Local Heart, Global Soul

May 1, 2013

Apparently There Was a Party Taking Place Yesterday… ???

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As a staunch Republican citizen of the Netherlands on the Day that the country celebrated the retirement of a Queen and the installation of a King,  I drew the line at wearing bright orange but was delighted to join my husband and kids at one of the many traditional flea markets on the streets.

This year we arranged to meet up with five sets of friends at a location reasonably central  to most of us, and four of these families turned up  in the end.

All the kids played together with newly bought toys from the street market and the parents tried to sell off some old toys that our kids swore blind they would be the ones selling, but after the first hour and a half they got bored and slithered out from selling duty leaving all the parents to take over for the rest of the day.

I came home early because I’d been up late baking the night before, had serious pain in my foot because of a lot of standing and walking and needed a nap  because I then spent the evening doing what all good Dutch Republicans do… went off to a French Patisserie class and spoke French all night. Ok, so yes it was still a big  event in Dutch history, so I buckled and took from photos of the Dutch TV coverage before I went out and of the BBC news when I got back.  Therefore here’s a mostly  pictorial post about what the rest of the Netherlands was celebrating yesterday…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Above photo, Beatrix is still Queen… then she signs the abdication document … and isn’t any longer…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Crown is present as a symbolic item only, Willem-Alexander, like the other Dutch Monarchs before him, doesn’t ever get to wear it. Not even on the day of his inauguration.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kofi Annan and wife amongst official guests (but there were over 2000 of  them so I’ve only photographed a couple who were on the screen at the moment I had the camera in my hand) Since Willem-Alexander got to choose the guest list there were no Heads of State of State or Presidents attending (they are more of this mother’s guest list material) Instead, he choose all of the worlds Crown Princes and Princesses… waiting heirs to thrones as he was before today.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There for show only…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Dutch commentator wryly remarked that Prince Charles also attended the inauguration of  Beatrix 33 years ago, so has seen two in the Dutch circle of friends become monarchs but still isn’t one himself.  She then made a comment about how very much older Charles is than Willem Alexander and continued: The English Queen is “still going strong”.  (Ouch, even I thought that was maybe rather a low blow.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Apparently the Thai princess, heir to the throne is rarely seen in public…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And apparently the Japanese wife of the Emperor is seen so exceptionally rarely in Public in Japan that 80 photographers are here to photograph her here today (she’s very reclusive and also didn’t attend the Farewell Gala and dinner given by Beatrix and attended by zillions of heads of state on Monday evening)

investiture willem alexander april 30th 2013 4q (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a walk to be made between the building where the abdication took place and the church where the inauguration takes place… Willem-Alexander’s three young daughters lead the royal family (followed by “Oma” (grandmother) Beatrix)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amalia, at nine years of age became the world’s youngest heir to a throne today…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

No longer “Queen” Beatrix, but now “Princess”Beatrix… (or elderly lady about to enjoy her retirement).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 30, 2013

Will a King Beat a Queen in This Royal Flush?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m interrupting my series of posts on Plaswijkpark because as I type  this one the evening of April 29th 2013, The Netherlands in on the verge of a huge historical event.

Queen Beatrix is tonight entertaining world heads of State and  has broadcast a  Thank You message to the Dutch people on Dutch television because as her time as the reigning monarch of this country ends tomorrow, on the National holiday of
Koninginnedag” (Queen’s Day).

The date on which this holiday is held comes from another Dutch Queen: Beatrix’s mother,  Juliana.

Once Beatrix took over the throne consideration was given to moving  Koninginnedag to the date of her own birthday, but since Beatrix was born on 31st January  it’s was deemed impractical  to try and organise the traditional street markets, parties and festivities in the heart of winter.

Tomorrow, (or today as you will be reading this) sometime in the mid-morning Beatrix will sign the papers of abdication and Prince Willem-Alexander will take part in his investiture as the first Dutch King to reign over the Netherlands since 1890.

