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CoronavirusThe Netherlands

Over 6.7 million people watch as King Willem-Alexander addresses the nation

willem alexander
© RVD - Martijn Beekman

Over 6,7 million people watched King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands gave a rare televised address regarding the coronavirus. The last time King Willem-Alexander gave a televised address of this nature was shortly after Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014.

King Willem-Alexander took the time to thank the health services and also did not forget all the others who keep the economy going. He said, “We realise all too well how essential the people are who are helping to prevent our society from coming to a complete standstill. Those working in logistics, supermarkets, the cleaning sector, ICT, education, childcare, public transport, the police and many other fields. You are carrying us through this extremely difficult time. Without you, we simply could not manage. Thank you so much.”

He addressed the uncertainty that many small businesses and freelancers are facing and also specifically addressed children. “Our heart goes out to everyone who has deep concerns about whether their businesses will survive. Whether you are an export organisation or self-employed, this will be hitting you hard. It’s terrible to see all the years of love and hard work you put into your company suddenly endangered. The same applies to people working in the cultural sector, whose creative projects will now have been put on hold.

“All the children in the Netherlands are also in my thoughts. I know how you must be feeling: excited at first about all the free time you have. But it quickly wears off. Not being able to go to school. Or to football or ballet class. Birthday parties that won’t take place. That’s quite hard.”

He ended the speech on a positive note, asking people to be kind to each other. “Despite public life coming to a grinding halt, you are the ones who are keeping the heart of our society beating. Alertness, solidarity and kindness: as long as we can sustain these qualities we will be able to tackle this crisis together, even if it lasts for some time.

“2020 will be a year to remember. Everyone will experience it differently. But I hope and believe that feelings of solidarity and pride will prevail and bring us all closer, as we get through this most difficult of times together.”