If you were in the Netherlands in the end of January you may have become acquainted with the country’s Head of State, as her smiling face and glorious hats were everywhere, Queen Beatrix on tv, Queen Beatrix all over the papers, retrospectives on Queen Beatrix’s reign. You also probably heard that the reason for that was her ‘abdication’, an unknown word to anyone who comes from kingdoms elsewhere where the reigning monarch will hang on in there until they are ascended into the heavens aged 99. But we are talking about the Dutch here, and abdication (the giving up of the throne) does come as a surprise, as Queen Beatrix is now the third generation to move along in favour of a fresh young face. Her eldest son, Prince Willem- Alexander will be inaugurated at the end of April.
There is always a bit of scepticism in the Old World towards royalty. From conspiracy theories (‘the British Royal family are descendants of reptiles’) to plain discontentment with paying taxes towards an unworthy elite. Then there are the scandals, which the Dutch Royal family have not been immune to: Queen Beatrix’s deceased Husband Prince Claus and his past in the Nazi Youth and Prince Willem- Alexander’s marriage to Princess Maxima, the daughter of the former Argentine politician Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta, who was allegedly involved in the atrocities of the Dirty War.
There is no denying though that this gold coin has two sides. The days of public irreverence towards the Dutch royalty is a far cry from the popularity they enjoy today if we are to judge by the 7 million people that tuned into the Queen’s abdication televised speech. The future King’s inauguration is unlikely to be a repeat of his mothers in 1980, when the celebrations had to be altered due to the squatter’s riots, going by the motto ‘no housing, no crowning’. Today, Queen Beatrix’s public image is that of relative ‘down-to-earthness’ , photographed skying with her family, adorably hugging her grandchildren, high-fiving rappers and dancing in the Aruban Carnival. Last year the Queen was involved in a quarrel with the leader of the Dutch Anti-Muslim party Geert Wilders, when he accused her wearing of a veil at a visit to the United Arab Emirates and Oman as legitimising the Muslim oppression of women. She told Dutch reporters that her headscarf was worn to show religious respect, a position which may have been welcomed by the country’s 1 million Moroccan and Turkish immigrants. A very politicized public reaction, and one which perhaps showed her sensitivity towards current pressing issues as well as a proof that her role as not exclusively ceremonial.
The Independent listed Queen Beatrix at number 15 in its list of the world’s Super Elite, and even after her mother Queen Juliana put most of the family’s cultural assets into national trusts she is still worth over 155 million Euros. She is said to be part of the secretive and therefore dubious Bilderberg Group, a yearly conference where a small number of people of influence (members of politics and Heads of State) are invited to discuss American and Western European relations, focusing on politics, defence and economy. Less controversial is her title as Honorary Member of the Club of Rome, an international think-tank bringing together figures from science, business, politics and royalty to discuss world issues.
For better or for worse one thing is certain; as the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte put it in a statement after Queen Beatrix’s abdication speech, she is certainly an ‘Icon of the Netherlands’. And she definitely has the best hat collection in the blue-blooded world.
We asked our Facebook Followers: WHAT ROLE DID QUEEN BEATRIX PLAY IN DUTCH SOCIETY?
(To read the full, non-edited thread go onto our Facebook page www.facebook.com/AmsterDO )
Luke Cashman Kings and Queens are old and not earned. over priced mythical creatures…! My children watch kings and queens in movies and that’s where it should stop.
Angela Nunscunt The poison of equality for all.
Wilhelmina Jaffe Stability.
Jade Moon Finch Just more fakeness… It is even in the way she waves to her audience, C’mon people what a facade…
Soldaat van Oranje Leve de Koningin! (Long Live the Queen!)
Shayne Moira McCreadie When politics turned nasty, involving hatred against immigrants, the Queen spoke out for equal treatment. Really pissed right-winged politician Geert Wilders off. I’m not a fan of our monarchy, but this I loved.
Bernard Bill Ze kosten ons een hoop geld…( They cost us a lot of money…)
Lieve van Esch She is a wonderful woman!
Ferydon Badizada Hooorrraaaaaa ik hoop komt alles goed en lange leven van de deze familie (hooorrraaaaaa I hope all will be well and long life for the family)
Shana Wishious Poverty levels in NL are still way tooooo high … Lang Leve de Mensen die te veel belasting betalen (Long Live the people who pay too much tax)
Bea Willebrand I was named after her, but honestly I think we should have invested the money into those struggling to make ends meet.. Those who are NOT lavishly financially rewarded for every baby they give birth to, those who actually NEED the child benefit to buy food for their children. I wouldn’t want to trade places with the Royals, but I think it’s time we set them and ourselves free.
Sandra Walusimbi Nanteza I am tired of paying too much bloody taxes for her to have her €1 million tea parties.
Edith Glastra (Original comment in Dutch) Those few cents going to the Queen …. The big companies are the ones who get away with running with the big bucks. Because they are the ones charging too much for their products. The real losers who whine about poverty in the Netherlands are often the same people who put money into ‘good causes’ like the Charity Glazen Huis.And can’t stop bragging about it. Just care about each other. I think Queen Beatrix is good at conveying important messages of this type
TrinityRoy Trafford Bilderberg, Shell, Arms sales and such?
Matias Cascallares … Role? Seriously?
Roy van der Schilden She is a figurehead, the head of state to be precise. She doesn’t have any real power aside from cutting ribbons etc. She does however visit many foreign countries to make sure good relationships are maintained. Usually this results in many deals between businesses of both countries. Which in turn makes us more money than she ultimately costs. But her most important job is that of being a ceremonial way to celebrate the kingdom of the Netherlands. It is also really nice to have someone who is politically neutral as the face of the country. I personally think the queen is the only person who deserves her position, mainly because she never chose to become queen, so she was never terribly bent on becoming queen. She always says she thinks being the queen is lonely, therefore I think the idea of her being some spoiled brat is wrong. It probably feels like a golden cage because you are never really free. I think it is great to have a queen who sees it as a humble purpose to serve her country. Presidents aren’t cheaper and most of them aren’t very humble either… There are those who think that removing the queen and leave it as is would save us a lot of money. But in reality that is way too simplified a solution to get a little money back, and probably a short-sighted and dumb one too.
GiGi Terremoto Who is Beatrix? Class system has to be destroyed. Monarchy abolished. Period
Lambert Vrienden The role of a lady who has inherited her money and wealth and power by simply being born. All royal families come from warlords who conquered countries by slaughter/murder and plunder the inhabitants and then proclaim themselves as being the king of the country. And in fact they still do that: all their income and expenses are paid by the people, so they still take money from the people just because they are children of their fathers and mothers.