Prinsjesdag – Budget Day in The Netherlands

Golden-Carriage
Traditionally on the third Tuesday of September our Queen makes a tour through The Hague in her Golden Carriage. Before the two houses of Dutch Parliament, the Second Chamber or House of Representatives (150 representatives) and the Senate or First Chamber (75 senators), in a Joint Meeting, she voices the Speech of The Throne, highlighting the plans of Dutch Government for the coming Parliamentary Year and declares the new Parliamentary Year open. The Dutch Minister of Finance then presents the Budget for the next year. One could compare it with the State of The Union Address in the US or the Speech from The Throne in the UK.

This year the whole ceremony is a bit weird, because we’ve just had General Elections and tomorrow will see a completely different Second Chamber then today. Also the budget has been prepared by a government that is demissionary which means it operates but has resigned. The newly elected Parliament will (hopefully in a short time) form a new Government. Politically sensitive subjects are not handled by a demissionary Government.

The Dutch name for the day is “Prinsjesdag” or Day of the princes, as it is customary the childs of the king (or queen) sit in on the ceremony next to the Queen. In recent years only Crown Prince Willem Alexander sits in.

Here you see the Golden Carriage leaving the Ridderzaal at the “Binnenhof” were Our houses of Parliament have their seat. Photo via Wikimedia by Dutch Ministry of Defense (R J Essink).

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