It seems to be the year of the Queen Juliana exhibitions in the Netherlands. After having visited Juliana – A Life in Dolls at the Borg Verhildersum in Leens on 30 April, there is another Juliana-exhibition on my to-do list this year. From Saturday 15 October 2022 to 10 April 2023 the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam presents “De eeuw van Juliana, een koningin en haar idealen” (The century of Juliana, a queen and her ideals). According to the church the exhibition will be a biography about Juliana, in which the roaring twentieth century, her person and her ideals will be the focus. The Royal Collections will give hundreds of items on loan.
But there will also be stories and memories people have of her. At the moment a really lovely Juliana-bus is touring the country – of course in the colours of the Dutch flag red-white-blue. Already on 28 April the van could be found in front of De Nieuwe Kerk and the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. From 12 to 23 May the van visits nearly all 12 Dutch provinces (for the route see here) to collect these stories and memories on camera. The van will also visit places that have well-known or less well-known links with Juliana, including squares, streets and schools that were named after her. I heard they have already collected a lot of stories.
As you can see I managed to catch the bus in Groningen on Tuesday. After an email to the church I just discovered in time. The blue van itself is an absolute eye-catcher with its red-white-blue ribbons and a wonderful official portrait of Queen Juliana herself. And the title of the exhibition and the text on the van are big enough to be read by many people on its rides over the Dutch roads. To my joy they didn’t mind posing in front of diner-café Soestdijk, not unknown by some royal descendants, and of course named after Juliana’s long-time residence Palace Soestdijk. You might well manage to find my tiny story in church or online at the time of the exhibition, as I unexpectedly was asked to do a short video. Such a pity that I only saw Juliana in person once in my life, at the wedding of her grandson Prince Maurits in April 1998.
If you’ve missed the bus and want to share a story or anecdote about Queen Juliana, it is possible to email the church at [email protected] until 1 July 2022. If you want to know how, have a look here (scroll down).