My first Queen’s Day was in 1993 when the Dutch royal family visited Sneek, 2003 a friend and I were in Deventer as far as I remember. The first time I was there as a journalist was in 2004 when they visited Warffum and Groningen. I was there again in 2005 in Scheveningen, 2006 in Zeewolde and Almere, in 2008 in Makkum and Franeker and in 2009 in Apeldoorn. In the next two years the royal family visited the other side of the country, so it wasn’t until 2012 when I attended again. In 2013 I was of course there when King Willem-Alexander was inaugurated, and I applied to attend in 2014 but was rejected as too much media wanted to come. It wasn’t until 2018 when they came to Groningen that I was present again.
History of Queen’s Day
The history of the national day of the Netherlands started on 31 August 1885. On that day the 5th birthday of the heir to the throne, Princess Wilhelmina, was celebrated. The day was called Princess Day and replaced the local harvest festivals. The Liberals wanted to create a feast of national unity. In November 1890 Wilhelmina became the Queen, and the first Queen’s Day took place on 31 August 1891, without the presence of the birthday girl herself. The day soon became a feast for the children, andas off 1902 for all the people. Apart from 1930, the year she turned 50, Wilhelmina never celebrated with the Dutch herself.
When Juliana became the Queen in 1948 she wanted to celebrate on her own birthday, 30 April. In 1949 they greeted the people for the first time from the steps of Soestdijk Palace. For many years the Dutch paraded and came with flowers and gifts. As off mid 1950s people could also watch it on television. It became an official feast day and a national day.
When Beatrix in 1980 became Queen she decided, out of respect for her mother, to celebrate the day on 30 April, instead of on her own birthday 31 January. The chances that the weather was good on 30 April was much higher. She and her family visited one or two municipalities in the country.
King Willem-Alexander decided to do it differently. The day was changed into 27 April, his own birthday and is now called King’s Day. 2014 they still visited two municipalities, but as off 2015 he and his family visit one municipality. Ten thousands of people celebrate with them.