Experience of Prinsjesdag 2011 by Nina van Hoogstraten

The third Tuesday in September is full of tradition and ceremonial shows. The short drive of the royal procession is so to speak "a fascinating spectacle": attired lackeys, the best trained security forces, new outfits with matching hats for the princesses, one hundred elite horses and the royal family waving and riding around in a golden carriage...

Photo Bas Czerwinski / AP

Although the Dutch generally do not like ostentation, the spectacle still attracts many people to The Hague. One of the things that struck me was that many Dutch people around me were making jokes about the royal family, the royal procession, the ceremonial uniforms, the orchestras, etc... Yet their presence is a sign that they do enjoy to see it (or is it purely a result of their official furlough?). It probably gives them a sense of fraternizing and Dutch citizenship.

Photo Ivo van Doesburg / NRC

Amidst the onlooking crowd were also orange fans and elderly between 60 and 80 years who were watching the procession with pride and patriotism. The show on the other side of the fences must bring up memories of former times to them. Some men who were standing next to me in this age category could name the different groups that were passing by: the Cavalerie, the Grenadiers... For me it was all a mystery. This could be one of the reasons that I have seen so little people of my own age.

Prinsjesdag has actually two faces. On the one hand, the fuss of the procession of our Queen with the Golden Carriage. On the other hand, the budget presentation of the Cabinet for the upcoming year. But most Dutch people have no clue what's actually in this budget presentation. But she looked beautiful again, and that's what it's all about during Prinsjesdag, right?

Photo Toussaint Kluiters / Reuters

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