Queen Máxima, the Princess of Orange, Princess Alexia, Prince Constantjin and Princess Laurentien joined King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands as he gave the annual Prinsjesdag (Prince’s Day or Budget Day) Speech to the Dutch Parliament to outline the government’s agenda for the coming session on September 20th in The Hague. The annual ceremony is held on the third Tuesday of every September.
The Royal Family rode in the Glass Coach from the Noordeinde Palace to the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague, instead of the usual Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights).
The King and Queen were welcomed by military honours before making their way to the Throne, where the King Willem-Alexander delivered his annual Budget Speech to the Parliament, outlining the government’s agenda for the coming session.
The Dutch Royal Family appear on the Balcony of Noordeinde Palace after the King’s annual Prinsjesdag Speech to the Dutch Parliament at the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague!— The Royal Watcher (@saadsalman719) September 19, 2023
The Dutch Royal Family appear on the Balcony of Noordeinde Palace after the King’s annual Prinsjesdag Speech to the Dutch Parliament at the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague!
Afterwards, the Royal Family returned to the Noordeinde Palace, where they appeared on the Palace Balcony to wave to the assembled crowds.
King Willem-Alexander wore Morning Dress with the miniature pin of the Military William Order, the highest honour of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Queen Maxima wore a Claes Iversen Coat with Tanzanite Earrings and the Sash and Star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, her highest Dutch honour.
The Princess of Orange wore a Safiyaa Gown with Queen Maxima’s Tanzanite Earrings and the Sash and Star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Princess Alexia wore Zhivago with Diamond Earrings, one of Queen Máxima’s Diamond Swirl Brooches, and the Sash and Star of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Prince Constantijn wore Morning Dress with the miniature pin of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. Princess Laurentien wore a green gown with her Sash and Star of the Order of the House of Orange, her highest Dutch honour.
The King’s Speech:
Members of the States General,
Ten years ago I was allowed to deliver the Speech from the Throne for the first time in your midst. Ten years that I look back on with gratitude. Some events were poignant and raw with sadness, such as the attack on flight MH17. At other times, emotion went hand in hand with healing and connection, such as this year on July 1, during the commemoration of the abolition of slavery. Of course I think of the corona period, which had such a profound impact on everyone’s personal lives. And of course I think of the war in Ukraine. It is moments and events like this that will forever remain part of our history and that are etched in your and my memory.
In addition, there were the hundreds of heart-warming visits I was able to make throughout the Kingdom in these first ten years, with thousands of inspiring encounters. They made an unforgettable impression on me. Time and again, the Netherlands appears to be a country of enterprising and initiative-rich people who want to do good for and with each other, in connection with their neighbors, village, city, association or region. It is the same deep connection that I felt again during my last visit to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. I am firmly convinced that the social fabric of our society deserves protection. There is a great unifying force in everything that people achieve together in the small, the everyday, the ordinary. Connection is created where people come together. That is not self-evident,
Anyone who looks at Dutch society from the outside sees at first glance an attractive country with good facilities and a strong economy, embedded in powerful international structures that protect and bring prosperity. But behind that positive image lies the permanent task to continue working on equality of opportunity, social security and prospects. Not everyone takes a decent house, good health and a safe home situation for granted. Not every child gets the same opportunities for a good future and not every resident of our country feels heard and seen. There is still discrimination and racist exclusion in society. That is also why the processing of the history of slavery will remain high on the agenda throughout the Kingdom, especially after this commemoration year.
The outgoing status of the cabinet inevitably means restraint in making new proposals. The state of government finances and rising interest costs also force greater financial caution than in recent years. There are topics that require decisiveness in any case: the poverty issue, the recovery for benefit parents, the handling of the earthquake damage in Groningen, MH17 and support to Ukraine. In addition, the outgoing cabinet and the parliament share the responsibility to continue working on the other policy areas that affect us all, such as the construction of sufficient housing and good education. You can count on the government being prepared to do what is in the national interest, of course in good consultation and close coordination with you.
This means, first of all, that the government is taking approximately 2 billion euros in purchasing power measures to ensure that poverty does not increase. To prevent families with the lowest incomes from lagging behind in purchasing power in 2024, the housing allowance will increase. To combat child poverty, the child-related budget will be increased. The Energy Emergency Fund will also be extended, so that people who can no longer pay their energy bills have a safety net. In addition, the employment tax credit will be increased next year, so that working pays more. Extra money will be made available for the Caribbean Netherlands to combat poverty.
