Willem-Alexander thanks Rotterdam for an “unforgettable” King’s Day

King Willem-Alexander and his family thoroughly enjoyed King’s Day in Rotterdam. “What the city has shown is unsurpassed,” the King said at the end of the day, NU.nl reports. “All those different people, all those different cultures. I’m on a cloud and enjoy everything I experience.”

In his farewell speech, the King thanked Rotterdam residents for their hospitality and this “unforgettable” day. “I actually want to ask the mayor if I can do the round again. Thank you for letting me celebrate my birthday here with my family in such a great way today,” he said. “We are coming from difficult times, and it will be difficult in the near future. But Rotterdam has shown that if we work on something together, we can have a fantastic Netherlands in the 21st century. You are all kings and queens. No words, but actions!”

The King attended the day with Queen Maxima, Crown Princess Amalia, Princess Ariane, and several more extended royal family members. Princess Alexia couldn’t come due to exams.

Amalia enjoyed the day to the fullest, she said. “The sun is shining, the atmosphere is good, so I’m doing great. Everyone is here with a big smile,” she said. She touched on the threats that had her homebound in recent months. “It’s nice to be among people again.”

The Royals arrived on the Afrikaanderplein in Rotterdam just after 11:00 a.m. They were welcomed by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, children’s mayor Louey Zerourou, and King’s Commissioner Jaap Smit.

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King Willem-Alexander spoke with several Rotterdam locals about the Netherlands’ history of slavery and how that translates to discrimination today. Asked whether he would apologize on behalf of the monarchy like Prime Minister Mark Rutte did on behalf of the Cabinet, the King referred to an independent study he commissioned into the topic.

“We anxiously await the investigation,” one of the locals told NOS afterward. “How healing would it be, how connecting would it be if the royal house made apologies in the form of our king?”

The royals were treated to songs, dances, circus acts, and football tricks during the Royal Walk in Rotterdam-Zuid. Somewhere along the way, Queen Maxima picked up a Feyenoord scarf, which she wore for the rest of the festivities.

The Royals crossed the Maas by water taxi and were welcomed to Rotterdam-Noord with music and performances by spoken word artists. After the Hermes House Band – one of Rotterdam’s most famous musical exports – performed their version of the classic I Will Survive, the Royals tried their hand at basketball. The King missed the shot but did assist in a nice dunk. Crown Princess Amalia got nothing but net, to loud applause from the crowd.

The Royals’ day ended at a festival on the Binnerotte, which will continue for hours after the royals departed.

ImageLeft to right: Crown princess Amalia, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, and princess Ariane about to depart for King's Day in Rotterdam, 27 April 2023 Left to right: Crown princess Amalia, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, and princess Ariane about to depart for King's Day in Rotterdam, 27 April 2023 – Credit: RVD / Koninklijk Huis – License: All Rights Reserved

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