Regular readers of this blog will known that I’m no Royalist, I dislike the idea of hereditary (and mostly ceremonial) power over someone elected for ability and the fact that this royal family has often come under scrutiny (quite rightly so) for whilst being one of the smallest royal houses of Europe,  exact the greatest percentage of funds from the taxpayers and the national purse.

Today as a Dutch citizen I found out another piece of information that  gets my Republican claws twitching…  “Koninginnedag”  (Queen’s Day)  on 30th April  will naturally become “Koningsdag”  (King’s Day)  following the investiture of  Willem-Alexander… ok that’s logical enough, but what rankles with me is that he will shift the date of this Public holiday to that of his own birthday:  27th April.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I could completely understand if his birthday fell in June, July or August for instance because the weather is often iffy and temperamentally changeable at this time of the year, but to change the date of a National holiday that has been celebrated on the same day since 1948 by three days?   For me it smacks of a selfish ego trip. His mother kept the holiday as that of the date of her mother, so why can’t he?

It can’t be for reasons of  “possible better weather” because last weeks weather for instance was even more lousy than this weeks. Yea! ergo therefore we now can look forward to a greater chance of a nation of little kids sitting trying to sell their toys on the street market in the rain. Yes, I’m thrilled (spot the sarcasm).

Willem-Alexander and Maxima’s oldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia was born on 7th December so in all likelihood she will not have the choice of switching the national celebration of Dutch identity and festivities to her own birthday… so her Father’s Birthday and “King’s Day” will probably remain even though she would rightfully be Queen… a Queen without a “Queen’s Day” thus.
Is it just me or does that suck?

I was going to do some baking last weekend but on Friday my back pain was back with a vengeance and it was all I could do to move at all. Therefore today after work I got out the baking trays and went on a baking frenzy… I’ll be trying to sell as many Kiwi style biscuits (cookies) as possible to everyone at the street fair,with all funds raised going to the Kiribati School for the Disabled that our family support and fund-raise for.

Needless to say the entire country of the Netherlands seems to be slowly turning orange (our National colour) for this event… there are orange cakes and iced cookies in the shops and orange clothes, accessories and commemorative tat everywhere. Some of it is tasteful, most of it is not (kind of like my view of the Royal family LOL) .. but I guess it’s fun and it’s entertainment of a sort.

Will I be watching the investiture of our new King? … no, not live but maybe I’ll catch a snippet on the evening news “for the sake of history”… I like local history after all and I suppose it’s not every day a country gets a change of monarch.

I’ve decided to enjoy the spectacle too because no matter which way you cut this cake and like it or not, we are still footing the bill for it.  Only Time will tell if the popularity of this King is the winning hand that will beat that of the precious Queen after tomorrows Royal Flush.

January 29, 2013

Breaking News: Handing Over the Reigns of a Reign…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

I’m jumping out of my Harderwijk Dolphinarium posts to bring you some breaking News:

Last evening we switched on the Dutch News at 6.00 p.m. to find that there was only one item of news on the News that evening: The Dutch Queen, Queen Beatrix was scheduled to address the nation on all TV and Radio channels simultaneously at 7.00 p.m.

The Press, Royal watchers and everyone who might be in the know all speculated for the next hour on what the big announcement would be, but only one topic was likely: the news that she would be announcing her abdication.

Unlike English Kings and Queens who as one Dutch commentator rather literally put it:  “die in harness”,  the last three Dutch Monarchs have chosen to hand over the reigns of the job of Head of State whilst their oldest child was still young and strong enough to take over the strenuous duties of constant travel and public engagements. The Dutch Monarch still plays a strong role in Government and affairs of State, so much so that Queen Beatrix has a working place and offices close to the Dutch Parliament.

