Dutch royals here to stay?
A majority of expats backs the House of Orange. By Vanessa Deij and Frank Driessen*
Three quarters of Dutch people living abroad oppose abolishing the Dutch royal house. But the role the House of Orange should have meets with less unanimity. On the eve of Queen's Day, celebrated every year on 30 April, Radio Netherlands Worldwide polled more than 1,000 expats and emigrants.
Half of those questioned want the royal family to fulfil a merely ceremonial role devoid of any political power. Forty-five percent rejects this view and five percent has no opinion on the matter.
The reason expats and emigrants most often cite to preserve the monarchy is that it promotes popular unity. "It provides stability in uncertain times," is a characteristic response. Others question the alternatives: "No elected president could match Queen Beatrix's knowledge," says one interviewee. Another warns: "Choosing a president every five years is far more costly, and a president has no political independence."
Photo:Queen Beatrix with Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, his wife Princess Máxima and their three children Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane
Queen Beatrix with Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, his wife Princess Máxima and their three children Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane
Sixteen percent of those questioned would like to abolish the monarchy, most of them because they think it has no place in a modern society. A few consider the institution undemocratic. Four percent of the latter expect the monarchy to disappear very soon. So soon, in fact, they think Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will never be crowned. Three quarters of respondents, however, don't think there is a conflict between democracy and monarchy.
New head of state
By contrast, two percent is certain that Willem-Alexander will inherit the throne on Queen´s Day this Wednesday. Nearly three quarters, however, do not expect the Queen to abdicate before 2010. Whenever it happens, 67 percent does not want Queen's Day to be replaced by a King's Day on 27 April, Willem-Alexander’s birthday.
The most popular among the Dutch royals is Queen Beatrix, who was chosen by 18 percent. But she is closely followed by Princess Máxima, who enjoys a 17 percent popularity rating. The Crown Prince comes third, with eight percent. Nearly half the Dutch living abroad, however, have no favourite at all.
A quarter of those interviewed say the royal family has become more important or interesting to them since they moved abroad. According to 72 percent, the image the House of Orange projects abroad benefits international business. Nearly half of them, though, admit most of their acquaintances do not know the Dutch royal family.
*RNW translation (cl)
29 April 2008
[Copyright Radio Netherlands]