Brunssum, Netherlands - Thursday 20 April, Brigadier General Henny Bouman, Netherlands Army, hosted the national King's Day reception at the JFC Brunssum International Conference Centre (ICC). Approximately 1000 guests, representing nations comprising the NATO Alliance and local dignitaries drawn from both military and civilian communities, attended the event.
King's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27 April (26th April if the 27th is a Sunday), the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander.
Up until 2013, when Queen Beatrix abdicated and was succeeded by her son Willem-Alexander, the holiday was known as Koninginnedag or Queen's Day and was celebrated on 30th April.
The holiday was initially observed on 31st August 1885 as Prinsessedag or Princess's Day, the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, heir to the Dutch throne. On her accession in November 1890 the holiday acquired the name Koninginnedag, first celebrated on 31st August 1891. In September 1948, Wilhelmina's daughter Juliana ascended to the throne and the holiday was moved to Queen Juliana's birthday, 30th April. The holiday was celebrated on this date from 1949.
Juliana's daughter, Beatrix, retained the celebration on 30th April after she ascended the throne in 1980, though her birthday was on 31st January. Beatrix altered her mother's custom of receiving a floral parade at Soestdijk Palace, instead choosing to visit different Dutch towns each year and join in the festivities with her children.
Queen Beatrix abdicated on Koninginnedag 2013, and her son, Willem-Alexander, ascended the throne (the first king since the observance of the national holiday). As a result, the holiday became known as Koningsdag from 2014 on, and the celebration was shifted three days back to 27th April, the King's birthday.
In a magnificently decorated venue the Dutch hosted their fellow JFC Brunssum colleagues and guests to a reception in honour of the King. Attired in evenings gowns, mess dress uniforms and black tie, the atmosphere assumed an appropriate mood for a Royal birthday.
Brigadier General Bouman, the Dutch senior national officer at JFC Brunssum, delivered a welcome speech and invited all attendees to join in singing the national anthem.
The celebration of King Willem-Alexander's birthday is not only a traditional annual occasion respected by the Dutch JFC Brunssum community, but a national and worldwide Dutch Event. Throughout the Netherlands and overseas, Dutch military units, civilian companies, governments and associations organize a King's Day reception to celebrate His Majesty's birthday.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office