Official portrait photo, 2015
|King of the Netherlands|
|Reign||30 April 2013 – present|
|Inauguration||30 April 2013|
|Prime minister||Mark Rutte|
|Born||27 April 1967|
Utrecht University Hospital (now known as the University Medical Center Utrecht), Utrecht, Netherlands
Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (m. 2002)
|House|| Orange-Nassau (official)|
|Father||Claus von Amsberg|
|Mother||Beatrix of the Netherlands|
|Religion||Protestant Church in the Netherlands|
|* Member of the Dutch royal house|
Willem-Alexander (Dutch: [ˈʋɪləm aːlɛkˈsɑndər] ; born Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; 27 April 1967) is the King of the Netherlands, having ascended the throne following his mother's abdication in 2013.
Willem-Alexander was born in Utrecht as the oldest child of Princess Beatrix and diplomat Claus van Amsberg. He became Prince of Orange as heir apparent upon his mother's accession as queen on 30 April 1980, and succeeded her following her abdication on 30 April 2013. He went to public primary and secondary schools, served in the Royal Netherlands Navy, and studied history at Leiden University. He married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in 2002 and they have three daughters: Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (born 2003), Princess Alexia (born 2005), and Princess Ariane (born 2007).
Utrecht is the fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and in the very centre of mainland Netherlands, and had a population of 347.574 in 2018.
Prince of Orange is a title originally associated with the sovereign Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, Frederick William I of Prussia ceded the Principality of Orange to King Louis XIV of France. After William III of England died without children, a dispute arose between Johan Willem Friso and Frederick I of Prussia, which was settled in the Treaty of Partition (1732); consequently, Friso's son, William IV had to share use of the title "Prince of Orange" with Frederick William I of Prussia. The title is traditionally borne by the heir apparent of the Dutch monarch. The title descends via absolute primogeniture since 1983, meaning that its holder can be either Prince or Princess of Orange.
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in a line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displaced by the birth of a more eligible heir.
Willem-Alexander is interested in sports and international water management issues. Until his accession to the throne, he was a member of the International Olympic Committee (1998–2013),chairman of the Advisory Committee on Water to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment (2004–2013), and chairman of the Secretary-General of the United Nations' Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (2006–2013).
The International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894, it is the authority responsible for organising the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is the Dutch Ministry responsible for Transport, Aviation, Housing policy, Public works, Spatial planning, Land management and Water Management. The Ministry was created in 2010 as the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment following the merger of the Ministry of Transport and Water Management and the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. In 2017 the Ministry was renamed as the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the responsibilities for Environmental policy and Climate change policy were transferred to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General serves as the chief administrative officer of the United Nations. The role of the United Nations Secretariat, and of the Secretary-General in particular, is laid out by Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter.
Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand was born on 27 April 1967 at the Utrecht University Hospital (now known as the University Medical Center Utrecht) in Utrecht, Netherlands. He is the first child of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus,and the first grandchild of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard. He was the first male Dutch royal baby since the birth of Prince Alexander in 1851, and the first immediate male heir since Alexander's death in 1884.
The University Medical Center Utrecht is the main hospital of the city of Utrecht, Netherlands. It is affiliated with the Utrecht University. Since the foundation of the university in 1636 an academic hospital has existed in various forms. Nowadays the UMC Utrecht comprises the academic hospital, the faculty of Medicine as well as the Wilhelmina Children's hospital. In total approximately 10,000 people work at the UMCU including medical staff, nursing staff, residents, support personnel and researchers, making it one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
Alexander, Prince of Orange, was heir apparent to his father King William III of the Netherlands from 11 June 1879 until his death.
From birth, Willem-Alexander has held the titles Prince of the Netherlands (Dutch : Prins der Nederlanden), Prince of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Prins van Oranje-Nassau), and Jonkheer of Amsberg (Dutch: Jonkheer van Amsberg). He was baptised as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church on 2 September 1967 in Saint Jacob's Church in The Hague. His godparents are Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Gösta Freiin von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen, Ferdinand von Bismarck, former Prime Minister Jelle Zijlstra, Jonkvrouw Renée Röell, and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.
The House of Orange-Nassau, a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and Europe especially since William the Silent organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) led to an independent Dutch state.
