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Although the birthday of Queen Beatrix is officially celebrated on Queen’s Day, her actual birthday falls on 31st January. This year her birthday is considered a real milestone, as the Dutch Queen will be 75 years old!
Queen Beatrix was born in Baarn, just before the outbreak of World War II, meaning that her family had to flee their native Holland for Canada via England. Despite her exile the young princess soon earned the affectionate nickname of “Prinses Glimlach”, (Princess Smile) because she always seen wearing such a cheerful smile. After studying law, sociology and history at the University of Leiden she travelled extensively, before acquiring ‘Kasteel Drakensteyn’, a beautiful Dutch castle set in the woods of the Lage Vuursche. Princess Beatrix was later photographed there in 1965, with a hitherto unknown young man, Claus von Amsberg, whom she eventually went on to marry in 1966. The happy couple soon had three children: Prince Willem Alexander, Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn. In addition to raising her three sons, Princess Beatrix focused on the extensive preparations for her impending coronation, which took place in Amsterdam in 1980.
After the coronation, Queen Beatrix and her family moved to The Hague, where they settled in ‘Paleis Noordeinde’ (Noordeinde Palace). Many Dutch regarded Beatrix as hard working, stylish, modern and business-like. Yet it wasn’t until her famous trip to Amsterdam in 1988, where she made an impromptu visit to a flea market, that she finally won the hearts of Amsterdammers, who up until then had taken a rather guarded view of her. To this day Queen Beatrix remains a very busy woman, who enjoys a wide range of hobbies (such as pottery) in addition to her array of official duties including formal state visits and the opening of buildings.
Many Dutch have been speculating for years about when exactly Queen Beatrix will cede her throne to her eldest son Prince Willem Alexander. On the evening of Monday, 28th January Queen Beatrix finally provided the answer: she announced that she will hand over the throne on the 30th April this year and Prince Willem Alexander will subsequently be crowned King of the Netherlands on that same day. So, order your orange party goods without delay, as there’s going to be a huge celebration on Queen’s day this year!
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit to our sister blog, heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?