Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prinsjesdag ~ Day of the Princelings

Today is Prinsjesdag in the Netherlands (in English: Day of the Princelings). This is the day on which Queen Beatrix addresses a joint session of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament in the Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights in The Hague. The Speech from the Throne (Dutch: Troonrede) sets out the main features of government policy for the coming parliamentary session. The occasion is prescribed by the constitution, article 65 of which states:
A statement of the policy to be pursued by the Government shall be given by or on behalf of the King before a joint session of the two Houses of the States General that shall be held every year on the third Tuesday in September or on such earlier date as may be prescribed by Act of Parliament.

Procession of the Golden Coach
On the stroke of one, the Queen, normally accompanied by other members of the Royal House, leaves Noordeinde Palace for the Binnenhof, escorted by court dignitaries and a military escort of honour. Outside the palace stand an escort of honour and a military band.

The Queen travels to the Binnenhof in the Golden Coach. During the procession, salutes are fired at one-minute intervals to let the people know that the head of state is on her way to the joint session of the States General.

As the Queen arrives at the Binnenhof, a band by the steps strikes up the “Wilhelmus” (national anthem). The Queen and other members of the Royal House salute the flag and mount the Ridderzaal’s steps, above which hangs a canopy.

Nice to see that in a modern world these days old traditions still are going strong and the people LOVE to see the Queen, Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima and the rest of the royal family on the balcony from palace Noordeinde.


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