As could be expected the announcement that our current monarch Beatrix will be passing the reigns to her son and to-be King Willem-Alexander and his lovely Argentinian bride, Princes Maxima, has instigated the usual republican brabble that us Dutch have had to put up with for years. Previously DutchReview founder Abuzer sided with anarchists and overly-enthusiastic liberals in arguing for the abolishment of our royal family in their formal position as head of state. The single argument that is repeated over and over again by our anti-monarchical peers is that the mere existence of an unelected head of state is undemocratic and therefore has no place in civilized society. This argument has remained constant over the past few decades but it is logical that the expected changing of the guard has caused otherwise dormant republicans to increase their dissent.
What these so called democrats or republicans seem to forget is that democracy is never absolute and should not be mistaken for constitutional liberty. Theoretically a scenario could be thought of where “the people” control every single act of government through ‘referenda’ and even the initiative of legislation is taken by civil action. Common sense dictates however that the previously sketched scenario is realistically unattainable and unwanted. Luckily the vast majority of Dutch society ranges from being content to being outright lyrical about the royal family and together we will hail our new king as he follows in his mothers’ footsteps.
Politics divide and monarchs unite: where conventional representative democracy by definition has to appeal to specific segments of a population, the Dutch monarch gets to represent us all. When any foreign leader receives our elected prime minister he is speaking to a liberal, conservative, democratic or socialist coloured individual. When receiving our monarch, he is receiving the Dutch as a people without any other political agenda than the well-being of our nation. When our most famous excrement of a politician Wilders came very close to shaking the very foundations of our constitutionally guaranteed liberty it was our Queen that managed to steer us in the direction of unity without interfering in domestic politics.
Majority rules makes the position of our monarch perfectly legitimate when knowing that 65% of the population does not want our nation to become a republic. Fear that our future king will abuse his power is ungrounded because of the simple fact that our constitution allows for the removal of our king from his throne should the people wish it. In the end democracy rules, yet as any civilized nation has checks and balances to protect against the overambitious, we have a royal family to watch over us in times of peril. When our government was overthrown during WWII, our democratically elected government lost its legitimacy yet our royal family provided us with an identity and hope. The existence of unelected government positions with moderate degrees of power does not make a nation undemocratic and would effectively require the abolishment of the executive and judicial branches of government.
If unfamiliar with our Queens-day festivities (the day our crown prince takes over) here is some advise: wear as much orange as you can, sell as many unwanted household appliances and fake art pieces aka as you can and toast as often as you can to celebrate to crowning of Willem-Alexander, our new King! Cheers and happy Queens-day from DutchReview!