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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in the Netherlands Series at DutchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Dutch holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10 - Prince’s Day. In Dutch, this is [Prinsjesdag]
Prince’s Day falls on the third Tuesday of September each year. This day marks the opening of the yearly congressional session for the Dutch bicameral legislature. On this day, the King gives the “Speech of Throne” or [troonrede], and the Minister of Finance presents the national budget proposal to the Dutch House of Representatives, or in Dutch [Staten-Generaal]
In this lesson, you’ll learn about the customs observed on Prince’s Day and where they originated.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Do you know what famous phrase always closes the King’s annual speech?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In Dutch, the national budget is called [rijksbegroting]. The national budget and the budget memorandum for the new year consist of new bills to be ratified. However, before they are ratified, they must be debated in both the House of Representatives and Senate. Since a lot of time is needed for these debates, plans must be announced well in advance. This is why the date of Prince’s Day falls on the third Tuesday in September. Earlier in history, around 1850, Prince’s Day fell on the third Monday in September, but since that meant some legislators would have had to leave on a Sunday in order to attend, the date was moved to a Tuesday.
Prince’s Day is the only day that the Golden Carriage, or [Gouden Koets] ever ventures out. The Golden Carriage is a coach owned and used by the Dutch royal family. It is made of teak wood, much of which is covered in gold leaf, decorated with paintings and symbolic ornaments and is drawn by eight horses. The Golden Carriage stays put almost the entire year in the Royal Stables behind the [Paleis Noordeinde], meaning “North-end Palace” in The Hague. However, on Prince’s Day it finally leaves its storing ground, traveling a few miles to the Binnenhof parliamentary complex of the States-General, or [Staten-Generaal], and back. Only with rare exception is it possible to view the Golden Carriage up close.
The origin of the briefcase used by the Minister of Finance to submit the Budget Memorandum actually comes from a British tradition. In 1947, the Minister of Finance at the time, named [Lieftinck], wanted to make Prince’s Day a little more stylish and decided to carry the documents with him in a classy briefcase, just like the British Minister of Finance always does. This practice remained customary for ten years until the next Minister [Hofstra] broke tradition, carrying the national budget with him in his bag. This didn’t sit well with many Dutch students, who decided to offer a small briefcase to the Minister himself. The briefcase the Minister uses now is the same as the one used in 1964, creating a tradition that’s lasted more than 50 years.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
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; [Leve de Koning!] meaning “Long live the King!” Then, all those in attendance respond, [Hoera! Hoera! Hoera!], meaning “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!” After that, the King leaves the hall for the Queen's Chamber in the adjacent room.
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Any chance of us bumping into you at North-end Palace to see the Golden Carriage?
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