Every third Tuesday in September is an important day in Dutch politics. On that day called Prinsjesdag the new political year is opened with many ceremonial events.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands starts the Third Tuesday in September with a tour in her golden carriage (in Dutch Gouden Koets) through the city center of The Hague. During the tour she is accompanied by her son Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima. The tour ends at the Binnenhof, a courtyard between the government buildings. In the Ridderzaal, a historic hall, the Queen reads the speech from the throne. The speech from the throne is held in the presence of all members of the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer) and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer), all the ministers and state secretaries as well as other important people in Dutch society. The speech is about the political and socio-economical plans for the next year. After the speech from the throne, the Queen returns to her working palace Paleis Noordeinde where she and other members of the royal family appear at the balcony to wave to the public.
After the speech from the throne, the Miljoenennota is presented. The Miljoenennota is the national budget for the next year. The presentation of this document also happens according to a certain tradition. The Minister of Finance brings the Miljoenennota in a small suitcase in the Parliament. On the suitcase is written “Derde Dinsdag in September” (third Tuesday of September). General deliberations (Algemene Beschouwingen) in the House of Representatives follow the presentation. During this debate, all members may criticize and comment the new plans of the government.
Hats and dresses
Every year, Prinsjesdag is a great happening. The whole day is broadcasted life on Dutch television. The media and the political world are mainly interested in the economical plans for the future. The public is mainly interested in the dress of the Queen and the hats of all female politicians. Since our Queen always wears a hat during official events, female politicians started to wear hats too, from the late seventies onwards. Most of the politicians choose a hat which matches their outfits, but some of them use the hat as a possibility to make a political statement.
If you would like to see more about Prinsjesdag, watch this informative Dutch animation: