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Copyright: RVD/Erwin Olaf




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Noordeinde 68
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The Netherlands

The Netherlands

uploaded: 1 January 2013 / last modified: 2 January 2014

The country

The state is known as Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in its national language. This means the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The country is reigned by the Oranje-Nassau (Orange-Nassau) dynasty.


The current sovereign is Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, King of the Netherlands. He was born at the Academic Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands, on 27 April 1967.

He is the son of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands (born 1938) and her husband Claus von Amsberg (1926-2002), who was known as Prince Claus of the Netherlands.

Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother after her abdication on 30 April 2013.

The inauguration took place at the New Church in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 30 April 2013.

The King's motto is Je Maintiendrai, which means I shall maintain.

The King is Dutch Reformed.

Marriage and descendants

King Willem-Alexander is married to Máxima Zorreguieta (born 1971) since 2002.

The couple has three daughters, Catharina-Amalia (born 2003), Princess Alexia (born 2005) and Princess Ariane (born 2007).

Heir to the throne

The heir to the throne is Princess Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau. She was born at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague, The Netherlands, on 7 December 2003.

Upon the accession to the throne of her father on 30 April 2013 she received the title Princess of Orange.


The title to the Throne shall be hereditary and shall vest in the legitimate descendants of King Willem I, Prince of Orange-Nassau. On the death of the monarch, the title to the Throne shall pass by hereditary succession to the monarch’s legitimate descendants in order of seniority, the same rule governing succession by the issue of descendants who predecease the monarch. If the monarch has no descendants, the title to the throne shall pass in the same way to the legitimate descendants of the monarch’s parent and then of his grandparent who are in the line of succession but are not further removed from the deceased monarch than the third degree of consanguinity. For the purposes of hereditary succession, the child of a woman pregnant at the moment of the death of the King shall be deemed already born. If it is stillborn it shall be deemed to have never existed. Hereditary succession to the throne in the event of abdication shall take place according to the rules set above. Children born after an abdication and their descendants shall be excluded from the hereditary succession. The monarch shall be deemed to have abdicated if he contracts a marriage without having obtained consent by Act of Parliament. Anyone in line of succession to the throne who contracts such a marriage shall be excluded from the hereditary succession, together with any children born of the marriage and their issue. The two Houses of the States General (Parliament) shall meet to consider and decide upon a Bill for granting such consent in joint session. A successor to the throne may be appointed by Act of Parliament if it appears that there will otherwise be no successor. The Bill shall be presented by or on behalf of the monarch, upon which the Houses shall be dissolved. The newly convened Houses shall discuss and decide upon the matter in joint session. Such a Bill shall be passed only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favour. The Houses shall be dissolved if there is no successor on the death or abdication of the monarch. The newly convened Houses shall meet in joint session within four months of the decease or abdication in order to decide on the appointment of a monarch. They may appoint a successor only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favour.

Upon assuming the royal prerogative the monarch shall be sworn in and inaugurated as soon as possible in the capital city, Amsterdam, at a public and joint session of the two Houses of the States General. The monarch shall swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that he will faithfully discharge his duties. Specific rules shall be laid down by Act of Parliament. The monarch shall not exercise the royal prerogative before attaining the age of eighteen. Parental responsibility for and guardianship of a monarch who is a minor, and the supervision thereof, shall be regulated by Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall meet in joint session to consider and decide upon the matter. If the Cabinet is of the opinion that the monarch is unable to exercise the royal prerogative it shall inform the two Houses of the States General accordingly and shall also present to them the recommendation it has requested from the Council of State. The two Houses of the States General shall then meet in joint session. If the two Houses of the States General share this opinion, they shall then resolve that the monarch is unable to exercise the royal prerogative. This resolution shall be made public on the instructions of the Speaker presiding over the joint session and shall enter into force immediately. Guardianship over his person shall be regulated by Act of Parliament. As soon as the monarch regains the ability to exercise the royal prerogative, notice of the fact shall be given in an Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session. The monarch shall resume the exercise of the royal prerogative as soon as the Act has been made public. The royal prerogative shall be exercised by a Regent until the monarch has attained the age of eighteen, if the title to the throne may vest in an unborn child, if it has been resolved that the monarch is unable to exercise the royal prerogative, if the monarch has temporarily relinquished the exercise of the royal prerogative, or in the absence of a successor following the death or abdication of the monarch. The Regent shall be appointed by Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.


The King, Majesty, is King of the Netherlands, Prince of Oranje-Nassau, jonkheer van Amsberg, etc, etc. Etc, etc. stands for Duke of Limburg, Marquess of Veere and Vlissingen, Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam and Culemborg, Viscount of Antwerpen, Baron of Breda, Diest, Herstal, IJsselstein, Eindhoven, Cranendonck, the town of Grave and the lands of Cuyk, Liesveld, Beilstein, Warneton, Arlay and Nozeroy, Suzerain and lord of Ameland, Lord of Polanen, Geertruidenberg, Niervaart, Klundert, Naaldwijk, Bredevoort, Borculo, Lichtenvoorde, Baarn, Soest, Ter Eem, Het Loo, Hooge and Lage Zwaluwe, Steenbergen, St.Maartensdijk, Willemstad, Montfort, Sankt Vith, Bütgenbach, Daasburg, Besançon, Turnhout and Zevenbergen. Queen Juliana also was Duchess of Mecklenburg. The daughters of Queen Juliana are Royal Highness, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Oranje-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The daughters of King Willem-Alexander are Royal Highness, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Oranje- Nassau. On February 17th 1983 the title of Crown Prince was struck off the Constitution. The heir to the throne is Prince(ss) of the Netherlands, Prince(ss) of Oranje. The sons of Queen Beatrix are Royal Highness, Prince of the Netherlands, Prince of Oranje-Nassau, jonkheer van Amsberg. Prince Friso lost the title Prince of the Netherlands after his marriage, but kept his other titles. The children of Prince Friso and Princess Mabel, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien are Count(ess) van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkheer (Jonkvrouwe) van Amsberg. Their family name is Van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg. The sons of Princess Margriet are Highness, Prince of Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven. The children of Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène bear the surname Van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven. The children of Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita, Prince Floris and Princess Aimée have the surname Van Vollenhoven.

