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Time to relax - at last - for Dutch Queen Beatrix

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is retiring. She announced in a televised statement on Monday evening that she is stepping down in favour of her son, Prince William-Alexander.

The queen, who will celebrate her 75th birthday later this week, said she had been thinking about this moment for several years and that now was "the moment to lay down my crown".

Queen Beatrix has been head of state since 1980, when her mother abdicated. During Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard van Oranje-Nassau’s 32 years as monarch she travelled to every corner of the world on more than 50 state visits. 

The Queen has sworn in 13 cabinets and prime ministers, from Dries van Agt in 1981 to Mark Rutte in 2010 and again in 2012. She also received the Dutch national football team when they became European Champions in 1988 and was always quickly on the scene in times of disaster or mourning for the Netherlands.

She has remained active in recent years which have also seen traumatic events, In 2009 a would-be attacker killed eight people when he drove his car into crowds watching the queen and other members of the royal family at a national holiday parade.

In March last year her second son, Prince Friso, was struck by an avalanche in Austria and remains in a coma.

Queen Beatrix enjoys high approval ratings and is one of the most popular ruling monarchs in Europe. She will officially abdicate on Queen's Day, April 30th. From next year, the public holiday will be known as King's Day. 

• To mark the occasion of Queen Beatrix' abdication, RNW presents a pictorial review of her reign.

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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