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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander’s Christmas Address: “A beautiful future is possible”

King Willem-Alexander’s annual Christmas speech was broadcast today on national television. The speech was pre-recorded at the library of Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. 

The Dutch King spoke of connecting at Christmas time and how everyone experiences the time around Christmas differently. He spoke about how it is sometimes not an easy time, especially if one is missing someone. He referred to the death of his sister-in-law Inés Zorreguieta, who committed suicide earlier this year at the age of 33, when he said that he and his wife knew what people were going through who were missing someone.

King Willem-Alexander referred to the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.” He then referred to 450 years ago when a small group of citizens rose up against the oppression of Habsburg rule. The start of the Eighty Years’ War marked the beginning of the fight against the rule of Philip II of Spain.

He spoke of the Netherlands as being one of the best places to live and work, thanks to its citizens. He referred to his visits to cities where he saw citizens working together, such as creating a garden for everyone to enjoy. He believes that small acts like this make a great country. “A better Netherlands begins in small houses”, he said. Citizens should never underestimate their own influence. “A beautiful future is possible as long as we continue to believe in ourselves and in each other.”

He ended the five-minute speech with the words, “I wish you all – wherever you are and whatever your personal circumstances are – a blessed Christmas.”