After two unusual editions during the corona pandemic, Prinsjesdag is once again different from normal this year. Due to the renovation of the Binnenhof, the Ridderzaal is not available for the joint meeting of the States General. In 2020 and 2021, it had to move to the Grote Kerk in The Hague, this time King Willem-Alexander will deliver the speech from the throne in the Koninklijke Schouwburg.

    The theatre, built as a palace in 1766 by order of a brother-in-law of Stadholder William V, has been transformed into one large, ground-floor space with space for eight hundred guests. In the past two years, the strict corona measures prevented a full occupation.

    According to Jan Anthonie Bruijn, who as chairman of the Senate is responsible for organizing the joint meeting, several alternative locations were looked at, but they turned out to be either too small (Kloosterkerk), too far away from the route (the new theater Amare) or not suitable for large-scale evacuation in case of calamities (Grote Kerk).

    For the first time, Princess Amalia will be present; just like her father was in 1985, the year in which he turned 18. Amalia will not sit next to the throne – grandmother Beatrix still did as a young princess – but in the front row of dignitaries, next to Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien.

    One other tradition is being broken for the time being. During the ride from Noordeinde Palace and the theater – and vice versa – the king and queen will not take a seat in the Golden Coach, but in the Glass Coach. The recently renovated carriage is such a subject of social debate that the king does not consider it appropriate to use it any longer. A historical colonial scene has been painted on one of the side panels, in which residents of Suriname, the Antilles and the Dutch East Indies offer gifts to ‘the white Dutch virgin’. Willem-Alexander said at the beginning of this year that he understood “the differing feelings of everyone”. “The Gouden Koets will only be able to drive again when the Netherlands is ready. And that is not the case now.”

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