The royal family shows its involvement with Dutch politics on Prince’s Day!
About Prince’s Day
Prince’s Day (Prinsjesdag) marks the opening of the Dutch parliamentary season, and it comes paired with the gorgeous Glass Carriage, the King’s address to the Dutch government and many rituals and festivities in The Hague, the political centre of the Netherlands. Expect music everywhere, military demonstrations, lots of theatre, museums with special programmes and access to significant buildings that are usually closed to the public.
The Glass Carriage
One of the most emblematic events of the day is the tour that the monarchs traditionally make with the Golden Carriage (Gouden Koets) from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal of the Binnenhof. Due to restorations, the following years will see a "Glass Carriage" instead. This was built in 1826.
Departing at 1pm and always televised, the carriage brings select members of the Dutch Royal Family along a one-kilometre route through The Hague in a procession that features prominent members of the military and high ranking officials. Lining the route are orchestras and, of course, spectators fascinated by the traditional procession.
The King's Address
Once at the Ridderzaal, the Royal Family are welcomed to the sound of the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus. Once seated on the throne at the centre of the Ridderzaal, the King will read his speech (troonrede) which consists mainly of details pertaining to the governmental budget for the next year.
The Balcony Scene on Prince’s Day
At 2pm, after the speech has been read and the Royal Family has returned home, they proceed to their balcony at the Noordeinde Palace where they are met with cheers from spectators. Taking place since the 1960s, this scene has become a trademark moment of the Dutch Royal Family.
From the Monday before Prince's Day there will be several traffic and parking restrictions to take into account. Cars must avoid the Lange Voorhout and the shopping area, as well as a number of streets in the Binnenhof area. As the carriage proceeds through The Hague, it will not be possible to cross the road in some places. Designated crossings are provided from the Korte Vijverberg to the Lange Voorhout.
Why is it called Prince’s Day?
Nobody really knows why this event is called Prince's Day! Prince's Day used to be the name given to the birthday of Prince Willem V in the 18th century. Later, King Willem II would bring his brother and his sons along on horseback to read the king’s speech. Maybe that is when it shifted.