A 63-year old Dutchman has been sentenced to 40 hours of community service for offending Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. The Dutch law criminalises insults directed at the King or Queen.
In October 2019, a Dutchman was talking with some people on the street in Utrecht. After one of these people were fined by the police for committing a crime, the 63-year old man began to insult Her Majesty Queen Máxima. His reasons for offending the Queen, who was not in Utrecht at that moment, are unknown. The officers tried to warn the man that offending the Queen is punishable by law but nevertheless, he continued his line of insults which included “daughter of a killer”.
Recently a judge has reviewed the case and decided that even though Queen Máxima was not present at that point and did not hear the insults, the man has committed a crime. The man was sentenced to 40 hours of community service. It should be noted that the man was on probation for committing a similar crime. Therefore, the prosecutor had asked for the imprisonment of the man, but the judge decided that community service would be more appropriate.
Until the beginning of this year, offending the King or Queen was a separate article in Dutch law. Even though the article has been removed since the beginning of this year, the judge ruled that offending the Queen is still punishable. The language of the man was not categorised under the right to freedom of expression as the language of the man did not contribute to the public debate. The judge said that the behaviour of the man was “unacceptable”.