Speech by the Prime Minister

29 januari 2013

28 January 2013

Queen Beatrix has just announced her abdication. At this special moment for the Queen and for our country, I first want to express my deep respect and admiration. Respect and admiration for the exceptional dedication that the Queen has shown to the Netherlands and its people for over 30 years. Since her investiture in 1980, she has worked with heart and soul for Dutch society. Visibly and steadfastly and with tremendous energy. That is why the speech she has just delivered evokes feelings of great warmth and gratitude throughout the Kingdom. And in this I include myself and other members of the government.

We will shortly bid farewell to a Queen at the heart of society. For Queen Beatrix was always there. On festive occasions, at celebrations of sporting successes and at major cultural events. But notably she was also there in difficult times. For example, when tragedy struck in the Bijlmermeer, in Enschede, and of course on Queen's Day in 2009. Her moving words immediately after the awful attack in Apeldoorn are forever engraved in our collective memory.

Anyone who has seen or met the Queen in person will agree that, with her knowledge and experience and her intense interest and commitment, she touches and helps people. In other countries, too, she made a deep impression on numerous official occasions. As a result, our Queen has grown into a Dutch icon. She has always taken her tasks extremely seriously, even in difficult circumstances. Including the years in which she has had to do without the support of Prince Claus. And after the terrible accident that befell her son Prince Friso. This makes our appreciation for the Queen's tireless dedication all the greater.

Naturally, our thoughts today are also with Prince Willem-Alexander, who will succeed his mother after years of intense preparation. An important and demanding task awaits him. As the Prince himself said on the occasion of his 40th birthday: the monarchy should unite and encourage people, and also represent the Netherlands abroad. I am confident that the Prince and Princess will fulfil their new tasks and roles as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima with great success. In the best tradition of Queen Beatrix and generations of the House of Orange before her.

The abdication and investiture will take place on 30 April. Let us make it an unforgettable celebration throughout the Kingdom, with due regard for the constraints imposed by these difficult times. A celebration that gives expression to the way we feel today. To the close connection we feel with the House of Orange and our deep affection for a monarch who has worked for the Netherlands with ceaseless devotion for over three decades.