Jonkheer is an honorific in the Low Countries denoting the lowest rank within the nobility. In the Netherlands, this in general concerns a prefix used by the untitled nobility. In Belgium, this is the lowest title within the nobility system, recognised by the Court of Cassation. It is the cognate and equivalent of the German noble honorific Junker, which was historically used throughout the German-speaking part of Europe, and to some extent also within Scandinavia.
He had two younger brothers: Prince Friso (1968–2013) and Prince Constantijn (born in 1969). He lived with his family at the castle Drakensteyn in the hamlet Lage Vuursche near Baarn from his birth until 1981, when they moved to the larger palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. His mother Beatrix became Queen of the Netherlands in 1980, after his grandmother Juliana abdicated. He then received the title of Prince of Orange as heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Lage Vuursche is a village in the municipality of Baarn in the Netherlands. It lies about 5 km west of Soest, surrounded by woods, in the province of Utrecht.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands, commonly known as the Netherlands, is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with the large majority of its territory in Western Europe and with several small island territories in the Caribbean Sea, in the West Indies islands.
Willem-Alexander attended Nieuwe Baarnse Elementary School in Baarn from 1973 to 1979. He went to three different secondary schools: the Baarns Lyceum in Baarn from 1979 to 1981, the Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum in The Hague from 1981 to 1983, and the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, the UK (1983 to 1985), from which he received his International Baccalaureate.
After his military service from 1985 to 1987, Willem-Alexander studied History at Leiden University from 1987 onwards and received his MA degree ( doctorandus ) in 1993.His final thesis was on the Dutch response to France's decision under President Charles de Gaulle to leave the NATO's integrated command structure.
Willem-Alexander speaks English, Spanish, French and German in addition to his native Dutch.
Between secondary school and his university education, Willem-Alexander performed military service in the Royal Netherlands Navy from August 1985 until January 1987. He received his training at the Royal Netherlands Naval College and the frigates HNLMS Tromp and HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, where he was an ensign. In 1988 he received additional training at the ship HNLMS Van Kinsbergen and became a lieutenant (junior grade) (wachtofficier).
As a reservist for the Royal Netherlands Navy, Willem-Alexander was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1995, Commander in 1997, Captain at Sea in 2001, and Commodore in 2005. As a reservist for the Royal Netherlands Army, he was made a Major (Grenadiers' and Rifles Guard Regiment) in 1995, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1997, Colonel in 2001, and Brigadier General in 2005. As a reservist for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, he was made Squadron Leader in 1995 and promoted to Air Commodore in 2005. As a reservist for the Royal Marechaussee, he was made Brigadier General in 2005.
Before his investiture as king in 2013, Willem-Alexander was honorably discharged from the armed forces. The government declared that the head of state cannot be a serving member of the armed forces, since the government itself holds supreme command over the armed forces. As king, Willem-Alexander may choose to wear a military uniform with royal insignia, but not with his former rank insignia.
Since 1985, when he became 18 years old, Willem-Alexander has been a member of the Council of State of the Netherlands. This is the highest council of the Dutch government and is chaired by the head of state (then Queen Beatrix).
King Willem-Alexander is interested in water management and sports issues. He was an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, a body established by the World Bank, the UN, and the Swedish Ministry of Development. He was appointed as the Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation on 12 December 2006.
On 10 October 2010, Willem-Alexander and Máxima went to the Netherlands Antilles' capital, Willemstad, to attend and represent his mother, the Queen, at the Antillean Dissolution ceremony.
He was a patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). After becoming King, he relinquished his membership and received the Gold Olympic Order at the 125th IOC Session.To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1928 Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam, he has expressed support to bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics.
He was a member of the supervisory board of De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank), a member of the Advisory Council of ECP (the information society forum for government, business and civil society), patron of Veterans' Day and held several other patronages and posts.
On 28 January 2013, Beatrix announced her intention of abdicating. On the morning of 30 April, Beatrix signed the instrument of abdication at the Moseszaal (Moses Hall) at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Later that afternoon, Willem-Alexander was inaugurated as king in front of the joint assembly of the States General in a ceremony held at the Nieuwe Kerk.
As king, Willem-Alexander has weekly meetings with the prime minister and speaks regularly with ministers and state secretaries. He also signs all new Acts of Parliament and royal decrees. He represents the kingdom at home and abroad. At the State Opening of Parliament, he delivers the Speech from the Throne, which announces the plans of the government for the parliamentary year. The Constitution requires that the king appoint, dismiss and swear in all government ministers and state secretaries. As king, he is also the chairman of the Council of State, an advisory body that reviews proposed legislation. In modern practice, the monarch seldom chairs council meetings.
