With this post I would like to introduce you to a Dutch tradition that takes place each third Tuesday in September: Prinsjesdag. Prinsjesdag in the Netherlands is an important day in Dutch politics because His Majesty the King reads the Speech from the Throne that outlines the government policy for the year ahead. The day’s events are surrounded by pomp and ceremony!

It’s almost Prinsjesdag (Prince’s day)

and this is what will happen

When and where is Prinsjesdag?

Prinsjesdag – the third Tuesday in September – is the State Opening of Parliament. Our King travels at approximately 13:00 hours in a Golden Coach from The Hague palace Noordeinde via the Lange Voorhout and the Korte Vijverberg to the Binnenhof. Along the route, at the Binnenhof and in front of the palace Noordeinde, many people come to see the spectacle every year. The King waves to the people from the Golden Coach. This ride to the Binnenhof will be the highlight of the day for us regular folks. Around 14:00 the royal procession returns to Noordeinde Palace where the royal family appears on the balcony there.

Due to the coronavirus, this route will most likely be modified in 2020.

DEN HAAG – Koning Willem-Alexander en koningin Maxima zwaaien naar omstanders vanaf het balkon bij Paleis Noordeinde op Prinsjesdag. ANP ROYAL IMAGES ROBIN UTRECHT, 18 September 2018: From left to right Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Queen Máxima and King Willem-Alexander.

The golden coach at Prinsjesdag

Usually King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima ride in the Golden Coach on Prinsjesdag. However, this carriage is being restored. That is why the Glass Coach has been in use since 2016. The restoration of the Golden Coach is expected to take seven years.

A beautiful excess at Prinsjesdag

The royal procession involves a great deal of military might. The line-up includes standard bearers, the cavalry and other honorary escorts. Outside the palace stand an escort of honour and a military band.

Tip: be there early, because the real supporters of the House of Orange want to be first in line and get there at dawn.

This is how Prinsjesdag will be:

The briefcase at Prinsjesdag

Since 1947, the budget submitted is carried in a special briefcase in imitation of the British Budget Day tradition. The current briefcase was made in 1964 and has printed on it in Dutch: “Third Tuesday of September.

Photo by Michael Fousert: Binnenhof, Den Haag, The Netherlands

The speech from the throne at Prinsjesdag

As King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima arrives at the Binnenhof, a band by the steps strikes up the Wilhelmus (national anthem). The King and other members of the Royal House salute the color of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (the most ancient regiment in the Dutch armed forces) and mount the Ridderzaal’s steps.

Here it’s finally happening, the king will speak! Surely what our King has to say has to be of some interest, right? Well, he actually doesn’t write the speech itself. It’s just a message dictated by the government and it’s actually pretty boring. Next to that, every year (and you can set your clock to it), the plans are instantly leaked to the media. It’s not even a secret or outrage anymore!

When the Speech is finished, the speaker of the Senate proclaims “Leve de koning!” (“Long live the King!”) which is answered by everyone present with “HOERA! HOERA! HOERA!”. This brings an end to the joint session of the two houses.

Photo by Michael Fousert: Binnenhof, Den Haag, The Netherlands

There will be hats at Prinsjesdag

On Prinsjesdag, male wear their most formal dress, while female try to outdo each other with extravagant hats. Many women choose to wear colorful hats. This tradition started in 1977, when a member of parliament decided to stand out in the grey mass of the conservative dress code. Brace yourself, there will be gossiping and oooh’s and aaah’s about it.


Are you going to be joining the Dutchies on the streets to celebrate Prinsjesdag?
Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Daphne

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