Close to 1.7 million people tuned in to watch King Willem-Alexander’s Christmas address in the Netherlands on Monday. The King of the Netherlands delivered his annual Christmas speech from his home in Wassenaar.
According to Vorsten, 1,259,000 people in the Netherlands during the afternoon watched the King on four different television channels: NPO 1, NPO 2, RTL 4 and SBS 6. Another 390,000 watched later in the day. Only two other broadcasts had more views: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen and the NOS Journaal.
His Majesty’s 2017 Christmas address brought in similar views to 2016 and 2015 which saw close to 1.5 million and 1.6 million watch respectively. The 2014 Christmas address by King Willem-Alexander brought in nearly two million viewers.
The King began his speech with a look back on his private life. He turned 50 years in 2017 and called it “an amazing gift” to be able to celebrate it with so many people. There were also moments of sadness and grief, like the loss of his father-in-law and the devastation that took hold of Sint-Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius after Hurricane Irma. He called the devastation “images and stories that I won’t forget.”
He urged the Dutch people to search not for “a better I, but a greater we.” According to the King, it has become increasingly difficult to meet each other in real life. “The places where people used to meet – church, the office, a bar, sports clubs and school – are losing their connective function. Perhaps a hospital is the only place left where people meet other people with a different background and lifestyle.”
King Willem-Alexander also referred to fake news. “It is often difficult to discern fact from fiction. Nuance and empathy seem to be suffering defeat and Twitter can make a debate bitter.” But the internet also has fantastic opportunities according to the King.
Like many of his contemporaries across Europe, he ended his speech with a Christmas message on behalf of the Dutch Royal Family to all those watching at home.