Three days before she turns 75, Queen Beatrix announces her abdication in favour of her son Prince Willem-Alexander. She has been the monarch of the Netherlands since 1980 when her mother abdicated at age 70.
It’s considered quite normal for a reigning monarch to abdicate in this way, so there will not be a constitutional crisis of any sort. There has been speculation on and off for some years over whether/when she would abdicate, the only “official” answer I ever heard was that she would give the young family time to grow before giving them such responsibility. When I saw that Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima were both with her on a state visit to Brunei I wondered if it would be this year.
In her speech the Queen gave her reasons as it being time for a younger generation to take over. Prince Willem-Alexander will be crowned on 30 April this year as King – the first King of the Netherlands in more than a century. 30 April is Konininnedag – or Queen’s Day, but this year will be the last Queen’s Day. From 2014 we will instead celebrate Koningsdag – King’s Day, on the 27th of April which is Prince Willem-Alexander’s birthday (although since that is a Sunday in 2014 we will celebrate on Saturday the 26th).
The Dutch are, in general, found of their royal family and I think the whole country will feel this as an end of an era.