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A royal event in The Hague
Once a year, The Hague becomes even more royal thanks to Prince’s Day, held every third Tuesday in September. Fans of the royal family line the streets to watch the King and Queen proceed in a magnificent glass carriage from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal, where the King speaks to members of the Dutch government from his stately throne.
Prince’s Day 2018 programme
The King and Queen, along with several escorts and military personnel dressed in their royal attire, will depart the palace on 18 September at 13:00 via Heulstraat, Kneuterdijk, Lange Voorhout, Lange Houtstraat and Plein to the Binnenhof. Any location along the way will offer a view of the procession, but the best place to watch is from the grandstands along the Lange Voorhout, as thousands of people will be vying for a spot. Make sure to reserve a seat at the tourist office in The Hague.
The general public isn’t privy to the goings-on inside the Ridderzaal; the 'Speech From the Throne' is reserved for the Dutch parliament and invited guests only (the waiting list is years long!), but onlookers can wait for the King and Queen to reemerge from the hall and make their way back to the palace. The highlight is the second procession, after which the famous balcony scene takes place: the royal family stands on the palace’s magnificent balcony, waving to the massive crowd below. Elsewhere on Prince’s Day there are numerous other events to attend, including the famed Prince’s Day Cabaret and the Prince’s Day Concert.
Prince’s Festival: a week of royalty
It may be called Prince’s Day, but the festivities actually go on for more than a week thanks to the Prinsjesfestival. Several events are held in the days leading up to Prince’s Day, including the very fashionable Hat Walk. The design contest on 15 September features fanciful hats designed by students and professionals and modelled for a prize. Other events include special boat rides through The Hague’s impressive canals as well as exclusive meals.
Most activities take place in the centre of The Hague, allowing visitors to easily explore the rest of the city, including the popular royal sights.
More than a celebration
Visitors usually think of Prince’s Day as a celebration of the royals, but the event is politically significant, too − it’s also known as Budget Day, and represents the opening day of the Dutch parliament. The King’s speech outlines the government’s plans for the year, which includes the budgets for various ministries. After the handing over of the Budget Memorandum – contained in a special briefcase presented by the Minister of Finance, a tradition that has been in place since 1947 – the House of Representatives can respond to the government’s plan.
Take a look at the full programme of events.