The third Tuesday in September, Prinsjesdag. For us in The Hague this means for the children: an extra free (mid) day! Especially for looking at 'de Gouden koets'. I can still remember that I went to the Binnenhof with my father and a friend. My parents thought that you as a 'Hagenaar' had to look at this at least once in your life. So there I sat in the gallery at the Binnenhof, together with a girlfriend. My father was a bit further, he had arranged a press card. He stood with his small film camera between 'the big boys'. Really so funny. But regardless of the day off for Hague children and the splendor of the Golden Coach, what does Prinsjesdag really mean?
Prinsjesdag has been around for a long time. In the 17th and 18th century when the princes of Orange celebrated it was called Prinsjesdag. The first Prinsjesdag, as we know it today, took place on May 2, 1814. Also that Tuesday the King spoke in the presence of the parliament, the speech of the throne. Until the constitutional revision of 1848, the content of the throne speech was officially a matter for the King; after 1848, ministers determined what the King should tell.
No more party
Where once was celebrated during Prinsjesdag because the princes of Orange were celebrating, Prinsjesdag is no longer a (real) holiday. However, it is an important day for politics and therefore for all of us. Prinsjesdag is celebrated on different days. There have been Prinsjesdagen on the first Monday in November. Then years on the third Monday in October. But because of the treatment time of the budget, the Chamber wanted more time to be able to handle the budget, the Monday turned out not to be a convenient day (due to travel time of the MPs) so finally the third Tuesday of September was chosen. And that is still it today.
Today the 18 th of September, the Glass Coach will travel through The Hague from the Royal Stables to Paleis Noordeinde to pick up the royal couple and after that the Glazen Koets will continue to the Binnenhof. For 2015 this trip was driven with the Gouden Koets. However, the Gouden Koets is in restoration. It is said that in 2022 it should be ready for use again, but there are quite a few people who question it and assume that the Golden Coach never returns on this day because he would not fit in this time anymore. Partly because of the illustrations (slave panels) that are processed on the side of the carriage.
At the beginning of the afternoon the speech of the Torah is read by our King to the States General. The speech of the throne is about things that have happened last year, and plans and measures are being announced in the area of legislation. Sometimes quite boring. As soon as the speech of the throne has been read, the chairman of the United Assembly calls "Long live the King", after which all those present three times Hurray! call. And then of course there is the case too! Let's not forget that too.
The famous suitcase
The case contains the million memorandum, the national budget, the tax plan and a bill on other tax measures. All secret pieces. It is utopia to think that everything fits in the case, often it is on a CD. And secret, no, that time has been. Every year, everything leaks out again. Consciously or unconsciously, there is little secret. The State Secretary for Finance offers the case to the chairman of the Lower House after the throne speech. And the Royal couple leaves again.
The Friday before Prinsjesdag there is the so-called Kleine Prinsjesdag. This is something that is organized by Unicef. The Unicef Children's Rights Debate Tournament that is held earlier in the year. Then there is also a King or Queen of the youth proclaimed who can read their own speech of speech. In the Ridderzaal there are invitees, some ministers and the final of the debate tournament. Children enter into mutual debate with ministers. Nice to involve children in such things at an early age.
Nice things to talk about
The speech of the throne and the suitcase are pretty boring, but there are a few things that make Prinsjesdag fun. For example, the hat parade. Since 1977, the then member of parliament Erica Terpstra started this. It was a tribute to the then Queen Beatrix, now Princess Beatrix. This because of the fact that she felt that everyone looked dull. In the years that followed, more female ministers and invited guests wore a hat. Everything is a matter of taste, because there are hats from 'foeilelijk' to 'beautiful'! Besides the fact that the hats are fun to look at, you can also comment on them. In the year that I sat in the stands, there was a hat parade. Chances are that I went exactly that year when Erica Terpstra wore her first hat. I realize that this is quite a long time ago.
Guard of honor
What was then - and still is - was the guard of honor. I can remember that well and do you know why? They had to remain very still, but at a certain moment a roll of peppermint was secretly passed on, where every watch - with the hands on his back - a peppermint was removed and the roll passed to the next in row. My father has filmed this, so funny.
And let us not forget the balcony scene at Paleis Noordeinde, where you can swap our King and Queen. Ah, with so much fun, you just take that million note for granted.