The cabinet’s outgoing status should also not cause any delays in the handling of the benefits affair and the earthquake damage in Groningen. The government is doing everything it can to restore the suffering caused to people and families as effectively and as quickly as possible. In the benefits file, parents are given more control and more choices, so that they can move on with their lives more quickly. The residents of the earthquake area can count on that the agenda of damage repair and reinforcement, social measures and economic perspective will be implemented in good consultation.
Russia’s brutal violence against the Ukrainian people in its illegal war of aggression against a sovereign neighboring country shows that achievements that seemed certain to us for decades are not. A battle is raging on Europe’s eastern border for fundamental democratic and rule of law values. This battle also affects our own safety and future. Many Dutch people feel and show themselves involved with the Ukrainians. The support for support for Ukraine remains as high as ever. And that is important, because the longer this war goes on, the more urgent humanitarian, military and financial assistance to Ukraine is needed. The Dutch government, in close cooperation with EU and NATO allies, continues to do everything possible to ensure that Russian aggression stops and Ukrainians can live in peace and freedom again. The Netherlands is home to the International Criminal Court and therefore feels a special responsibility for preparing for the trial of war crimes. Due to the great importance of a strong NATO and a strong defense apparatus, the government will continue with the planned additional investments in the armed forces. Our support and thanks go out to our soldiers who work on peace and security worldwide.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has shown that unity and geopolitical influence are an extension of each other. In a world of increasing threats and power politics, strengthened international cooperation is of great importance, both within the EU and with other like-minded countries, such as the United States. The Netherlands supports the principle of ‘open strategic autonomy’. Europe must become less dependent on Russia, China and other countries. This applies, among other things, to energy, raw materials and medicines. That is as much a security issue as an economic issue.
The government is also working on economic resilience and reducing unwanted strategic dependencies in international trade policy. In the field of development cooperation, we focus on the root causes of poverty, terror, irregular migration and climate change. This not only contributes to achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, but also to stability and prosperity in the world.
Democracy, freedom and the rule of law are under pressure worldwide. Not only far away, but also on our own continent. It is all the more important that we cherish, protect and strengthen our own democratic constitutional state. It is unacceptable that organized crime undermines our society and infiltrates our streets, neighborhoods and businesses. Threats to journalists, lawyers, politicians and other guardians of the democratic constitutional state, from any angle, are unacceptable. This requires a continuous commitment to safety. For example, by stricter supervision of people in detention.
Maintaining democracy is not the responsibility of the government alone. It demands something from all of us. Democracy is much more than voting – it’s an attitude. It is the willingness to listen, to understand other points of view and to carefully weigh up interests. If differences of opinion harden into irreconcilable contradictions, this inevitably affects confidence in our democratic institutions, and thus the social fabric that holds us together as a society. And it is precisely in ordinary daily life – at schools, in companies, in churches and mosques, in sports clubs and in families – that differences are bridged and mutual trust and a shared future perspective are created.
A good example of the way in which the government wants to stimulate that power from below is through culture. Culture confronts, inspires and bridges contradictions. From festival grounds to concert halls, and from museums to music schools. That is why the government continues to encourage people to enjoy culture, for example with the Culture Card for young people. The government also wants to restore the public library to as many places as possible, as a place where people can read, learn and meet each other.
Equality of opportunity, security of existence and offering perspective to people form the core of the ambition with which this government has set to work – in good cooperation with municipalities, provinces and water boards. Public services are where people often encounter government for the first time. There, at the government counter, trust must be created. It is therefore crucial to involve implementing organizations earlier in the creation of new policy, to give space to professionals in implementation, and to pay more attention to the feasibility and consequences of legislation and regulations.
Work continues in many policy areas, even now that the cabinet is outgoing. For example, important choices have to be made in the field of migration and integration and their effects on our society, for example about work and study migration. With regard to asylum, sufficient shelter will be needed in the coming period. Moreover, negotiations on the Common European Asylum System are not at a standstill, nor are the discussions within the EU about making the influx manageable.
A secure existence with equal opportunities depends on good education. Education policy pays a lot of attention to language and arithmetic and to greater appreciation of secondary vocational education, where the professionals of the future are trained. The reintroduction of the basic grant is a fact. The most vulnerable students receive support, with extra activities outside the classroom and a free healthy meal at school. The government continues to focus on tackling the teacher shortage, including by promoting regional cooperation between schools, teacher training colleges and municipalities. The government supports young researchers and teachers and encourages both practice-oriented and scientific research at colleges and universities.
