Archive

FAQ - Dutch royalty

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, which means the monarch of the Netherlands acts as 'head of state'. This FAQ should give you a little insight into the Dutch royal family.

Who is the current monarch of the Netherlands?
Queen Beatrix is the current monarch of the Kingdom of the Netherlands - which includes not only the Netherlands, but also Aruba, Curaçao and Saint-Maarten.

When was Queen Beatrix coronated?
Never. The Dutch don't coronate or 'crown' their monarch, but inhuldigen (install) them. It's an event similar to the inauguration of a President. The current monarch, Queen Beatrix, was inaugurated in 1980.

What's the difference between the Dutch royal family and the 'Royal House'?
The term 'royal family' refers to the relatives and descendants of the current Queen of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix. The term 'Dutch Royal House', however, is defined by law as the current monarch, the previous monarch and members of the royal family in line to the throne.

Has the Netherlands always had a monarch?
Not until after 1814. The first true monarch of the Netherlands was Willem I though, during French rule of what is now the Netherlands, Napoleon Bonaparte made his brother Louis 'King of Holland' in 1806. From the 16th to the 18th century, the Netherlands was a republic - before it was subsumed by the French Empire in 1795.

Where does the Queen live?
Queen Beatrix chooses to live in The Hague: she has a 'work palace' located in the centre of The Hague - the Noordeinde Palace - and a residency on the outskirts of the city - Huis ten Bosch (literally "House in the Forest").

What is the monarch's role within government?
The monarch's role in government is limited to arranging the formation (but not running) of governments, and to signing-off laws made by Parliament: a process called 'royal assent'.

Does Queen Beatrix pay income tax?
Yes. The Queen and other members of the royal family pay tax on their income and also on assets that are not exempted by the Royal House Finances Act.

Who is Prince Willem-Alexander?
Willem-Alexander is the eldest child of Queen Beatrix, and is the current heir to the Dutch throne. He is a commodore in both the Royal Netherlands Navy and Army, is a keen pilot (regularly flying the Royal Plane when he and the royal family travel) and is patron of the Global Water Partnership - an organisation focusing on ways to sustainably provide water around the world.

Who was Queen Beatrix's husband?
Queen Beatrix was married to Prince Claus. Claus was born in Lower Saxony, Germany and married Beatrix in 1966. He died in Amsterdam in 2002.

How much money does the royal family cost?
An estimate from the Free University of Brussels in 2008 put the cost of the royal family at 114 million euros per year.

Did the royal family stay in the Netherlands during World War II?
No. The British warship HMS Hereward evacuated (the then) Queen Wilhelmina and her family - including the present monarch, Beatrix - to the United Kingdom, when the Netherlands came under attack from the Luftwaffe forces of Nazi Germany.

Where can I see the crown jewels?
Since there is none, you can't. The royal family, as an institution, doesn't own any crown jewels.

Why is the colour orange associated with the Dutch royal family?
Willem van Oranje was the first monarch of the Netherlands; his surname, Oranje, is homonymous with the Dutch word for the colour orange. He was at the forefront of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish around the turn of the 17th century. His nickname is "father of the fatherland" as he played an important role in the process of Dutch independence; even the current national anthem ('Het Wilhelmus') is about him.

Archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011 Dutch government’s decided to cut funding and shift RNW in 2013 from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW’s current activities can be found at http://www.rnw.org/about-rnw