A kingdom for a bicycle

It is a historic day in the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix announced she will abdicate in favour of her son after a 33 year reign. This is in line with Dutch tradition, the Netherlands does not have a tradition that the monarch rules until death. So on April 30th 2013, the Netherlands will have a new head of state: King Willem-Alexander.

Queen Beatrix
Queen Beatrix on a bicycle

It was also announced that Queen’s Day, so far celebrated on April 30th, the birthday of the mother of Queen Beatrix, will from 2014 on be celebrated on the new King’s actual birthday, April 27th, and from then on be called King’s day. This was very unexpected and that will take some getting used to! No more Queen’s Day Cycling!

Dutch Royal Family 2012
The Dutch Royal Family in 2012. Prince, to be King Willem-Alexander, Princess, to be Queen Máxima and their three daughters, Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.

But some things will not change! The members of the Dutch royal family have long been on bicycles and we can expect them to be cycling for a very long time to come. Because the Netherlands is a kingdom for a bicycle!

Dutch Royal Family 1970s
The Dutch Royal Family 1980s
Dutch royal family 1940s
Dutch Royal Family 1950s
Dutch Royal Family 1930s
Dutch Royal Family 1930s
Queen Wilhelmina
Queen Wilhelmina reigned from 1898-1948.
Queen Juliana
Queen Juliana reigned from 1948-1980.
Statue Queen Beatrix
Statue of Queen Beatrix on a bicycle, who’s reign will be from 1980-2013.
Willem-Alexander on a bicycle. His reign will start on 30th April 2013.
Princesses on bicycles
The cycling future of the Dutch royals seems secure: the young princesses on their bicycles.

30 thoughts on “A kingdom for a bicycle

  1. Isn’t that great. What a lovely tradition, biking monarchs, biking subjects. One little correction to be made: last photo, of Crown Prince shown biking on April 30, year________?, but not yet 2013.

      1. I see. Ok. It’s still a little confusing to me, but it matters little. What matters is BICYCLE, and you, the Dutch, do BICYCLE great!

      1. It’s not a matter of plural vs singular. Koningsdag is etymologically short for des Konings dag, day of the king. Koningin never had a separate genitive so the -ne- only serves to facilitate the transition between two consonants. Also compare ‘s-Hertogenbosch = the Duke’s woods, or ‘s-Gravenhage = the domain of the Count of Holland. Hertogen and Graven are both old genitives.

  2. Not last ever, if we look at his children – all girls. Unless the Dutch abolish the monarchy, and there don’t seem to be many calls for that now. Indeed Koningsdag doesn’t have the same ring to it. Richard, I’m a republican too (in Québec, and I defnitely don’t mean a Republican in the US sense!) but the relevant question here is for your country to eliminate the compulsory helmet laws that discourage utilitarian, slow cycling, and instead build some decent infrastructure to ensure cyclists’ safety.

  3. Reblogged this on Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD and commented:
    I’m an avowed republican in Australia. Nothing personal, your majesty Queen Liz, though you and your family don’t interest me all that much. I just think we should have an Australian as head of state and get rid of that anomalous Union Jack in the corner of our outmoded flag.

    I have less problem with the Dutch having a royal family to reign over them. At least they’re Dutch and people rather like them. Okay, they may be one of the richest royal houses of Europe, but they’re not above going for rides on the bike, at least for photo ops. That prejudices them in my favour.

    Well reigned, Queen Bea, and good luck and happy riding King Willem-Alexander.

    1. The Crown Prince only has daughters so in about thirty to forty years there will be a Queen’s day again.

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