By Natalie Deans
Before a sea of orange, red, white and blue, the Netherlands’ longest reigning monarch, Queen Beatrix, stepped down from the throne. The move allowed her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, to become the first King of the Netherlands in over a century.
Queen’s Day is already an annual celebration, with Dutch people all over taking part in street parties and parades. But the abdication and subsequent coronation of Willem-Alexander gave the festivities varying levels joy and sadness.
I asked some Dutch residents what they thought of the news:
Chelsea Pachito (Rotterdam) – “Well, I think it’s amazing that I had the opportunity to witness the abdication of Queen (now Princess) Beatrix. She was a wonderful queen, but this was the right moment to hand the crown over to Willem. I think that with the help of Queen Maxima – and especially because she’s so elegant, open minded and so tolerant to other cultures – King Willem will prove to be an excellent successor.”
Hannah McSouthfield (Rotterdam) – “Everyone was really happy and giving Beatrix a nice good-bye party. Also there were some who (instead of orange, or red-white-blue) were only wearing white to protest against the royal family existing and ‘wasting’ too much tax money.”