It’s Prinsjesdag, or Budget Day, in the Netherlands, and this year is going to be different.

Budget Day falls each year on the third Tuesday of September. It’s the ceremonious day that the government presents its budget for legislature approval. This year, coronavirus has made for a much different sort of event.

Traditionally, the king or queen makes a grand carriage entrance, and gives a speech from their throne, announcing the government’s agenda for the coming year. The Budget Memorandum and the National Budget for 2021 are later presented in a briefcase. 

Coronavirus measures

This year, there will be no public audience and no arrival in a glass or golden carriage, but you will be able to watch the speech on television. King Willem Alexander will be speaking from the Grote Kerk in The Hague, for the extra space, rather than the traditional location at the Ridderzaal.

The King and Queen will arrive by car and the parliamentarians will be bused to the Grote Kerk. The military honour guard has been sizeably scaled-down, with only 50 guards, rather than the usual 2,200 or so.

Will there be hats?

The real question on everyone’s mind is, will there be hats? “I don’t feel the festive spirit this time”, says Attje Kuiken of the PvdA faction. “I’m not wearing a hat. It feels different. Corona makes everything different,” reports RTL Nieuws.


Women have been wearing hats to the event since the ’70s, but this year the ceremony is taking a more sombre tone.

For the full line-up, check out the adjusted program for 2020.

What do you think of the changes to this year’s Princjesdag? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Defensie/Wikimedia Commons 


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