Every year, on the Derde Dinsdag in September (third Tuesday in September), the Queen goes before Parliament to discuss the budgetary goals for the coming year. Today was that day. It’s known as Prinsjesdag, when the Queen drives to Parliament in the Golden Carriage to deliver the speech from the throne.
Den Haag (The Hague) is where the Eerste Kamer en Tweede Kamer (First Room and Second Room, literally, but essentially the Senate and House) meet, although technically Amsterdam is the nation’s capital. It’s all a bit confusing. To add to the confusion, although the Queen presents the budget, the speech is actually written by the cabinet. Her role is purely ceremonial, although the money allotted to the royal family certainly isn’t ceremonial. As the announcement of cuts of 18 billion Euros was made today, it’s hard to see the value of a monarchy.
The speech was given at the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall) pictured above. It was built in the 13th century for Floris V, Count of Holland. Eventually, the other buildings that make up Parliament were built up around Ridderzaal, and now the area is known as the Binnenhof (inner court).
To read more about today’s troonrede (royal speech), check out Radio Netherlands Worldwide. They include a nice slideshow of photos from today. If you know Dutch, you can read the actual speech here.
The following are just a few other photos I’ve taken in the Binnenhof of some of the various Parliament buildings that essentially encircle the Ridderzaal.
Just a few words … Dodenherdenking (Remembrance Day) takes place each year on 4 May. It honors civilians and military personnel who have given their lives in service to the Netherlands since the outbreak of World War II. The flags fly at half-mast, as this one was doing today in Den Haag (The Hague). More about my visit tomorrow.
We generally watch BBC News at 6 p.m., and CNN’s International Desk at 7 p.m. to get our nightly news fix. Last night, while watching CNN, the show presenter was talking about what they would be discussing after the break. The topic was Karadzic’ trial in Den Haag (The Hague). The presenter said something along the lines of, “Up next, news from Belgium about the trial of Karadzic.”
Who knew Den Haag was in Belgium?! It turns out I’ve been to Belgium and I didn’t even know it! That’s where we bought out sideboards! I must say, though, the border crossing is not well-marked at all. 😉 Giovanni and I had to laugh about it, because we’re always half joking that the Netherlands never gets mentioned on CNN, even for the weather. So now, when they have reason to mention the country, they still manage to avoid it by saying that the International Tribunal is in Belgium. Oy! I know it was a slip of the tongue, but even worse, he didn’t even correct himself after the break.