Royal residences

King Willem-Alexander and his family presently continue living at Villa De Eikenhorst in Wassenaar, where they live since July 2003. In the near future they will move to Palace Huis ten Bosch at The Hague, at the moment the residence of Princess Beatrix. The King's office is at the Palace Noordeinde at The Hague. Both palaces are owned by the state. The King also uses the state owned Royal Palace in Amsterdam for official occasions. Princess Beatrix is the owner of Drakensteyn Castle in Lage Vuursche, to which place she will move in the near future. Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven live at Huis Het Loo in Apeldoorn, where they also have their office.

The Royal Palace in Amsterdam can be visited most of the year, but better check their website beforehand. For a visit to the Royal House Archive and the Royal Stables near Palace Noordeinde an appointment has to be made. Palace Soestdijk until 2004 the residence of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, is open to the public at the moment until some time in 2014 Tickets have to be bought online. The former residence Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn is a national museum nowadays and can be visited throughout the year.


The first known ancestors of the royal family of the Netherlands are the Laurenburgs, later called the counts of Nassau. In 1255 the brothers Otto I and Walram II of Nassau divided the county in two parts. The grandduchal family of Luxemburg descends from Count Walram II, the Dutch royal family from Otto I. One of the most famous persons in the family before they became Kings of the Netherlands, was Willem Prince of Orange Count of Nassau (1533-1584). He and his sons Maurits and Frederik Hendrik played a very important part in the completion of the Republic of the United Netherlands. The war against the Spanish Habsburgs began in 1568 and finally reached his end with the Münster Peace Treaty in 1648. Until 1795 the Nassau family served the Republic as stadtholders. In 1689 stadtholder Prince Willem III of Orange became King of Great Britain after his wife Mary II Stuart was chosen as Queen of Great Britain. In 1795 the last stadtholder Prince Willem V fled to England and the Netherlands became a part of the French Republic and later the French Empire of Napoleon. Between 1806 and 1810 Louis Napoleon, a brother of the Emperor Napoleon, was the first King of Holland.

In 1813 the son of the last stadtholder was chosen as sovereign. At the Congress of Vienna the Kingdom of the Netherlands was drafted and in 1815 this sovereign became King Willem I. His Kingdom also enclosed the later Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. In the battle of Waterloo in 1815 the new crown prince Willem played a quite important part. Afterwards it gave him the nickname Hero of Waterloo, and the Russian czar offered him his sister Anna Pavlovna as his bride. Belgium became independent after a revolt in 1830, but the Netherlands didn't recognize the new kingdom until 1839. King Willem I abdicated in 1840 and died in Berlin in 1843. The new king was Willem II who already died in 1849. In 1848 he had to accept a new liberal constitution. He was followed by King Willem III. From his first marriage to Sophie Duchess of Württemberg he had three sons: Willem (1840-1879), Maurits (1843-1850) and Alexander (1851-1884). After the death of Sophie he married Emma Princess of Waldeck and Pyrmont. In 1880 their daughter Wilhelmina was born. When her father died in 1890 she was the only Nassau left. Her mother Emma became the Queen-Regent in the Netherlands. The Grand Duchy of Luxemburg could only be inherited by a male Nassau and the new Grand Duke was Prince Adolph of Nassau, descendant of Walram II.

In 1898 Queen Wilhelmina ascended the throne. In 1901 she married Hendrik Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. They only got one daughter Juliana, who was born in 1909. In 1937 Juliana married Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld and before the war they got two daughters: Beatrix (1938) and Irene (which means peace; 1939). In May 1940 the whole family fled to England. Princess Juliana and her children spent the rest of World War II in Canada, where in 1943 the third daughter Margriet was born. From England Queen Wilhelmina inspired the resistance in the Netherlands. In 1948, three years after the end of WW II, Queen Wilhelmina abdicated. She died in 1962. Her daughter Juliana became the next Queen. In 1947 she had given birth to her last daughter Marijke (later called Christina). In 1975 the colony of Surinam became an independent country. In 1980, after some years of speculation by the media, she abdicated in favour of her eldest daughter Beatrix. Queen Beatrix married Claus von Amsberg in 1966, and one year later the first Dutch Prince since 116 years was born: Willem-Alexander (after his mother became the Queen he was known as the Prince of Orange). He was followed by his younger brothers Johan Friso (1968) and Constantijn (1969). On 30 April 2013 King Willem-Alexander became the first King of the Netherlands since November 1890.

The Kings and Queens of The Netherlands

Willem I (1772-1843) 1813/15-1840
Willem II (1792-1849) 1840-1849
Willem III (1817-1890) 1849-1890
Emma (1858-1934) (regent) 1890-1898
Wilhelmina (1880-1962) 1890/98-1948
Juliana (1909-2004) 1948-1980
Beatrix (1938- ) 1980-2013
Willem-Alexander (1967- ) 2013-

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