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Today is King’s Day in the Netherlands: The celebration of the 53rd birthday of King Willem-Alexander.

Generally, this is a day with huge celebrations, everybody goes out to party. This time, because of Covid-19 it’s totally different sadly.


Willem-Alexander (Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; born April 27, 1967) is the reigning King of the Netherlands, having acceded to the throne following his mother’s abdication in 2013.

Willem-Alexander was born in Utrecht as the oldest child of Princess Beatrix and diplomat Claus van Amsberg. His mother, Beatrix, became Queen of the Netherlands on April 30, 1980 after his grandmother Queen Juliana abdicated. He then received the title of Prince of Orange as heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. From birth, Willem-Alexander has held the titles Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, and Jonkheer of Amsberg. He was baptised as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church on September 2, 1967.


Willem-Alexander is interested in sports and international water management issues. Until his accession to the throne, he was a member of the International Olympic Committee (1998–2013),chairman of the Advisory Committee on Water to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment (2004–2013),and chairman of the Secretary-General of the United Nations’ Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (2006–2013)

He had two younger brothers: Prince Johann Friso (1968–2013) and Prince Constantijn (born in 1969). He lived with his family at the castle Drakensteyn in the hamlet Lage Vuursche near Baarn from his birth until 1981, when they moved to the larger palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague.

On January 28, 2013, Beatrix announced her intention of abdicating. On the morning of April 30, Beatrix signed the instrument of abdication at the Moseszaal (Moses Hall) at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Later that afternoon, Willem-Alexander was inaugurated as king in front of the joint assembly of the States General in a ceremony held at the Nieuwe Kerk.


As king, Willem-Alexander has weekly meetings with the prime minister and speaks regularly with ministers and state secretaries. He also signs all new Acts of Parliament and royal decrees. He represents the kingdom at home and abroad.

At the State Opening of Parliament, he delivers the Speech from the Throne, which announces the plans of the government for the parliamentary year. The Constitution requires that the king appoint, dismiss and swear in all government ministers and state secretaries. As king, he is also the chairman of the Council of State, an advisory body that reviews proposed legislation. In modern practice, the monarch seldom chairs council meetings.

At his accession at age 46, he was Europe’s youngest monarch. On the inauguration of Spain’s Felipe VI on June 19, 2014 he became, and remains, Europe’s second-youngest monarch. He is also the first male monarch of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great-grandfather Willem III in 1890.

On February 2, 2002, he married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Máxima is an Argentine woman of Basque, Portuguese and Italian ancestry, who prior to their marriage worked as an investment banker in New York City. The marriage triggered significant controversy due to the role the bride’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, had in the Argentinian military dictatorship.


The couple have three daughters:
* HRH The Princess of Orange (Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria; born December 7, 2003 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague)
* HRH Princess Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien of the Netherlands (born June 26, 2005 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague)
* HRH Princess Ariane Wilhelmina Máxima Inés of the Netherlands (born April 10, 2007 at HMC Bronovo in The Hague)

Here is the link to an earlier blog post which discusses why Willem-Alexander reigns under his double names and not as Willem IV of the Netherlands.