King Willem-Alexander breaks coronavirus rules during football frenzy

King Willem-Alexander has come under fire from Dutch cabinet ministers for not adhering to coronavirus regulations after he was caught on film shaking a football fan’s hand in The Hague.

Yesterday, the king paid a visit to the Haagse Marktweg  — the most festive Oranjestraat in the Netherlands. During his visit, he was captured shaking hands with a bystander in a video that has since gone viral. reports that he was also seen standing with people and not keeping the 1.5-metre distance.

The king has been criticized by Justice Minister, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, and Minister for Medical Care, Tamara van Ark, who believe that the rules are there “for all of us” and that there is no exception to the rules for members of the royal family.

This came off as a little ironic, as in August last year, Grapperhaus was criticized for the lack of social distancing at his own wedding which took place during the coronavirus pandemic. He paid a €390 fine.

Sympathetic responses from others

Nevertheless, others members of the cabinet have been more sympathetic to the king’s gaffe. Outgoing Minister of Education, Ingrid van Engelshoven, thinks it’s lovely that people are getting so excited about the Dutch national team. Of the king’s mistake she says, “he’s human too.”

With his visit, the king wanted to express solidarity with the millions of Oranje fans in the Netherlands. He also spent some time watching the match on a screen that a supporter had set up in his backyard.

Just because you’re king doesn’t mean you get special rules

This isn’t the first time the king has broken coronavirus regulations. During a holiday in Greece last August, he and Queen Maxima courted controversy by taking a photo with a restaurant owner — they weren’t wearing masks or distancing.

READ MORE | Netherlands says goodbye to face masks — and hello to working from the office

Meanwhile, the couple was bashed again for going on holiday to Greece during the lockdown in October.

How do you feel about the king bending the rules? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature image: Commons /CC2.0

Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
Jen Lorimer 🇿🇼
An avid tea drinker, Jen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She moved to Utrecht in 2017 to pursue her history degree. She loves people-watching, canoeing the Utrecht canals, and observing how the Dutch come alive in summer. Having been traumatised by a Dutch circle party, Jen wants to help equip other internationals with tips and tricks to survive and thrive in this wonderful flat country.


  1. Het is tijd dat al dat gedoe met de Koninklijke familie tot een einde komt. Kies een President en stuur die familie weg.


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