EmbrACE Online

Monarchy: Yay or Nay?


Monarchy: Yay or Nay?

 Queen Wilhelmina (1880 – 1962)

Every year on April 27th, the Netherlands celebrates the head of its monarchy, King Willem Alexander, on Kings day. Throughout the entire country people can join fun activities and festivities, there are flea markets all around the cities and villages, children play games, people eat ‘tompouce’  and the adults consume plenty of alcohol. Personally, I have always enjoyed Kings day, because everyone seems to be happy and enjoying themselves. What’s not to love?

The origins of kings day go back to the late 1800s when Willem III was the King of the Netherlands. At the time, the monarchy was not very popular. It didn’t help that Willem III was not well liked either. So, in an attempt to popularize the monarchy, kings day was invented. This concept was simultaneously used as a tool to nationalize the country, also as a result of secularization. This is something that was discussed during one of my electives: Historical Representation and Imagination. In case you stumble upon this elective, it is great and I definitely recommend it! However, because Willem III was predominantly disliked by the Dutch population, they initially decided to celebrate his daughter, future queen Wilhelmina, on a day the referred to as princess day. And as it turns out, this concept was received very well. Princess day later renamed into Queens day to celebrate adult Wilhelmina. Today, it shifts depending on what we have: a king or a queen.

There is tons of critique on our monarchy, how much money we spend on it (through taxes) and the nationalism it represents. Different political parties like BIJ1 are striving to abolish the monarchy. Research shows that annually, sustaining the monarchy, costs us 345,5 million euros. And most people wonder, why? What do they factually add to our country?

What do you think about the Dutch monarchy?