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Queen's Day

April 30, 2010

Across the Netherlands on Friday, the Dutch are honoring their Queen with annual festivities. Beatrix began the celebrations by unveiling a monument to the victims of last year’s "Queen's Day" attack.

Netherland's Queen Beatrix goes to lay a white rose next to a monument for spectators killed during last year
The attack on Beatrix last year was a downside to an otherwise smooth reignImage: AP

The Netherlands on Friday kicked off national celebrations honoring their queen, Beatrix, who this year marks the 30th anniversary of her reign.

Under massive police protection, the queen greeted citizens and visitors to the small village of Wemeldinge in the south of the country, accompanied by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima.

Around 1400 Dutch police secured the streets of Wemeldinge. In addition, only invited guests and citizens that had passed security checks were allowed near the royal procession.

In the run up to the festivities, authorities in Zeeland – the province where Wemeldinge is located – received a number of anonymous letters with threats against the royal family.

The Dutch queen unveils a memorial
The monument is meant to symbolize a mixture of "vulnerability, festivity, and mourningImage: Picture alliance/dpa

Celebrations shadowed by mourning

On the evening prior, Queen Beatrix unveiled a monument for the seven people killed when a man rammed his car into festival-goers in a failed attack on the royal family a year ago.

The attempted attack on the Dutch royal family last year
The attacker said he was after the 'racist royal family'Image: AP

In the central city of Apeldoorn, the scene of last year's assault, Queen Beatrix drew aside a white sheet to reveal the monument in a ceremony that was closed to the public and media but broadcast live on public television.

A statement from the royal family said the new memorial symbolized a mixture of "vulnerability, festivity, and mourning."

Beatrix and members of her family watched in horror as 38-year-old Karst Tates ploughed his car at high speed into a crowd at last year's Queen's Day festivities, narrowly missing an open top bus transporting the royals.

Tates died of injuries suffered in the accident, bringing the death toll to eight.

A municipal worker clears rubbish from the streets of Amsterdam
Beer glasses and other rubbish lined the streets of AmsterdamImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Strikes spoil celebrations further

This year, meanwhile, the Dutch will be celebrating the national holiday amid the smell of stale beer, as street sweepers and garbage collectors in major cities have gone on strike demanding higher wages.

National flags are littering the streets of the capital, Amsterdam, along with piles of plastic beer glasses and an array of other orange items, the country's national color.

Editor: Rob Turner