Full text of King Willem-Alexander's "Woningsdag" birthday address

King Willem-Alexander at the presentation of his 2019 Christmas Speech
King Willem-Alexander at the presentation of his 2019 Christmas Speech© RVD - Arenda OomenKoninklijk Huis / Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst

The following is the full text of King Willem-Alexander's speech to the nation, given in Dutch, on his 53rd birthday. While King's Day would normally be the country's most festive annual event marked by music, parties, and flea markets, in 2020 people were largely told to enjoy the day at home to continue the fight against the global pandemic. NL Times produced this translation, and also a news story about the speech.

Welcome! To this King's Day at Home. Many thanks to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for the initiative to open this day online, with the Wilhelmus. How special is it, that we all manged to form a unit at a distance from each other, and thus form the basis for many all over the country to be able to sing along.

King's Day at Home promises to be a unique King's Day. And especially unique because I hope this will be the very, very last King's Day at Home in history. Therefore try to make the best of it so that you can later remember what you experienced this day, at home and yet together. This is possible, for example, by uploading and showing your activities via KoningsdagThuis.nl. I want to deeply thank everyone who managed to create this website with little notice. Without your work, this King's Day at Home would have had much less of a feeling of togetherness.

Of course my family and I would have preferred to be in Maastricht. Many enthusiastic people there worked really hard for months on a very special program. And I want to thank them for the major effort put in before the sad, but inevitable news that this year could not take place.

But that which stays in the barrel does not sour [meaning: "Like wine, it gets better with time"]. As every other year, I was looking forward to the canals, the streets, the squares, and the fairs. The great masses of people in towns, cities and in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. The whole of the Netherlands out and about, celebrating exuberantly. One of those days where [the expression] "Be normal; That's crazy enough," no longer applies to otherwise down-to-earth Dutch people.

But it was not meant to be.

I can imagine that many of you had hoped for more freedom of movement. Here at home too, the disappointment was palpable. But we cannot let the coronavirus take control. So stick with it, also after this King's Day.

We are doing this for ourselves, but also for the vulnerable in our society. And to give the healthcare professionals, after many weeks of extreme efforts, some rest. Rest which they deserve. To recover, and to prepare for the upcoming top achievements that must be delivered to catch up on postponed medical care.

And also for the moment that this virus shows its head again, and hospitals again fill up with Covid-19 patients. Today our thoughts are also with all the professionals who are working against coronavirus and do not have time for King's Day. Thank you for your gigantic dedication and persistence.

In March we showed our respect for healthcare professionals by applauding for them from balconies and the streets. Now we can show our respect by continuing [to follow social distancing rules]. Do it for yourself, and do it for them.

And now, it is time for a party: King's Day at Home. Hopefully, it will be an unforgettable day. Enjoy it, from a safe distance, but together. And stay healthy.

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