Photos & Copyright: Netty Leistra
Well, I am sure you all want to know whether I enjoyed the day of the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the investiture of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. To be honest I envy all the people that were on the Dam square and on the other side of the palace. I already saw lovely pictures from people I know. All I could take were these, taken at the Dam at 7.30am, when there were already a few rows of people. But on the side, where I passed there was still nobody. Nice view also on the people and the canopy at the palace. The mood was already excellent, although it was still somewhat cold. Some people have been sleeping on the Dam, even when it was almost freezing at night. Although I was in Amsterdam, I was working in the Beurs van Berlage, near the Dam, all day long. Working very hard behind my laptop, from time to time watching the big screen in the press center. Surrounded by mainly Japanese and Argentinean journalists. O yes, we got special cream slices with the initials of the new King on top. I ate one, but to be honest, I love cakes, but just not these kind of cakes. And I missed most of the bread, because they were gone before I thought of getting another one. O well, the left overs went to the Salvation Army, so I hope these people had a real good meal. Just before 10.30am I decided to have a quick and short break and hurried to the Dam. At that time the square was so full of people that I didn’t reach it. I saw lots of people in orange, and the big screen far away, but no real royals on the balcony, nor did I hear them. However it was nice to be part of the crowd, even when it was for such a short time. Luckily there wasn’t too much work for a while in the afternoon, so I could relax a bit and see the whole ceremony in the Nieuwe Kerk (new church) on the big screen. Lovely to see all the guests passing. As usual the moderator didn’t know all the royals by name. Should be easy to find out what people look like, if you have a guestlist, which in this case was already published on Sunday. When Crown Princess Masako of Japan came out of the car, all Japanese around me clapped their hands, and I joined them. Hours later a Japanese journalist would ask me: why did you do that? They were quite surprised about my action apparently. But of course the star of the day – apart from the new King – was Queen Máxima in a gorgeous blue dress, and the daughters of the couple Amalia, Alexia and Ariane in dresses in the same colour. They behaved excellent. The new King’s speech was impressive and the part about his mother brought tears in everybody’s eyes. Then he took the oath, and after him all members of parliament. The last part was of course most boring. Then I started working again. Only to take a break in the evening, so I could at least see a part of the King’s Pageant, and get a tiny bit of food. After that, work again, until at midnight me and my colleagues finally put an end to it.