King's Day still popular, but Dutch monarchy steadily losing support
While King’s Day remains a favorite among Netherlands residents, the monarchy itself is on increasingly shaky ground. The waning confidence in King Willem-Alexander is translating into a growing undercurrent of unease about royalty in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant reports.
The crumbling support is evident in the lukewarm response to King Willem-Alexander's podcast with Edwin Evers on the occasion of ten years of kingship. The less-than-glowing reviews starkly contrast the enthusiasm Willem-Alexander got for a 2017 interview on his 50th birthday, according to the newspaper.
In 2020, 76 percent of Netherlands residents had confidence in the King, according to an annual poll by Ipsos. That dropped to 47 percent in 2022. Support for the preservation of the monarchy has fallen to 55 percent. Almost a quarter of Netherlands residents (24 percent) think the country should become a republic. The other 21 percent have no opinion on the matter.
Those figures are reflected in repeated requests from parliament for more transparency about the Royal family’s finances and a push to scrap the Royals’ tax exemptions. The successive Rutte Cabinets have always been unwilling to tell more about the over 5 million euros the King gets for expenses every year. But in October, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he’d ask the Council of State whether or not more transparency would clash with two articles from the Constitution, as has been Rutte’s argument for years. The answer is still pending.
The growing dissatisfaction is also evident in public resistance to the King using his privileges. The annual three-month closure of the nature reserve around Het Loo, allegedly so that the Royals can go hunting there, is making more and more headlines every year. And the plummet in confidence in the Royals over the pandemic seems to be linked to two incidents - the Royal family going on vacation while everyone was in lockdown and crown princess Amalia having a birthday party while Netherlands residents couldn’t see their friends and families.
On Budget Day last year, Amalia was booed for the first time.
King Willem-Alexander celebrities his 56th birthday tomorrow. He and his family will spend the day in Rotterdam, which - as per tradition - organized a full program of festivities under the motto: We are all Kings and Queens. A crown fits on any head, the city stressed.