Saturday, September 20, 2008

Prinsjesdag - The Aftermath

Almost a week has passed since the Queen of the Netherlands rode through the streets of The Hague in her golden carriage, addressed the Houses of Parliament from her throne, and then made the return journey to Noordeinde Palace and waved at the waiting crown from the balcony.
For the first time since moving to the Netherlands I decided to join in the fun and accompanied by my oblivious toddler we hit The Hague. I am proud to say that I did catch a glimpse of the Gouden Koets and the Queen! I even managed to capture a photo of the carriage, and the very same photo, admittedly only when zoomed in, shows Prince Willem-Alexander sitting inside. A proud moment indeed - the future king captured on my camera for prosperity.

Hoicked up on a concrete pillar my son was more interested in the parade of horses than the monarchy rolling by. Understandable I guess at the tender age of 20 months but it was certainly a spectacle for all by the roadsides.

Once the ceremonious side of Prinsjesdag finished it was time for the political analysts to step in, the interviews of Wouter Bos (Finance Minister) to begin and the hounding of any political figure for their opinion on what the policy and budget announcements mean for the Netherlands in the coming year and beyond. The main message, for those that could be bothered to listen, is that the Netherlands is doing well, despite economic crisis the world over, but there are no guarantees for the future.

Then the fashion analysts got to work. The discussions about the hat parade began in earnest. However, I believe this year no one was left in any doubt about the most grotesque and unusual hat adorned by the politicians. That award went to Krista van Velzen with her rather bold political statement perched upon her head, that being a hat made from a mink, topped off with a dripping blood. According to her blog, Krista was protesting against the killing of animals for their fur, following her proposal to change the law in the Netherlands which was met with a request to provide clear information on why animals should not be killed for such purposes. Now, I believe she succinctly made her point with her attire.

Following this, I read Aaf Brandt Corstius's column in the NRC Next newspaper and her theory that Dutch women have little idea about what to wear when elegance is part of the equation, hence pulling on ugly hats on such occasions so they at least make a statement, if nothing else. It leads on very nicely to an article touching on the same theme in the autumn edition of the ACCESS magazine by Ela Barr.

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