Royals celebrate King’s Day and talk to Groningen quake victims

King Willem-Alexander (right) and Queen Máxima speaking with an artist during their King’s Day visit to Groningen on Friday. (Frank van Beek photo)

GRONINGEN–King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima, their three daughters and other members of the royal family celebrated King’s Day with tens of thousands of people in the northern Dutch city Groningen on Friday.

Royalty fans had started lining the streets early in the morning to catch a glimpse of the King, Queen and three princesses. The royals arrived in the northern city around 11:00am and left in the early afternoon.

The King, who accessed the throne five years ago today, turned 51 on Friday. A new poll by Ipsos for Dutch public broadcaster NOS gives him a 73-per-cent approval rating, and 25 per cent of respondents say he does a better job than his mother Beatrix.

The King’s Day’s activities in Groningen included a chat with Groningers whose homes were damaged by earthquakes due to gas extraction in the province.

“I think the country really understands how we feel, but that any sympathy stops at the Binnenhof [parliamentary complex – Ed.],” one victim told the King. When asked by the King if they felt they were now being heard most said they did.

“Amalia come study here,” students ask King Willem-Alexander’s and Queen Máxima’s eldest daughter. (Frank van Beek photo)

King’s Day got off to a sunny start in most of the Netherlands on Friday, and weather forecasters said any rain would fall later in the day in the north and west.

Some 750,000 people were expected to pack into Amsterdam for the King’s Day free market and four major festivals. Dutch Rail laid on extra and longer trains to cope with the expected rush on public transport.

Source: The Daily Herald