At his accession at age 46, he was Europe's youngest monarch. On the inauguration of Spain's Felipe VI on 19 June 2014 he became, and remains, Europe's second-youngest monarch. He is also the first male monarch of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great-grandfather William III in 1890. Willem-Alexander was one of four new monarchs to take the throne in 2013 along with Pope Francis, the Emir Tamim bin Hamad of Qatar, and King Philippe of Belgium.
Willem-Alexander is an avid pilot and has said that if he had not been a royal, he would have liked to be an airline pilot so he could fly big planes such as the Boeing 747.During the reign of his mother, he regularly flew the Dutch royal airplane on trips.
In May 2017, Willem-Alexander revealed that he had served as a first officer on KLM flights for 21 years, flying KLM Cityhopper's Fokker 70s twice a month, even after his ascension to the throne. With KLM's phased retirement of the Fokker 70, he began training to fly Boeing 737s. Willem-Alexander was rarely recognized while in the KLM uniform and wearing the KLM cap, though a few passengers had recognized his voice, even though he never gave his name and only welcomed passengers on behalf of the captain and crew.
Using the name "W. A. van Buren", one of the least-known titles of the House of Orange-Nassau, he participated in the 1986 Frisian Elfstedentocht, a 200 kilometres (120 mi) long distance ice skating tour. He ran the New York City Marathon under the same pseudonym in 1992. Willem-Alexander completed both events.
On 2 February 2002, he married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Máxima is an Argentine woman of Basque, Portuguese and Italian ancestry, who prior to their marriage worked as an investment banker in New York City. The marriage triggered significant controversy due to the role the bride's father, Jorge Zorreguieta, had in the Argentinian military dictatorship. The couple have three daughters:
In an attempt to strike a balance between privacy for the royal family and availability to the press, the Netherlands Government Information Service (RVD) instituted a media code on 21 June 2005 which essentially states that:
During a ski vacation in Argentina, several photographs were taken of the prince and his family during the private part of their holiday, including one by Associated Press staff photographer Natacha Pisarenko, in spite of the media code, and after a photo opportunity had been provided earlier.The Associated Press decided to publish some of the photos, which were subsequently republished by several Dutch media. Willem-Alexander and the RVD jointly filed suit against the Associated Press on 5 August 2009, and the trial started on 14 August at the district court in Amsterdam. On 28 August, the district court ruled in favour of the prince and RVD, citing that the couple has a right to privacy; that the pictures in question add nothing to any public debate; and that they are not of any particular value to society since they are not photographs of his family "at work". Associated Press was sentenced to stop further publication of the photographs, on pain of a €1,000 fine per violation with a €50,000 maximum.
The royal family initially lived in Villa Eikenhorst on the De Horsten estate in Wassenaar. After the move of Princess Beatrix to the castle of Drakensteyn and a renovation, Willem-Alexander and his family moved to the palace of Huis ten Bosch in The Hague in 2019.
Willem-Alexander has a villa near Kranidi, Greece. Former actor Sean Connery has his own house nearby.
On 10 July 2008, the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima announced that they had invested in a development project on the Mozambican peninsula of Machangulo.The development project was aimed at building an ecologically responsible vacation resort, including a hotel and several luxury vacation houses for investors. The project was to invest heavily in the local economy of the peninsula (building schools and a local clinic) with an eye both towards responsible sustainability and maintaining a local staff. After contacting Mozambican President Armando Guebuza to verify that the Mozambican government had no objections, the couple decided to invest in two villas. In 2009, controversy erupted in parliament and the press about the project and the prince's involvement. Politician Alexander Pechtold questioned the morality of building such a resort in a poor country like Mozambique. After public and parliamentary controversy the royal couple announced that they decided to sell the property in Machangulo once their house was completed. In January 2012, it was confirmed that the villa had been sold.
His style and title, as appearing in preambles, is: "Willem-Alexander, by the Grace of God, King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, etc. etc. etc." The triple 'etc.' refers to the Dutch monarch's other titles.
Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king since Willem III, who died in 1890. Willem-Alexander had earlier indicated that when he became king, he would take the name Willem IV,but it was announced in January 2013 that his regnal name would be Willem-Alexander.
