola Schouten has decided.
The estate, in the Veluwe heathland region, is closed from September 15th to December 25th every year for what the minister earlier called ‘privacy reasons’. The widely held assumption is, however, that the royals reserve the period for hunting.
Locals, animal protection organisations and political parties have campaigned for public access all the year round for years.
Last year, MPs asked the government for clarification about the matter, particularly since the king receives a subsidy of €4.7m every five years. Prime minister Mark Rutte then promised that MPs would be informed about subsequent subsidy decisions.
Schouten has now said that from 2022, the king will have to submit to the same rules as any other nature reserve in order to be eligible for the subsidy. That means the park can only be closed for one week a year.
Het Loo used to belong to the king’s great grandmother, queen Wilhelmina who handed over 6,700 hectare domain to the state in 1959 on the condition that the royals could have the use of the land.
If the king chooses to pay for the upkeep of the estate from his own pocket he will be able to decide about opening times himself.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.
DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.