Do you know about Prinsjesdag?
Last Tuesday, September 21st, you could see a lot of news on TV and in the newspapers about an event involving the Dutch kings and the Dutch government. Many wondered what this was all about.
This was another event I wanted to tell you about since it is important here in the country. This is the Prinsjesdag.
What is Prinsjesdag? This event is celebrated on the third Tuesday of September every year. This is an important ceremonial day for the government and parliament, with many traditions, such as the Speech from the Throne (Troonrede) and the briefcase of the Minister of Finance (het koffertje van de minister van Financiën).
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima drive from the Noordeinde Palace to Grote Kerken The Hague to celebrate Prinsjesdag. This is the start of the new working year for the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Last Tuesday, King Willem-Alexander delivered a Speech from the Throne in the Grote Kerk. This speech has normally taken place since 1904 in the Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) following the measures concerning Covid 19.
The Speech from the Throne sets out the government's most important plans for the coming year. This year it was held in the Grote Kerk, as the space allowed the audience to keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
During the Throne Speech, Queen Máxima was seated next to the King on a side throne.
This year the entire Prinsjesdag program was adapted to the crown rules.
The Minister's briefcase?
The tradition of the briefcase at Prinsjesdag goes back many years, starting in 1947. It involves the Minister of Finance carrying the briefcase to the House of Representatives. There the minister presents the National Budget (Miljoenennota en de Rijksbegroting). This determines how much money the government will make available for the various plans in the coming year and where this money will come from.
This year no public was allowed on Prinsjesdag, instead, everyone was able to follow the ceremony on television