(VIDEO) His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Delivers His Christmas Message.

On December 25, 2016, a Christmas message from His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands aired on Dutch television.  The pre-recorded message was filmed at Villa Eikenhorst in Wassenaar.

Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech:

“Heaven and earth touch each other at Christmas. Christ, the Son of God is born in a simple stable. His mother puts him to sleep in a crib. Angels proclaim a message of peace and hope for a better world.

Celebrating Christmas can be confronting and make us think. Near the spot where stood the manger, now reign of fear and violence. Unimaginable are the hardships that ordinary people – many of them small children – in Syria, but also to suffer in other countries. Violence can come close. Terrorist attacks – like this week in Berlin – this year many families in mourning.

Christmas 2016 also evokes contradictory feelings. That is why I have struggled with this Christmas Speech.

We would thus like to see the angel of peace spreads his wings over the world. We would know salvaged us so much. But while there is much that makes us worried and gives us a sense of threat and helplessness. Contradictions in the world appear to be larger. And that has an impact on our lives here. Extreme seems to be the new normal. Searching for security graves groups in their own right. That often makes an open conversation impossible. Many feel in a country without listeners to live.

Who doubts about the future, often idealizes the past. We give to all of us about to nostalgia for the past. Yes, once …

We know that the reality was less rosy. And that many issues on which we are now so worried, on closer inspection, are less serious than we sometimes think.

This is very much happy as well and that life in many ways is really better than then.

“Perception is reality,” you often hear. But the foundation of everyday life is like quicksand experience the view on reality displaces. Let us honestly name the difficult problems. But if there is one country also knows and solidarity, it is the Netherlands. Without them seek the limelight, millions of carers and volunteers our quiet strength. We see you and your loving work enough?

The message of Christmas is a message of hope, peace and charity.

This is a call to each of us. How we behave toward one another? What we do ourselves to our society in such a way that everyone knows and can feel safe at home? Can we still, solve problems together peacefully?

In these uncertain times, it is necessary to keep solid ground underfoot. The values that traditionally belong to the Netherlands, also determine in the future our ability to come together. While the world seems to give us less grip, we must stick to what we share and protect what connects us.

For so we want to live here. As free and equal people. Without those dissenting need to be afraid of threats or intimidation and without discrimination on grounds of belief, race, gender or sexual orientation. These rights apply here for everyone, always.

Freedom needs space. Room to live, to move, to think and debate without fear. Space to be different from each other. That freedom belongs to us and is stronger than any act of terrorism as well.

Earlier this year I opened the Rotterdam Library an exhibition dedicated to the famous Dutchman Desiderius Erasmus. He lived 500 years ago, not long after the invention of the printing press, the Internet of the 16th century. Erasmus was one of the first who took advantage of it. Throughout Europe reading knew his work.

Erasmus was a deeply religious man with a critical mind and a sharp pen. A man who sacred cows dared to overthrow. Nothing human was alien to him and he could tremendously excited about the abuses of his time. But he always continued to search his strength in reasonable arguments and the peaceful exchange of ideas. We need each other after all.

“Nature has divided our gifts so that one man can not do without the help of others,” he wrote.

Terrorists are trying to undermine our free way of living and to undermine our sense of home. Rightly people desire in the first place safety.

In this time of uncertainty, fear and anger understandable emotions. But anger can not be terminal. The peace we so desire does not come closer as people drop out and dig. Peace begins with protecting what we share and the use of all positive forces. Without you, without you, it’s not.

At Christmas we are urged not to give up. One another not to give up. Every person counts. Christmas light shines for all of us, and it makes us see each other.

The old Christmas carol puts it nicely.

Between all the people
in the human family
Hark, the herald angels sing the glory
of the newborn Lord.

I wish all of you – wherever you are and how your personal circumstances may be – a blessed Christmas.”

(VIDEO) Members of the Dutch Royal Family Attend the 2016 Prins Claus Prijs.

On Thursday, December 15, 2016, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel of Oranje-Nassau attended the 2016 Prins Claus Prijs held at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam.

The Prins Claus Prijs is awarded annually to individuals and organizations based mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development and the positive effect of their work on their direct environment and the wider cultural or social field.

