The Netherlands

Tenth anniversary of Queen’s Day attack to be remembered privately

The tenth anniversary of the Queen’s Day attack in Apeldoorn will be remembered privately by family members of the victims. It is currently not known if any members of the Dutch Royal Family will attend. They did attend the first anniversary of the attacks, and family members of the victims have continued to meet each year privately.

Ten years ago – on 30 April 2009 – Karst Tates drove his black Suzuki Swift through a crowd of people who had lined the streets to watch the Royal Family go by in a bus. His car ended up crashing to a halt against De Naald, an obelisk-shaped royal monument. Eight people including the perpetrator were killed in the attack, and dozens were injured. The open-topped bus with most of the Royal Family was quickly driven to safety, and they were not injured. It took just seconds for first responders to arrive, and many of the victims were taken to nearby hospitals. Both the attack and much of the aftermath was shown on live TV. Then Queen Beatrix could be seen gasping and holding her hand over her mouth as she witnessed the attack. Karst Tates – who was fatally injured – told police at the scene that he had intended to harm the Royal Family. He died the next day.

A few hours after the attack Queen Beatrix addressed the nation, “What started out as a beautiful day has ended in a terrible tragedy that has shocked all of us. People who were standing nearby, who saw it happen on television, all those who witnessed it, must have been watching in astonishment and disbelief. We are speechless that something so terrible could have happened. My family, myself, and, I think, every person in the country feels for the victims, their families and friends, and all who have been affected by this incident.”

The mayor of Apeldoorn at the time, Fred de Graaf, said, “During that first year, everything was about helping the victims. Even the Royal Family visited those who had been involved. But as time went by, one needed to move with their lives. Queen’s Day – now King’s Day – shouldn’t be tainted with the memory forever.”