Prince’s Day (Prinsjesdag)

Every third Tuesday in September is Prinsjesdag (Prince’s Day), the opening of Dutch parliament. A festive day, children in The Hague are free from school so they may watch the procession of the Gouden Koets (Golden Coach). The King is driven in the Gouden Koets from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) in the Binnenhof, which houses the Dutch Parliament.

Prinsjesdag Balkonscene

Here the King reads the ‘Speech from the Throne’, written jointly by the Ministers and Secretaries of State. This troonrede outlines the government’s plans for the coming year. As the procession returns to the Noordeinde Palace, the road is lined with members of the Dutch Royal Armed Forces and in the afternoon the Royal Family appears on the palace balcony to address an adoring and often frenzied public (balkonscène).

The procession route runs from the Noordeinde Palace via Heulstraat, Kneuterdijk, Lange Voorhout, Tournooiveld, Korte Vijverberg, to the Binnenhof and back again. The King and his family depart from Noordeinde Palace at approximately 13.00 hrs. and then the procession begins.

The entire procession and speech are broadcast to the nation on television complete with commentary on the various hats adorning the heads of the lady guests in the Ridderzaal. The public can buy a ticket in advance for a seat in the grandstands lining the route or simply stake out a spot to stand along the route.

Visit the official website for Prinsjesdag for more information about the day’s history and programme.

Published: 26 August 2013Modified: 9 July 2020