Traditionally, the Fund has presented one Principal Award and ten additional Awards. On this 20th anniversary year, the Fund is taking a somewhat different approach. It has selected a smaller number of Laureates than usual and, in addition to the Award, which is given in recognition of their excellent achievements, the Fund has created the opportunity for each of the five Laureates to support a project that they feel expands and enhances creativity in their own environment.

The winner of the Prins Claus Prijs went to writer and director, Mr. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, for his:

“…visual richness, spiritual lyricism and intellectual depth of his provocative works; for his subtle yet powerful examination of Thai realities that resonates beyond his own society; for inventing an original cinematic language that evokes a live experience of the animist sense of being, reinstating a way of connecting paralyzed by western mechanisms that disrupt the body’s ability to evaluate what is good for life and what isn’t; for transforming filmmaking into something far more complex and far-reaching, clearly demonstrating that artistic excellence creates experience and is inseparable from the social and political; and for inspiring others by remaining uncompromisingly true to his own vision and principles…”

(VIDEOS) TMs King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Attend the 2016 Erasmusprijs.

On Thursday, December 8, 2016, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands attended the 2016 Erasmusprijs held at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam. The Erasmusprijs, worth €150,000, is awarded annually to a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities or the arts.

This year the Stichting Praemium Erasmianum awarded the prize to British writer, Dame Antonia Susan Byatt, her inspiring contribution to ‘life writing’, a literary genre that encompasses historical novels, biographies and autobiographies. The jury describes A.S. Byatt as a born storyteller with a keen eye for relations in public and private life.

Byatt has written dozens of (historical) novels, biographies, short stories and critical essays. In a wide-ranging body of work she unites great erudition with an unbridled pleasure in writing and imaginative power. Her work crosses boundaries in style and content. It covers a range of genres, literary forms and subjects. She immerses the reader in the history of European thinking, taking the big questions about science, history and identity as her starting point.

Among her recurring themes are the influence of art on life, magic and realism, and the conflict between ambition and family. Her body of work brings together not only artists and academics, but also fairy tales and myths. Many of her novels, including The Biographer’s Tale and Possession, explore the act of writing a biography or conducting research. In the process, she has reshaped the genre of life writing in her own way. Among her best-known books are Possession, short story collections such as Sugar and other Stories and the novel The Children’s Book.

(VIDEOS) Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Meets with Students at the Thomas More Hogeschool.

On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands accompanied by the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ms. Jet Bussemaker, visited the teacher training college at the Thomas More Hogeschool in Rotterdam.

According to RVD, during today’s visit Her Majesty and Ms. Bussemaker discussed:

“…music developments in the teacher training courses. Queen Maxima is Honorary President of the Platform Ambassadors ‘More Music in the Classroom’.

‘More Music in the Classroom’ contributes to the realization of structural music education in primary schools. Queen Maxima, Ms. Bussemaker and music ambassadors met with the directors of 25 teacher training courses and music teachers to talk about different views on the design and implementation of music education.”

Please click here and here to view photos as well as to watch another video.

(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Meets with Scouts at Paleis Noordeinde.

dutchOn Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands met with scouts at Paleis Noordeinde in Den Haag.

During today’s visit Her Majesty met with young members of the scouts as well as participated in a roundtable discussion with the directors of Scouting Netherlands.

According to RVD, issues discussed during the meeting included the three upcoming projects:

“…first, a project where scouts, with and without disabilities, can meet to learn to undertake activities together. Second, the cooperation with the Salvation Army, leaving children with few opportunities to join a club or association may participate in Scouting. And third, a project in which talented young volunteers get within Scouting Netherlands training and coaching to develop their talents.” 

Click here to watch a video. 

Photo courtesy of Scouting Nederland

(VIDEOS) HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Opens a New School Building in Leiden.

On the morning of Tuesday, December 6, 2016, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands officially opened a new building at the Leidse Instrumentmakers School (LIS) in Leiden.

Established in 1901 by Leiden professor and Nobel laureate, Mr. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, the new building was constructed due to “…increased demand for graduate Research Instrument Makers. The school can now train more students, a maximum of 400, while still retaining its small-scale education feel…” according to RVD.

Click here to view photos.

(VIDEOS) Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Opens the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science.

On Thursday, December 1, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands officially opened the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) located in the former Mariënburg convent in Den Bosch.

