Excitement is building in the Netherlands, one day before Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will be named king. Queen Beatrix will abdicate the throne Tuesday. When Crown Prince Willem-Alexander is sworn in, he’ll become the first Dutch king in 122 years.
The transition will take place on April 30, a national holiday known as Queen’s Day — a busy holiday in any year, and especially popular in 2013. It will be renamed King’s Day during the reign of Willem-Alexander, and moved to April 27, the new king’s birthday.
In Amsterdam, the looming arrival of a new monarch is being greeted with a flood or orange, the color of the Dutch royal family, known as the house of Orange-Nassau.
“Bystanders and paparazzi were already lining up to catch a glimpse of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his family on Amsterdam’s main square as they arrived to practice for the ceremonies that are expected to draw more than a million people,” reports NPR’s Teri Schultz. “Dutch officials say that requires what they’re calling an ‘unprecedented logistical and security operation’ with many thousands of extra police. Amsterdam’s airspace is closed for three days.”
The handover of royal power has not always gone smoothly in the Netherlands. As Dutch News reports, “Queen Beatrix’ investiture in 1980 was marked by widespread riots.”
In abdicating, Queen Beatrix is following a family tradition — her mother and grandmother each abdicated the throne. Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, 45, and his wife, Princess Máxima, have three daughters. The popular incoming queen is a former investment banker who is originally from Argentina.
Royal delegations from 18 nations, from Thailand and Japan to Monaco and Norway, will be in attendance for the investiture Tuesday.