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Prinsjesdag: Prince’s Day in the Netherlands

Each year, the Netherlands observes Prinsjesdag, or “Prince’s Day.” Because this is the day the country officials go over the country’s budget proposals and new bills, many people also call this “Budget Day.” In the Netherlands, Prince’s Day is also a special day of celebration, and is the only time many people will ever see the Golden Carriage (which we’ll talk more about later).

In the learning about Prince’s Day, you’ll also gain insight into certain aspects of the culture in the Netherlands. And as any successful language-learner can tell you, this is a vital step in mastering any language. DutchPod101.com can make this part of the learning process both fun and informative!

Let’s get started with a little more about what Prince Day is.

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1. What is Prince’s Day in the Netherlands?

On Prince’s Day, Netherlands’ King gives the “Speech from the Throne,” or Troonrede Prinsjesdag, and the Minister of Finance presents the national budget proposal in a special briefcase to the Dutch House of Representatives. The national budget and the budget memorandum for the new year consist of new bills. Before ratification, these are debated in advance in the House and Senate.

The famous briefcase the Minister of Finance uses to submit the budget memorandum has been in existence since 1947. The Minister of Finance at the time, Lieftinck, wanted to make Prince’s Day a little snazzier and decided to carry the documents with him in a classy briefcase. This practice remained customary for ten years until Minister Hofstra broke tradition, carrying the national budget with him in his bag. This didn’t sit well with many students, and they decided to just offer up a small briefcase to the Minister himself. The briefcase the Minister uses now has been in use since 1964.

2. When is Prince Day?

Prince's Day is in September

Each year, the Dutch celebrate Prince’s Day on the third Tuesday in September. For your convenience, we’ve composed a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: September 17
  • 2020: September 15
  • 2021: September 21
  • 2022: September 20
  • 2023: September 19
  • 2024: September 17
  • 2025: September 16
  • 2026: September 15
  • 2027: September 21
  • 2028: September 19

Earlier in history, around 1850, Prince’s Day fell on the third Monday in September, but since that meant some legislators had to leave on a Sunday, the date was moved to a Tuesday, thus the current date of the third Tuesday in September.

3. Prince’s Day Traditions

The Hague

Prince’s Day is the only day the Golden Carriage ever ventures out. The Golden Carriage stays put almost the entire year in the Royal Stables behind the Noordeinde Palace (North-end Palace) in The Hague. Prince’s Day is the only day the carriage is permitted to venture out, traveling only a few miles to the Binnenhof parliamentary complex of the States-General and back.

Only with rare exception is it possible to view the Golden Carriage up close. The Golden Carriage was once on display for all to admire up close at an exhibit in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, but this exhibit was only there for a year.

Of course, Prince’s Day is also famous for the King’s speech and the fancy briefcase mentioned earlier.

4. Long Live the King

Do you know what famous phrase ends the King’s annual speech?

After the Speech from the Throne is delivered, the president of the Senate presiding over the Joint Session shouts “Long live the King!” to which everyone else in attendance responds, “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”

After that, the King leaves the hall for the Queen’s Chamber in the adjacent room.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for Prince’s Day

A Carriage

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Prince’s Day!

  • Hoed — “Hat
  • Dinsdag — “Tuesday”
  • Paleis — “Palace”
  • Politiek — “Politics”
  • September — “September”
  • Prinsjesdag — “Prince’s Day”
  • Miljoenennota — “State’s budget”
  • Troonrede — “Queen’s speech”
  • Koningin — “Queen”
  • Beleid — “Policy”
  • Volkslied — “National Anthem
  • Minister — “Minister”
  • Regering — “Government”
  • Gouden koets — “Golden carriage”
  • Grondwet — “Constitution”
  • Koets — “Carriage”

To hear the pronunciation of each vocabulary word, check out our Dutch Prince’s Day vocabulary list!

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What are your thoughts on the Prince Day Netherlands holiday? Is there a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

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