We’re now into April, the weather is finally going to start to warm up in the next few days (so they promise us – but with much rain initially), and it’s a fine April indeed to be in the Netherlands! We’ve got a big party scheduled for just next Saturday when, after a ten-year renovation, the Rijksmuseum will be reopened and will be free for everyone (for that initial day). Then there is another special party due at the end of the month. Yes, April 30 has officially been Queen’s Day for a long, long time, held to celebrate the birthday of Queen Beatrix, but this time Queen’s Day will officially and permanently turn into Kings Day as our new King, Willem-Alexander, is crowned that day in the Nieuwe Kerk on the Dam.
So what’s this discordant note that I see emanating from one of the country’s main papers?
“It is 2013 – high time to stop with the monarchy”! Can it be that the Dutch royal house enjoys less support among its native populace than is supposed?
Probably not – but that does not mean that there is not a good case for abolition nonetheless. The tweet links to the Volkskrant article laying out the republican case by Max Westerman, a former reporter for Dutch TV, but this time all my dear readers are in luck, as that is just a translation back into Dutch of the original English piece that was published in the Wall Street Journal.
I do recomment that you take a look at the latter, if you have any interest at all in Dutch affairs. For it is certainly true that the history of the Netherlands is by far that of republicanism, i.e. of operating without a king, and it was only the European Great Powers after Napoleon’s defeat who foisted a king on the nation, and at a relatively late point in the history of kingship (1813) at that.