King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima both attended Prinsjesdag, the State Opening of Parliament. Prinsjesdag is always on the third Tuesday in September. The King and Queen travelled in the Glass Coach (as the Golden Coach is being renovated) from Noordeinde Palace to the Binnenhof. They were welcomed there by a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The King then delivered his Annual Speech from the Throne (Troonrede), which outlined the current affairs in the Netherlands and the main plans for the coming year. King Willem-Alexander immediately drew attention the devastation in St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius, which suffered under Hurricane Irma.
“Traditionally, on the day of the state opening of parliament, all eyes are on The Hague. But today our thoughts are first and foremost with the people of St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius, which were hit so hard by the destructive power of hurricane Irma. Our hearts go out to them. It is precisely in difficult circumstances like these that the bonds of unity within our Kingdom come to the fore. Support has been expressed and help offered from many quarters. The government will do all in its power to alleviate the islands’ acute distress. The Caribbean part of the Kingdom will not stand alone as it faces the task of reconstruction.”
Despite having had elections in March, there is still no new government and the King recognised that his speech contained very little new information. He praised the “constructive attitude of many parties in the States-General.” The outgoing government held back a bit budget wise but does plan to invest extra money in nursing homes, teachers en national security. The King mentioned the terror attacks in the countries surrounding the Netherlands and said that the best way to fight terrorism is to “keep living the way we’ve been living.”
The Netherlands is in a lot better shape than it was in 2012, King Willem-Alexander said. The economic crisis has been put to the side by “resilience and hard work.”
Former Queen Beatrix and King Willem-Alexander’s mother watched the Glass Coach pass by from the Cabinet of the King and waved to them. They were followed by the Gala Glas Berline which held Prince Constantijn, the King’s brother, and his wife, Princess Laurentien.
After returning to Noordeinde Palace, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien appeared on the balcony to wave to the crowds below. Queen Máxima left immediately after balcony scene to fly to New York to attend the Goalkeepers Global Awards Dinner.