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.
The first fans of the Dutch Royal Family started gathering in front of the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague from 5:30 a.m. this morning, wanting to get the best places to see the King and Queen drive by in the Glass Carriage this afternoon and later wave from the balcony, NU.nl reports.
Avid fans of the Dutch Royals braved the early morning cold and mist to make sure they have a good spot along the route the Dutch King and Queen will take from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal in The Hague for Budget Day. The first spectators arrived at the palace at 6:30 a.m on Tuesday, according to ANP.
Today is the last Budget Day for the departing Rutte II cabinet. In tradition and ceremony, the day is expected to look like every other Budget Day, with politicians decked out in fancy hats, the Royals arriving at the Ridderzaal in The Hague in a carriage and the famous balcony scene after the throne speech. But given the current VVD and PvdA government's departing status, no big news is expected in the budget. Big changes are left up to the new government.
A total of 950 thousand people visited a monument on Open Monument Day over the weekend, somewhat less than last year. According to the organizers, this can be attributed to the rainy weather, NOS reports.
For Open Monument Day, over 4 thousand monuments that are usually closed to the public, were open for visitors free of charge. Major attractions included the Martini Church in Groningen, the Cereol factory in Utrecht and the Ridderzaal in The Hague.
The two parties in the ruling coalition agreed to shut down the Binnenhof parliament complex for over five years in order to conduct a complete overhaul of the buildings there. The renovations of the buildings, including the 13th century Ridderzaal, is expected to cost between 500 and 600 million euros.
After the Dutch cabinet gave its approval to a controversial half-billion euro plan to shut parliamentary buildings for 5.5 years for renovations, representatives of shopkeepers, hotel and catering, and museums all sounded alarm bells. Construction work could begin in 2020 effectively shutting down the Binnenhof parliament sqare.
The Hague is expected to be visited by tens of thousands of spectators today as the annual Prinsjesdag parade makes its way through the city. The visitors will also listen to the throne speech on the 200-year anniversary of Prinsjesdag, and also the official announcement of the budget for next year.