Today is Budget Day, or Prinsjesdag, in the Netherlands. This is the official opening of the parliamentary year. King Willem-Alexander will give a speech and the government will present its budget plans for next year. Here's what to expect.
King Willem-Alexander kicked off the parliamentary year with his annual Prinsjesdag speech on Tuesday. Everyone in the Netherlands should feel the improving economy, the King said. He also spoke about fighting crime, making sustainable energy accessible to everyone and fighting poverty and improving infrastructure in the Dutch Antilles, according to NU.nl's live blog on Budget Day.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte understands why his cabinet scores badly with the Dutch public, he said during the second day of the Budget Debate in response to an Ipsos study that showed the government gets an "insufficient" grade of only 5.3. While the economy is recovering, the average person in the Netherlands isn't yet noticing in their wallet that the financial crisis is over
Leaders of the opposition parties in the Netherlands reacted critically to both the National Budget for next year and the King's Budget Day speech. In the General Debate in parliament on Tuesday, the party leaders called it "bragging" and a "good news show"
The Dutch government promised to build bridges, but over the past four years gaps between groups in society is the only thing that happened, CDA leader Sybrand Buma said in an interview with newspaper AD.
On Tuesday Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance handed next year's budget to parliament. In his Budget Day speech he emphasized that the past years were hard times, but the Netherlands built itself back up. The fourth budget for the Rutte II cabinet shows that there is a strong foundation to build on and that the Netherlands is in a better position than a few years ago, the Volkskrant reports.
Here follows the full translated text of King Willem-Alexander's Budget Day speech, given in The Hague today.
The Netherlands had solid ground under the feet again in recent years. The financial and economic crisis is behind us. We live in a prosperous and attractive country, also in comparison with other countries, and have good facilities, good infrastructure and a strong rule of law. We have a lot to be proud of and to build on.
While the Netherlands is facing many challenges at this time, the financial crisis is behind us and the country is doing better, King Willem-Alexander said in his fourth Budget Day speech from the throne in the Ridderzaal on Tuesday. "Unrest and unease are hallmarks of our time. We must seize the opportunities that the future offers us", the King said, according to the Volkskrant's live blog on Budget Day 2016.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will not be making the trip from the Noordeinde Palace, through The Hague and to the Binnenhof in the Golden Carriage this year. Instead the Royals will make their way to the King's Budget Day speech in the Glass Coach.
The municipality of The Hague advises visitors not to bring any large bags or backpacks when coming to watch Budget Day. "Those who bring a backpack may take longer to pass checks", the municipality writes on its website. "It would be a shame if through multiple checks you miss the passage of the Glass Coach."
For the second year in a row the Dutch government is giving the Budget Day message that the economic crisis is over. But the vast majority of Dutch have seen little or no improvement to their immediate environment, according to a study Ipsos did for NOS.
Fewer trains are traveling between Utrecht Central and Den Haag Central on Tuesday morning due to a damaged railway viaduct, according to NS. People traveling from Utrecht to The Hague for Budget Day, should take extra travel time of between 30 minutes and an hour into account.
Opposition parties in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, are outraged that parts of the 2017 Budget documents leaked to the media. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers called the leak "shameful"
The Dutch government is investing more money to help poor families, the elderly and partners of the chronically ill. The government is also pushing extra money into Defense, according to leaked Budget Day documents RTL Nieuws managed to get hold of.
The Dutch cabinet wants to repair the purchasing power of elderly people and people living on welfare benefits, Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Friday. "We want the elderly and people depending on benefits to also come out above zero and not lag behind the rest of the Netherlands, Dijsselbloem said
A few days before Budget Day 2015, the Dutch secret services AIVD and MIVD foiled a possible attack on the building of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament
Today the leaders of factions in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, is debating the 2016 budget which was presented at Prinsjesdag on Tuesday. As can be expected, the opposition parties have a lot to say about the budget, many focusing on the asylum plan.
Prinsjesdag 2015 kicked off in the Netherlands on Tuesday with the Golden Carriage taking off from Palace Noordeinde at 1:00 p.m., bringing the Royal couple to the Ridderzaal so that King Willem-Alexander can give his third budget day throne speech. The increasing tensions on the borders of Europe and its impact on the continent and the Netherlands formed an important part of the King's speech. He emphasized the need of a "fair asylum policy" to combat human trafficking.
The police unions are once again protesting for a better collective bargaining agreement on Tuesday. Many police stations across the country will be closed between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. During that time the officers will be watching footage of Prinsjesdag events to find out whether the government has put more money aside for their salaries, according to the unions.
The Netherlands is back among the economic leaders in Europe, but we must stay sober. The better figures does not mean that everyone in the Netherlands is profiting. Unrest abroad also has consequences for the Netherlands. The Netherlands has to prepare for the arrival of more refugees. Keep track. The plan for next year is that employment, purchasing power and growth reach more people.
The government has made 60 million euros available so that all toddlers can go to daycare for two days a week, whether or not both parents are working. This measure is aimed at kids between the ages of 2.5 and 4 years old.
The Dutch economy is growing faster than expected and is continuing to recover despite the lower gas production. The Dutch economy is expected to grow 2.0 percent this year and 2.4 percent next year. Unemployment is expected to decrease to 6.7 percent next year and the government deficit to 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product.
The police unions are planning more protest actions in the conflict between them and Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and justice for a better collective bargaining agreement for police officers. The unions will announce the exact actions later this afternoon, but it will involve protests around Prinsjesdag