Digitalization and artificial intelligence lead to new opportunities and risks in the areas of work, healthcare, education and the economy. The government is taking steps to ensure that everyone can participate safely and securely, including by helping people acquire digital skills.
More extreme weather conditions and high energy prices underline the importance of an ambitious climate policy that is based on broad social support. During this cabinet period, a change has been initiated, with subsidy schemes for insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and other measures to help citizens and companies make sustainable choices. Especially with a view to business, we are taking steps to rapidly increase the capacity of the electricity grid and stimulate the transition to more flexible and distributed use.
It is clear from the outset that the nitrogen and nature policy must go hand in hand with future prospects and clarity for agriculture. Especially for young farmers who want to build a sustainable future. The government will release money for them next year to support business succession. The organic sector also receives extra support. The government remains committed to progress on the nitrogen dossier, knowing that otherwise the problem will only get worse, with all the consequences for nature, but also for housing and road construction. It is therefore positive that the provinces have presented their area plans for nitrogen reduction, and that several hundred companies that emit a lot of nitrogen near vulnerable nature are considering participating in a buyout scheme.
In the field of public housing and spatial planning, the government is taking the lead in working with governments, builders and corporations to build more affordable homes. By making construction agreements in each region, designating additional locations and providing financial support. The government is also working on better protection of tenants by regulating the average rent. This is very important for all those police officers, teachers, nurses and others with a salary around average. After all, a good, affordable home – in the purchase or rental sector – is one of the basic conditions for social security.
The government is working on a new Spatial Policy Document, which focuses on the future organization of our country. This includes the balance between agriculture, fishing and nature, space for a sustainable energy supply, circular economy, new urban development and vital countryside. Spatial issues in our country are always linked to water and mobility. Topics that will continue to require urgent attention in the coming period include clarity about the future of Schiphol, the maintenance of our infrastructure and improvement of water quality.
An extensive package of measures for the labor market has been developed together with employers and employees and is now being implemented. It is important that as many people as possible have the opportunity to find a job, for their personal development, but also because our country needs everyone. More permanent jobs, combating discrimination and better working conditions for migrant workers provide more security to vulnerable employees. Because the labor market is changing, it is important that workers continue to develop during their careers. The government supports this through the National Growth Fund and with schemes aimed, for example, at learning and development in SMEs. The Future of Pensions Act, which came into effect on July 1, has taken a major step towards a more future-proof pension. Pension providers,
The foundation for our prosperity is laid every day by innovative Dutch businesses, from family businesses to multinationals and from farms to Brainport Eindhoven. Earning always comes before distributing. It is the entrepreneurs who provide the financial resources to tackle major social issues. The government continues to strive for the most attractive business climate possible, taking into account the problems that entrepreneurs face, such as the tight labor market. In addition, the government continues to work on strengthening our innovative power and competitive position, and on a predictable and stable fiscal policy. The government is working together with the autonomous countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten to build a future-proof economy and high-quality governance.
The recently concluded healthcare agreements have laid the foundation for keeping healthcare good, accessible and affordable for generations to come. This will better connect curative care and long-term care. With special attention to more regional cooperation between general practitioners, community nurses, hospitals, municipalities and other parties. The government is working on more independent living facilities and good care nearby for the elderly. Informal caregivers are invaluable and therefore they must be supported, for example by improving cooperation and knowledge transfer with professional caregivers. The National Prevention Agreement contributes to ensuring that Dutch people can live healthier lives, with one of the important goals being a smoke-free generation by 2040.
The government is also continuing to work with involved parties on reforms in youth care, so that vulnerable children and families can be helped faster and better. We see that young people are increasingly struggling with mental problems, such as sadness and loneliness. The government is therefore working together with young people on solutions to deal with this, for example by making the subject more open to discussion and paying attention to performance pressure at schools and universities. A young generation that can grow up healthy and happy is a strong foundation for the society of tomorrow.
Members of the States General,
In the coming months, the Netherlands will once again choose a direction for the future. There is a major task for everyone who has political or administrative responsibility to offer people stability and hope in a time of great change. This way we can continue to build the social fabric of our country. The government, in collaboration with you, will do everything possible to work towards solving the problems facing our country. You may feel supported in your important work by the realization that many wish you wisdom and pray with me for strength and God’s blessing for you.