Netherlands (Dutch) Queen Beatrix abdicates in favor of her 45 year old son
Queen Beatrix is the longest-lived reigning monarch of the Netherlands
Dutch Queen Beatrix, who has reigned for 33 years, has abdicated her throne in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander. In her televised address Beatrix, the oldest ever Dutch monarch, explained that she was stepping down because she felt her son was ready to take her place on the throne.
“Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation,” Beatrix said.
“I’m not standing down because public service is too heavy for me, but because of the belief that responsibility for our country should be in the hands of a new generation,” she added.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the nation after the announcement, praising the Queen for her years of service.
“Since her coronation in 1980s she’s applied herself heart and soul for Dutch society,” Rutte said. “She has always done her utmost for Dutch society, being visible and with enormous energy.”
The coronation of Willem-Alexander will take place on April 30. The 45-year old Prince will become the first King of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great grandfather William III in 1890.
The move is not expected to provoke a constitutional crisis, with the modern day post being seen as largely ceremonial and holding very few powers.
Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who will be 75 on January 31, came to the throne in 1980 following her mother’s, Queen Juliana, abdication after 31 years as head of state on her 70th birthday.
The past decade was not the easiest for the queen personally. Her husband, Prince Claus, died in 2002. Just a year later her mother passed, followed by father’s death in 2004.
One of the most shocking moments for Beatrix was in 2009 when a man ploughed his car into a crowd of people during a Queen’s Day parade, killing eight.
The abdication comes a year after another personal tragedy, when the Queen’s second son, Prince Friso, was hit by an avalanche while skiing in Austria. He is still in a coma.
The changes to the throne coincide with the 200th anniversary of Holland’s monarchy, the House of Orange. The nation is set to celebrate the event at the end of the year, Beatrix said.
Video: Dutch queen abdicates to make way for the “new generation”
Origins of Dutch royal wealth
The “Golden Carriage” was given to Queen Wilhelmina from the people of Amsterdam as a gift in 1898. The painting by Nicolaas van der Waay was intended to recreate the style of the country’s 17th-century “Golden Age,” in which Amsterdam became wealthy as the hub of a naval empire. It depicts enslaved Africans.
Video: Golden Carriage of Queen Beatrix depicts enslaved Africans
Video: Dutch – The Netherlands’ African slave trade -The wealth of the Dutch royal family
The National Monument to the History of Dutch Slavery was unveiled by Queen Beatrix in Amsterdam opened July 1, 2002
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands led thousands of people in a ceremony to unveil a national monument to the victims of slavery. The Royal family never gave an offical apology for the enslavement of Africans. On July 1, 2002 the National Monument to Commemorate the History of Dutch Slavery was unveiled in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam.
On June 24, 2002, the governing body of the National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy (NiNsee) was established. The Institute is concerned with research into the history of Dutch slavery and the realization of an accurate picture of the legacy of Dutch slavery.
Video: Dutch Slave Monument: Behind The History
Dutch West India Company
The Dutch were at one time the largest traders of enslaved Africans
The Dutch possessed New Netherland between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers for 40 years in what is now the United States of America. The settlement started in 1609 when the Dutch East India Co. sent out Henry Hudson, an English navigator, to look for a route to the Indies not controlled by Spain.
In 1621, the Estates-General of the Netherlands founded the Dutch West India Company to develop its American claims. Its purpose was to open trade in North and South America and to build forts, maintain troops, and challenge Spanish trade in America, especially in the West Indies. Three years later the company sent Cornelius J. May to colonize its land claims on both sides of the Hudson River. After 1624, it established forts at Manhattan Island, Fort Orange (Albany) and Long Island, and Fort Nassau on the Delaware River. It also developed a settlement on the western shores of the Hudson River that became the early settlements of Pavonia and Bergen Township and later the development of present-day Jersey City.
Members of the Dutch West India Company were eligible to receive a feudal estate in America if the patroon settled it with fifty adults, over age fifteen, in four years.
The governance of all of New Netherland was from New Amsterdam at the lower end of Manhattan Island. The Dutch West India Company sent its orders to New Amsterdam (now New York City) and its selected members of the governor’s council. New Amsterdam was the location of the governor’s residence, barracks, church and marketplace.
After their rule in America for forty years, the Dutch failed to establish a successful colony at New Netherland. Several factors contributed to its demise and easy takeover by England in 1664. First, there were insufficient incentives for Dutch nationals to leave their homeland. As a result, colonists from other countries and colonies, who did not hold a strong allegiance to the colony, settled New Netherland. Secondly, commerce was a priority for the Dutch West India Company, and agriculture, which might have attracted more settlers, was not considered profitable.
Source: New Jersey City University
Timeline of Dutch Empire
1499 – The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle what is now Guyana in South America.
