I was out of the country avoiding the Queen’s Day madness, so the first I knew of the tragedy in Appeldoorn was a very cryptic message appearing on my phone from a colleague. It wasn’t until late Thursday that I caught up with the news on CNN.
If you haven’t heard of the events, a man drove his car through crowds gathered for Queen’s Day, killing six people and injuring others. He died of injuries sustained on Friday in hospital. His target was apparently Prince Willem Alexander, the crown prince and Princess Maxima. But it seems he acted more out of depression or desperation than out of a thought-out political motivation.
The attack has shocked Dutch people; the Dutch Royal Family are politically neutral and generally popular, even people who are not royalists have affection for the members of the royal family. That this should happen on Queen’s Day (the Queen’s official birthday) makes it even more shocking. Queen’s Day is a national holiday which is very much a national street party. Each year the royal family visits a different city or town to celebrate, and they do so by touring the city and taking part in parades, small competitions, and watching concerts. It’s very low key and, well, human.
Here’s a filmclip for those who haven’t already seen it.
The Royal Family have already been busy visiting the survivors, and a condolence book has been signed. They’ve also announced that there will be no change to the way they celebrate Queen’s Day, an announcement met with approval by the Dutch I’ve spoken to.
You can give your opinion online at Dutchnews.nl
It will be the same, but different. Security was stepped up (I think the number of police was doubled) for tonight’s remembrance ceremony.