Some speculated that since not even privileged Royal correspondents who are often privy to inside information had been forewarned of the announcement or it’s contents that possibly there might be a different reason for the broadcast (with reference to the fact that Beatrix’s second oldest son Prince Johan Friso has been laying in a coma in a London hospital since the beginning of 2012 after  being transferred there after being buried  by an avalanche in Austria whilst on a skiing holiday.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

It was correctly assumed that even if there was bad news concerning Prince Friso, that it would not warrant the Queen making the announcement over all TV and radio channels simultaneously.

Indeed the news did turn out to be notification of abdication: Beatrix  will  be 75 years of age in a few days and is choosing to hand the throne over to her oldest son: Prince Willem-Alexander.

Beatrix herself gained the throne when her own mother, Juliana abdicated in 1980 at 70 years of age, taking her lead from Wilhelmina before her who abdicated in 1948 at 68 years of age.

Some Royal watchers already wondered if it might have been expected to  happen a decade earlier when Beatrix’s husband Price Claus passed away in 2002, or when her mother and father passed away in 2003 and 2004 respectively but Willem-Alexander only married in 2002 and I assume she wanted him to have some quality time,  less in the public eye with his new wife and subsequent new family of daughters.

Dutch Monarchs are not “crowned”, but instead inaugurated, and since much of Royal life takes place in and around The Hague where the Queen lives and works and were she opens Parliament each year or Delft where Royal monarchs are buried, it’s traditional that this inauguration takes place instead in Amsterdam and so spreads a royal event a little further around the Netherlands.

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

The reason for an inauguration and not a crowning is that the Dutch monarch is the Head of State but not head of the Church (as is the case with the Queen of England) and Crowning a Head of State is apparently linked only to those who are also head of the Church in their nations.

The date chosen for the inauguration will be 30th April, already the national holiday in the Netherlands called “Koninginnedag” (Queen’s Day) and since this is traditionally the day when anyone in the Netherlands may hold a flee-market without the need for the usual licence, it become the traditional day of street markets up and down the country where especially children can sell their old toys for a little extra pocket money.

Himself and I are not generally supporters of Monarchy (and to spite me for this I get two of them: Queen Elizabeth as Head of State of New Zealand on my Kiwi passport and Beatrix on my Dutch one) as I find it hard to reconcile the fact that someone who is not democratically elected gets to live a life of privilege on taxpayer expense and worse, that if Lizzy or her offspring chooses to take a jaunt to New Zealand the New Zealand tax payer is expected to pick up the very hefty bill for these travels …for one of the richest women on earth.

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

At least the British can say that their Queen earns her keep a little by bringing in a few tourists to the UK, meantime she brings the grand total of zero tourists into New Zealand and thanks to the tight knit regulations of the Club called the European Union, no trade benefits either.

It’s not to say I wish them ill, but if I were ever given the chance to vote for a Republic, I would be one of the first at the voting booth to cast my vote. Naturally I might change my tune if Lizzy would be so kind as to return the favour and pick up my bills for a trip to to United Kingdom, hey I’m even cheap because I don’t require half the countries police force to provide security during my visit.

Whilst Himself and I wanted to watch the Queen’s address because it was a historic moment for us as Dutch citizens, Himself’s own republican leanings couldn’t help themselves when it came to light that the inauguration would be on 30th April. He ruefully lamented that technically it’s brilliant timing because Koninginnedag is probably the most nationalistic day in the Dutch calendar, but it will be an especially lousy sales day for about a million Dutch kids as all the adults stay indoors glued to their television sets to watch the Netherlands loose a Queen and gain a King.

The least they could do is to have the ceremony later in the afternoon so that everyone could happily do both but I’m not holding my breath for that one.

Of course we know what will be Page One News throughout the Netherlands tomorrow and in the next months as preparations for the abdication and inauguration take shape… but agree with having a monarchy or not, History is in the making.

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

Beatrix’s mother: Queen Juliana (who was in ill health when she abdicated)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

Beatrix’s grandmother: Wilhelmina

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

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