The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy: the position of the monarch is laid down in the Constitution. The monarch is the Dutch head of state and, together with the ministers, makes up the government. Queen Beatrix has been the head of state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1980.
- Position and role of the monarch (King or Queen) as head of state The monarch and the ministers together make up the Government. The monarch is the head of state and as such has to carry out a number of official tasks.
- Blood relatives of the reigning monarch to the third degree of consanguinity, (i.e. not including spouses) are in the line of succession to the throne. Succession to the throne is regulated by the Constitution.
- In the Netherlands, a distinction is made between the royal family and the Royal House. The royal family is the family of Orange-Nassau.
- In the Netherlands, Monarchs are not crowned but invested as heads of state. A new monarch assumes the royal prerogative as soon as his or her predecessor dies or abdicates. The Constitution stipulates that the new monarch must be sworn in and invested as soon as possible.
- On Koninginnedag, 30 April, (in 2006 on Saturday 29 April) the Netherlands celebrates the Queen’s official birthday. Street parties and other events are held all around the country, often organised by local “Orange associations”.
- The national coat of arms is the same as the Queen’s coat of arms, with one difference. The royal coat of arms is placed on a mantle of ermine surmounted by a crown. The royal standard has existed since 1908.