JADS focuses on analyzing and interpreting big data. Data sets have become so large that organizations and companies can not analyze them themselves and turn to universities for scientific expertise. The results of big data analysis can for example be used for policy-making and innovation of business and society.

The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science is a partnership of the Province of North Brabant, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilburg University. Science education, scientific research and innovation come together through cooperation with the (international) business community in the region of Brabant and beyond.

The collaboration of the two universities is unique since big data are studied from technological as well as economic, legal and social perspectives.

During today’s event Her Majesty was given a tour of the new center and met with students as well as staff.

Click here to view a photo gallery.

(VIDEOS) Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Tour Utrecht’s New Central Train Station.

On the morning of Wednesday, November 30, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands toured the new central train station in Utrecht.

Thereafter, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde visited the “…High Tech Campus Eindhoven and Sligro Food Group in Veghel, for the opening of ZiN, an ‘inspiration lab’ for the food service industry…” according to RVD.

Please click the links below to view photos.

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(VIDEO) TMs King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium Host a Concert at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ.

On the evening of Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium hosted a concert at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Attending this evening’s concert, with performances by the National Orchestra of Belgium and Mr. Ozark Henry, included Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her husband, Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven as well as dozens of Belgian and Dutch government officials.

Please click here and here to view photos.

(VIDEOS) TMs King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium Visit the Netherlands: Day Two.

On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium continued their three-day state visit to the Netherlands.

This morning His Majesty King Philippe visited the European Space Agency/European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA/ESTEC) in Noordwijk. During his visit His Majesty met with the Voorzitter van de Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal (President of the Dutch Senate), Ms. Anneke Broekers-Knol, the Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (President of the House of Representatives), Ms. Khadija Arib, and other Dutch government officials.belgium1

Thereafter, His Majesty accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands attended a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minster of the Netherlands, Mr. Mark Rutte, at the Ridderzaal in Den Haag.

dutchIn the afternoon, Their Majesties Queen Mathilde and Queen Maxima visited the non-profit organization, Kamers met Kansen (Rooms with Opportunities). The organization prepares young people who “…prematurely left their school to independent living by helping them to get a job or a diploma…” according to RVD.

Their Majesties also visited Vitalis, a center which focuses on the personal guidance for children ages 5 to 18 years old who are in a vulnerable position, in Den Haag.  The two queens also visited the Cobra Museum Voor Moderne Kunst in Amstelveen where they viewed the exhibition, Pierre Alechinsky – post Cobra.belgium

Meanwhile, Their Majesties King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands presided over a roundtable discussion organized by the “…Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium…” according to RVD.

The day ended with His Majesty King Philippe visiting the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (Netherlands-Flanders Accreditation Organization) in Den Haag.

Please click the links below to watch a video as well as to view photos from today’s events.

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Photos courtesy of the Belgian and Dutch royal courts

Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Host a Gala State Banquet.

KingWAOn the evening of Monday, November 28, 2016, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands hosted a gala state banquet at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam in honor of Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium’s state visit to the Netherlands.

Guests attending tonight’s dinner included Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her husband, Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr. Mark Rutte, and dozens of government officials from the Netherlands as well as Belgium.

Click here and here to view photos.

(VIDEOS) TMS King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium Visit The Netherlands.

On Monday, November 28, 2016, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium began their three-day state visit to The Netherlands at the invitation of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

The day began with Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium along with Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands participating in a wreath laying ceremony at the National Monument at the Koninklijk Paleis op Dam in Amsterdam. Thereafter, His Majesty King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander inspected the royal guard.

belgium4Following the ceremony, Their Majesties hosted a reception at the Koninklijk Paleis in honor Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde’s visit.  Guests included dozens of Dutch as well as Belgian government officials.  During the reception King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander signed a “… border correction treaty between the Dutch municipalities of Eijsden-Margraten, Maastricht and the Belgian town of Visé…” according to RVD.

In the afternoon, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde accompanied by Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima visited a “…Flemish cultural centre in Amsterdam, De Brakke Grond, for a cultural program by the three Belgian communities.” 

belgium5Later in the day, King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander participated in the Belgian-Dutch Innovative Entrepreneurs & Finance conference while Queen Mathilde and Queen Maxima attended a symposium on urban development and bilateral cooperation.

Tonight, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will host a gala state banquet at the Koninklijk Paleis. 

Please click the links below to watch videos as well as to view photos.

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