Not a president but a king

The Netherlands is a monarchy


The Netherlands is a monarchy. We have a king. Still, some people would prefer to have a president, like in the United States, because you can elect a president. And replace him or her after a few years.

Complete text

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, so our head of state is a king: King Willem-Alexander van Oranje-Nassau. Before Willem-Alexander, his mother Beatrix was queen. As her eldest son, Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother to the throne. This is because the has a hereditary monarchy. A few moments ago I abdicated the throne. I am glad and grateful to present to you your new king: King Willem-Alexander. Let us wave together. So help me, God Almighty. The monarchy of the House of Orange begins in 1815 when Willem I becomes the first Dutch king. At his inauguration he wears an ermine robe, specially made for him. And after Willem I, every next king or queen wears it at the inauguration. Just before the inauguration of Queen Juliana, a new robe was made because the original had become too threadbare. The robe is the symbol of the continuity of the monarchy. The succession of the throne is described in detail in the constitution: "The title to the throne is hereditary and shall vest in the legal heirs of King Willem I, Prince of Orange-Nassau." 

Some people in the Netherlands would prefer a president instead of a king. Because a president is chosen by the people. In the United States, for instance, they have a president. Some people believe that a chosen head of state would be better...because we are a democracy. A president can be replaced after 4 years, by elections. You are stuck to a king or queen for many more years. But if we want to change something about the position of our head of state we have to change the constitution. And there has to be a vote about that. Two-thirds of the parliament, being the Lower House and the Senate have to vote in favor of abolishing the monarchy. At the moment it's unlikely that anything will change as the royal family is very popular. Now we have Willem-Alexander as our king, but one day he also will be succeeded and then we'll have a new queen: Amalia.