Prime Minister to review King Willem's "high" salary
Following significant criticism from opposition parties and members of the public, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has agreed to review King Willem's personal salary and the five percent salary increase which was announced in the Dutch government’s budget for 2021.
The Dutch royal family and their salary
The governmental budget was announced on Prinsjesdag on September 15. King Willem Alexander opened Prinsjesdag proceedings with a speech outlining the uncertainty the Netherlands faces over the coming months, both economically and in terms of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the King’s speech, the 2021 budget revealed he would be receiving his yearly salary increase of five percent, and that his daughter and heir, Princess Amalia, would receive 296.000 euros a year once she turns 18 in 2022.
King Willem’s income is made up of two parts - his personal salary, which is almost one million euros in 2021, and around five million euros to cover the costs of staff and equipment. It was written into law in 1972 that the monarch’s annual salary would rise by a fixed amount every year.
Criticism from Parliament in times of crisis
Many have criticised the high salary the King receives, especially considering the current economic climate, and the financial difficulties faced by many up and down the country as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Frank Wassenberg, MP for Party for the Animals (PvdD) said: “A five percent salary increase cannot be justified in times of crisis.” Members of the Labour Party, GroenLinks, the Socialist Party, and D66 were also critical of the salary increase.
Rutte has agreed to consider the money set aside for the Dutch royal family but does not personally agree with the queries raised. He believes the salary of one million euros allows the family to be financially independent, saying: “[Parliament] will never agree on the amount. Even if [the King] received my salary, it would be too high.” Rutte receives 170.000 euros a year, the upper salary limit for anyone working in the public sector.
Rutte will present his final decision on the matter in December.