Tuesday, 17 September 2013 - 06:32
What Is Prinsjesdag?
Although everybody knows that Prinsjesdag is the day that the King reads a speech, made by the government (troonrede or throne speech), it is also the day that the House is discussing the content of this troonrede and the day that the minister of Finance gives the House an attaché case which contains the Dutch National Budget. In English therefore the Prinsjesdag is called Budget Day. Prinsjesdag is a day full of tradition mixed with serious business. But why do the Dutch do this serious business in such a way and since when? Prinsjesdag The name prinsjesdag goes back to old times when the birthday of the princes of Orange was celebrated. The name was adopted when a former prince turned back to The Hague and made it his seat. The day after he returned there was a big party and that happened to be the third Tuesday of September. It was decided to name the opening of the year of the States General after that festivity. Prinsjesdag used to be the day that the king or queen opened the year for the States General officially, by constitution, since 1848. Due to changes in the political system, this is since 1983 officially the opening of the parliamentary year. Prinsjesdag is nowadays held on the third Tuesday in September. This has not always been the case. Before 1887 prinsjesdag was at the beginning of the week on the first Monday of September. Traveling was not that easy at those days and to make it possible for the politicians to keep there Sunday a free day, it was decided that it would be held on a Tuesday, so they could travel on Monday. Troonrede (throne speech) The king will on prinsjesdag read the troonrede. The ministers give the input for this speech from each department. This is then under supervision of the Prime Minister translated to a concept which is then again discussed with the king and slightly adjusted. The troonrede is traditionally build up out of two distinct elements: - Reflections on what has occurred in the last period in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world - Announcements of plans and measures in the field of legislation and administration Since 1904 the troonrede takes place in the Ridderzaal, the largest hall in the parliamentary area the Binnenhof. It’s all traditional stuff and when finally the king takes his seat on his throne he reads the speech. The speech starts with “Leden der Staten-Generaal...” and ends with three times ‘Hoera’ (hurray) by all the attendants. The female attendants in the Ridderzaal tend nowadays to wear a hat. They know that afterwards the one with the nicest or ugliest hat will get a lot of attention in the media. The troonrede is broadcasted live by the NOS. On their website they even give the possibility to watch the ceremony from different angles and the viewers have the chance to see the whole Ridderzaal at any time. Detailed picture of the side of the Gouden Koets - wikipedia Gouden Koets (golden carriage) The traditional part doesn’t start in the Ridderzaal. The King leaves his palace in a golden carriage, which is in use since 1903 for this ceremony. This carriage was built in 1897 and 1898 by the company Spyker, which became a car manufacturer in the twentieth century. The Gouden Koets is part of a parade in which 25 carriages or walking groups or people or groups on a horse take part. Besides the king also other members of the royal family are present. This year the parade will be watched by about 40,000 visitors. There is also a grandstand which was extended to 2500 seats this year. The organzation, in the hands of Den Haag Marketing, was proud to mention that all seats were sold in no time. The parade will leave Palace Noordeinde at 1.00 pm and will arrive at the Ridderzaal at 1.15 pm. For 15 euro one may see the parade pass by while sitting at the grandstand. At around 1.50 pm the king leaves the Binnenhof and when he arrives at Paleis Noordeinde at around 2.00 pm he will wave to the people from the balcony. Miljoenennota (Budget) Actually, the name should be changed in Miljardennota (miljard means “billion”). But what’s in a name. Traditionally the minister of Finance makes his/her way to the House and offers the chairman a leather attaché case on which is imprinted ‘Derde Dinsdag In September’. In the case there is the budget of the coming year. It becomes almost tradition that the contents of the official budget leak days before prinsjesdag to the public. Also this year the numbers of the CPB, which are the base for the budget, got out in open. King Willem-Alexander - wikipedia Willem-Alexander It will be the first time that king Willem-Alexander will read the troonrede. The king who started in this function since April 30 this year is very popular, according to Den Haag Marketing, an organization which is involved with the tourism in The Hague. There is a growing number of tourists who come for the Royal Stables, the gardens of the palace and a tour in the palace. Especially German tourist seem to be interested in the Dutch royal family and their history. The troonrede will be different when read by Willem-Alexander. Not only because he is a man and the previous three heads of state were women. Willem-Alexander tends to speak with a more common accent. While queen Beatrix used some royal dialect, it is expected that the new king will pronounce the text in a more common way, closer to the language spoken by most of the Dutch.