Held at the royal palace, the abdication will be a private affair. In contrast, Willem-Alexander’s investiture will take place in the Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam’s central Dam square.
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
The royal houses of Europe, more than 1,000 journalists and up to 1 million well-wishers are expected in Amsterdam on Tuesday for the inauguration of the country’s first king in 122 years after his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated.
Despite her huge popularity, the 75-year old queen, who has reigned for 33 years, announced earlier this year that she would step down after 33 years on the throne, following a tradition set by her mother and grandmother, who also abdicated.
Alongside the inauguration ceremony for Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Amsterdam is bracing itself for the biggest party in living memory: 30 April is a national annual holiday known as Queen’s Day, and is already renowned for its lively street parties and orange costumes.
Marc van der Linden, chief editor of Royalty magazine, said: “It will be chaos, but we Dutch like some chaos. It means it is going to be a real party as well.”
Security measures for an influx of visitors equal to, or even greater than, Amsterdam’s population include 10,000 uniformed police, 3,000 plainclothes officers and 1,500 “spotters”, who will work with police to identify troublemakers in the crowd.
The airspace above Amsterdam was closed on Monday for three days.
The precautions follow an attack on the royal family during Queen’s Day celebrations in Apeldoorn in 2009, when a Dutch man, Karst Tates, drove his car at the royal parade, killing seven bystanders and himself.
Dutch republicans have been given permission by police to protest at specific locations.
Held at the royal palace, the abdication will be a private affair. In contrast, Willem-Alexander’s investiture will take place in the Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam’s central Dam square. Two thousand guests, including 500 selected members of the public, will witness the new king swearing allegiance to the constitution of the Netherlands before the Dutch parliament.
Members of the government in turn – minus a few dissenters – will swear oaths to the inviolability of the king. Other monarchies will be represented by crown princes and princesses from the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and Japan.
After the ceremony and reception, the new king and queen will watch a performance of Koningslied (The King’s Song) by a choir in Rotterdam. This much-publicised paean, written with input from people across the Netherlands, has been savaged in the press and social media for heartfelt lines such as: “I will build a dyke with my bare hands and keep you safe from the water.”
The pop song’s composer, John Ewbank, was so stung by the criticism that he attempted unsuccessfully to have the song withdrawn from the day’s festivities.
The inauguration will give Willem-Alexander the opportunity to shake off a less regal image born of his student days, when his nickname, Prince Pils, hinted at a fondness for pilsner beer. In 2009 he was also heavily criticised for an ill-timed decision to invest in a luxurious holiday home in Mozambique while the Netherlands struggled with recession.
In a televised interview last week, Willem-Alexander spoke of his time as crown prince as a period of training, adding: “But now I am really ready to take over from my mother.”
It is his wife, Argentinian-born Máxima, who is seen by many royal commentators as key to the new king’s appeal. Van der Linden said: “This country is used to women. Since 1890, it’s been queens. So Queen Máxima is going to be a major player. She is extremely popular and will give the monarchy the female touch we are used to.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010