Through his father, a member of the House of Amsberg, he is descended from families of the lower German nobility, and through his mother, from several royal German/Dutch families such as the House of Lippe, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the House of Orange-Nassau, Waldeck and Pyrmont, and the House of Hohenzollern. He is descended from the first King of the Netherlands, William I of the Netherlands, who was also a ruler in Luxembourg and several German states, and all subsequent Dutch monarchs. By his mother, Willem-Alexander also descended from Paul I of Russia and thus from German princess Catherine the Great and Swedish king Gustav I. Through his father, he is also descended from several Dutch/Flemish families who left the Low Countries during Spanish rule, such as the Berenbergs. His paternal great-great-grandfather Gabriel von Amsberg (1822–1895), a Major-General of Mecklenburg, was recognized as noble as late as 1891, the family having adopted the "von" in 1795.
King Willem-Alexander is a descendant of King George II and, more relevant for his succession rights, of his granddaughter Princess Augusta of Great Britain. Under the British Act of Settlement, King Willem-Alexander temporarily forfeited his (distant) succession rights to the throne of the United Kingdom by marrying a Roman Catholic. This right has since been restored in 2015 under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013.
|Ancestors of Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands|
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands is a member of the Dutch Royal House who reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 30 April 1980 until her abdication on 30 April 2013.
Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg, was the husband of Queen Beatrix, and the Prince Consort of the Netherlands from Beatrix's ascension in 1980 until his death from Parkinson's disease and heart and respiratory ailments in 2002.
Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau was a younger brother of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Prince Friso was a member of the Dutch Royal Family, but because of his marriage without an Act of Consent in 2004, he lost his membership of the Dutch Royal House and was no longer in the line of succession to the throne.
Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands is the third and youngest son of the former Dutch queen, Beatrix, and her husband, Claus von Amsberg, and is the younger brother of the reigning Dutch king, Willem-Alexander. He is a member of the Dutch Royal House and currently fourth in the line of succession to the Dutch throne.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is an Argentine-Dutch royal who is the wife of King Willem-Alexander. On 30 April 2013, she became the first queen consort of the Netherlands since Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont and the first Latin American-born queen consort in the history of the Netherlands.
Princess Christina of the Netherlands is the youngest of four daughters of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.
Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange is the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of the countries of the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten.
Since 1983, the crown of the Netherlands passes according to absolute primogeniture. From 1814 until 1887, a monarch could only be succeeded by their closest female relative if there were no eligible male relatives. Male-preference cognatic primogeniture was adopted in 1887, though abolished when absolute primogeniture was introduced in 1983. Proximity of blood has been taken into consideration since 1922, when the constitution was changed to limit the line of succession to three degrees of kinship from the current monarch.
Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands is the wife of Prince Constantijn and sister-in-law of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.
Count Claus-Casimir of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg, is the second child of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and their only son. He is a member of the Dutch Royal Family and is sixth in the line of succession to the Dutch throne.
In the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the monarchy is a constitutional office and is controlled by the Constitution of the Netherlands. A distinction is made between members of the royal family and members of the royal house.
Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg, is the third child and second daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands. She is a member of the Dutch royal family and currently seventh in the line of succession to the Dutch throne.
Princess Ariane of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau is the third and youngest daughter of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. Princess Ariane is a member of the Dutch Royal House and currently third in the line of succession to the Dutch throne.
The monarchy of the Netherlands is the constitutional monarchy of the Netherlands. As such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the Constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a large portion of it is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the document describes the succession, mechanisms of accession and abdication to the throne, the roles and responsibilities of the monarch and the formalities of communication between the States General and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.
Amsberg is the name of a German noble family from Mecklenburg. A great-grandson of a blacksmith, parish pastor August Amsberg (1747–1820) started calling himself "von Amsberg" in 1795 and the family's right to use this name was confirmed by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1891. By this permission to use a noble privilege, the family effectively became part of the untitled lower nobility of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The present King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander is an agnatic member of this family.
The style of the Dutch sovereign has changed many times since the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands due to formations and dissolutions of personal unions, as well as due to marriages of female sovereigns and cognatic successions.
The inauguration of Willem-Alexander took place on 30 April 2013 at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Willem-Alexander ascended the throne immediately following the abdication of his mother Queen Beatrix earlier that day. Willem-Alexander is the first King of the Netherlands since the death of his great-great-grandfather William III in 1890.
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Willem-Alexander of the NetherlandsBorn: 27 April 1967
| King of the Netherlands |
Title last held byAlexander
| Prince of Orange |