In April 2013, Willem-Alexander became the first Dutch king in the past century following the abdication of Queen Beatrix. The Netherlands is one of the few European countries that didn’t abolish its monarchy, which is much-loved by the country’s people.
It is a fairly young monarchy but they have often been praised for helping preserve the cultural and religious heritage of the nation. They try to maintain a low profile, but they are still well known throughout Western Europe and here we look at three facts about the royal family of the Netherlands you probably didn’t know.
Members of the Royal family don’t wear crowns Royal families around the world have become synonymous with wearing luxurious jewel-encysted crowns, but strangely this actually isn’t the case in the Netherlands. A silver-plated and gold crown was created in 1840 for King Willem II, but in an unprecedented event, he refused to be crowned What is also interesting is that the crown contained no diamonds or pearls and the public are in for disappointment – it is not on public display and the last time it was widely seen was in 2013.
The King’s birthdays are celebrated a bit differently The King’s birthday, known in the Netherlands as Koninginnedag, is celebrated on April 27, but it’s not your everyday celebration to remember the birthday of a Royal family member. For the festivities, people are allowed to sell whatever they like, effectively transforming the Netherlands into a huge market offering a variety of products. Millions of people spill onto the streets for the celebrations, and if eating like a King wasn’t enough, you can also jump aboard a boat to toast the special birthday in that way.
Willem-Alexander sewed his own wetsuit Following primary school, King Willem-Alexander completed his secondary education at Atlantic College in the county of Glamorgan in Wales. His mother, Queen Beatrix, dropped him off at school on his first day – a moment that was immortalised by television cameras – and after two years, Willem-Alexander received his International Baccalaureate.
Atlantic College, which received an award for innovation, has always placed emphasis on international tolerance. The King even joined the lifeboat service at the educational institution and remembers how he had to even sew his own wetsuit.