1600 – The city of Valdivia in Chile was conquered by Dutch pirate Sebastian de Cordes. He left the city after some
1602 – The VOC, Verenigde Oostindische Compangie Dutch East India Company), is granted its founding charter
1610 – Batavia (present day Jakarta, Indonesia) becomes the central hub of an immense and profitable trading network throughout all of Asia
1615 – Dutch Virgin Islands
1619 – A “Dutch Man-of-War” ship brings first shipment of enslaved Africans to Jamestown, Virginia. Some 20 enslaved Africans in the West Indies who had been pirated from a Spanish ship were sold to the governor and a merchant
1620s – Dutch colonization of the Caribbean islands started on St. Croix and Tobago in 1628, followed in 1631 with settlements on Tortuga (now Île Tortue) and Sint Maarten.
1621 – The formation of the West Indische Compagnie, WIC (Dutch West India Company), brings the Dutch firmly into the center of the slave trade between the west coast of Africa, the Americas and the West Indies. The WIC bought, sold and transported over hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans into slavery in the Americas.
1624 – WIC begins importing enslaved Africans to New Amsterdam (later New York City) as an answer to the labor problems on Hudson Valley farms.
1630 – Dutch Brazil (New Holland) was the northern portion of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch.
1638 – The first public slave auction was held in Jamestown square in colonial Jamestown.
1642 – the VOC and the WIC sent a fleet of some ships to Chile to conquer the city of Valdivia and the goldmines of the Spanish.
1655 – Dutch colony of New Amsterdam becomes the main focus of the WIC slave trade into North America. It is estimated the Dutch were trafficking thousands of enslaved Africans across the oceans each year at that time.
1658 – First (Dutch) slave shipment arrives at the Cape from what is now Angola.
1667 – July 31, 1667, the Treaty of Breda was sealed between the English and the Dutch. The treaty allowed the English to keep factual possession of New Netherland (renamed New York, after the Duke of York, James Stuart, future James II and VII of England and Scotland), while the Dutch kept control over Pulau Run and the valuable sugar plantations of Suriname (in northern South America) which they had conquered in 1667.
1717 – VOC decides to retain slavery as main labor system in the Cape of Good Hope in Southern Africa.
1790 – WIC stops trading in response to the growing abolitionist movements and slave rebellions.
1799 – VOC stops trading and dissolves as a result of complex political and financial problems. Shares are almost worthless.
1838 – By this time most countries have banned slavery.
1848: Slavery abolished in all Danish colonies.
1863 – The Dutch abolished slavery in Suriname and the Antilles. All enslaved Africans had to remain on the plantations.
1873 – Enslaved Africans finally freed from the plantations. Dutch land owners were paid for each freed enslaved African.
1910 – Slavery is abolished on Soembawa, Indonesian Archipel.
1916 -the Danish West Indies (St. Croix) were sold to the United States by Denmark in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies.
The Dutch settle on the Gold Coast (Ghana)
Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in contemporary Ghana. In 1621 the Dutch West India Company tried to seize the Portuguese colonies in Africa and America as part of the Groot Desseyn plan. In 1625, the Dutch West India Company managed to capture Elmina Castle from the Portuguese in 1637. Fort San Sebastian at Shama (Ghana) in 1640 and Fort Santo Antonio at Axim followed in 1642 (Ghana). The Dutch West India Company gained a monopoly on trade from Africa to the West Indies. The Dutch began a relationship with the Ashanti (Asante) Empire and the Fante Confederacy. Ashanti-Fante wars followed with the transfer of the Dutch Gold Coast to Britain in 1872.
Fort St. Jago, also known as Coenraadsburg, is situated on a hill opposite Elmina Castle in the coastal town of Elmina, Ghana.
The first European building on this hill was a Portugese church dedicated to St. Jago. In 1637 the Dutch used the hill as a gun-position to bombard and take Elmina Castle from the Portugese. To prevent others from using the same tactic the Dutch built a fortified earthwork on the hill the next year.
Elmina Castle -Enslavement Fort
Afrikaners (Dutch, German and French South Africans)
In 1647, a Dutch vessel, Haarlem, was wrecked in the present-day Table Bay at Cape Town. The marooned crew were the first Europeans to attempt settlement in the area.
The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC) established a permanent settlement in Southern Africa.
The Boer Republics were established by the Dutch speaking white Europeans of South Africa. In 1869 diamonds were found near Kimberley in what is now Northern Cape Province. The British would fight the Anglo-Boer Wars with the Dutch.
Video: 1994- South Africa and the Dutch
Queen Beatrix and Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Beatrix and Queen Elizabeth II are both descendants of Stadtholder prince William IV of the Netherlands and Anna of Hannover (who was a daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Ireland). Queen Beatrix through his son Prince William V, and Queen Elizabeth II through his daughter Princess Carolina, who was a great-great mother of Queen Mary, Queen consort to King George V of the United Kingdom.