Dutch King facing backlash for ignoring Covid rules at Oranje fans event
Dutch King Willem-Alexander has received criticism for not adhering to the coronavirus measures during his surprise visit to Marktweg in The Hague on Thursday. The king paid a surprise visit to the street deemed most festively decorated for the Dutch football team's participation in the Euro 2020 tournament. There, he shook an area resident's hand and cozied up to other fans without regard for social distancing.
De Koning bezoekt de Marktweg in Den Haag, die een prijs won als Mooiste Oranjestraat van Nederland. De straat kreeg de prijs bij een campagne om het gevoel van saamhorigheid te vergroten in de straat tijdens het Europees Kampioenschap voetbal.https://t.co/jsGiDUTEN7 pic.twitter.com/dV4pm2Tn5g— Koninklijk Huis (@koninklijkhuis) June 17, 2021
The king was offered a tour of the street by brothers Danny and Raymond Zwennes, who organized the effort to decorate the street. The king, wearing his Oranje fan scarf, was accompanied by Jan van Zanen., mayor of The Hague. The visit was captured on video and widely shared on social media.
Caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said he had not seen the images of the visit, but noted it was "good for everyone to keep the 1.5 meters distance". De Jonge stressed that this may not always be easy in practice. "But that's not good, we really have to stick to that rule for a while."
De Jonge and Prime Minister Mark Rutte will hold a press conference Friday night in which they are widely expected to eliminate or reduce most of the existing coronavirus measures, except for the social distancing and hygiene recommendations. The Outbreak Management Team also advised the Cabinet that those rules should remain in place into August.
Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark also stated that the rules were there "for all of us", Nu.nl reported. "The rules are there for a reason, and hold each other accountable if they are not observed," she said. Van Ark stated that even though the king must have an exemplary role, she understood his "enthusiasm" during the visit.
🇳🇱🧡Le 17 juin 2021, le roi Willem-Alexander a visité le Marktweg de La Haye, aux #PaysBas, qui a remporté le prix de la plus belle rue orange du pays à la suite d'une campagne de décoration des rues pour le championnat d'Europe de #football. #EURO2020 #Euro2021 pic.twitter.com/jtQiuf2X8P— Point de Vue (@PointDeVueMag) June 18, 2021
According to Justice and Security Minister Ferd Grapperhaus, members of the royal family are by no means exempt from obeying the coronavirus measures. Grapperhaus himself got into hot water last year for violating social distancing rules at his wedding while the Cabinet was heavily cautioning people against breaking the rules.
Ingrid van Engelshoven, caretaker Minister of Education, stated it would be good if people "didn't judge each other too hard". According to her, it is "nice if everyone" celebrates with the Dutch national team. "Luckily, [the King] is a human too," she said.
The royal family came under fire last October after an attempted vacation to Greece just days after the Netherlands entered a partial lockdown because of the escalating coronavirus crisis. The King later delivered a video message to the public where he expressed his regret over the incident.