The Netherlands: 10 years with Willem-Alexander

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands celebrated his tenth anniversary on the throne on King’s Day in Rotterdam on Thursday. But both his popularity and public trust in the monarchy are waning. The Dutch Court recently published a ten-part podcast in a bid to bring the royal family closer to the people, and Willem-Alexander has said he wants to "reunite" Dutch society. The press asks: can a king still do this in this day and age?

De Volkskrant (NL) /

A good person in an outdated post

The monarch is a symbol of inequality, Volkskrant columnist Bert Wagendorp points out:

“[King Willem-Alexander] said on Tuesday that he will put even more effort into reuniting the polarised country: he is a man with a good heart. But he seems not to understand that his role is one of the things that contributes to this polarisation — because the monarchy is an outdated medieval symbol of inequality and injustice, and people are increasingly sick of it.”

Bert Wagendorp
NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

The citizen king is his own enemy

Willem-Alexander’s ego marketing is risky, warns historian Daniela Hooghiemstra in NRC:

“The last decade has seen no lack of enthusiasm, ambition and entrepreneurial spirit. Neither costs nor efforts were spared in the bid to unite the free individual with this archaic institution. ... The more the king came to resemble the citizens, the louder people asked why he is king. If self-marketing has to be deployed in his defence, then the ‘connection’ [that the king so desires] could tip over into populism.”

Daniela Hooghiemstra