WHY I'M A REPUBLICAN*
*No, not like that. Relax. Let me explain.
- •Tomorrow, April 27th, is the Netherlands' biggest national holiday: Kingsday. It is the day we celebrate the birthday of our king Willem-Alexander, and the royal family in general.These are our most important royals. Top left is the king, top middle is queen Máxima, top right is our former queen Beatrix, who passed the crown to her son three years ago. The kids in the bottom row are 'our' princesses.
- •Up until 2013 it was Queensday for over a century, because, well, we only had queens during that period.
- •This is a day off for most people, so they can go out and celebrate. People go crazy for it. The whole country basically turns orange, our national color (Donald Trump would love it).I also mentioned it in this list: COOL THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM (WHEN YOU DON'T SMOKE NOR PLAN TO VISIT THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT)
- •I, however, am not a big fan. Not because I'm against having a national day of celebration, not at all. I'll be having a couple of beers myself.
- •I'm not a fan, because I believe that it is completely ridiculous that the Netherlands is still a constitutional monarchy in 2016. It's a completely outdated concept. We are supposed to be this modern and progressive country, yet we still have inbred overlords. To quote comedian Paul F. Tompkins: "This year starts with a 2, that's nuts."Though actual inbreeding hasn't happened in a few generations (I think), it's still how all royal houses started. I just enjoy the way it sounds.
- •We are paying them millions every year from our tax money, simply because they happened to be born or married into a certain family. They don't pay any taxes themselves. There is no rational argument to be made to justify this.
- •The Dutch royal family is even the most expensive royal family in Western Europe, research shows (not even including the costs of their security). This include the British royal family, mind you. That's not a joke. Especially relative to the population, our royal family costs tax payers more than the Windsors cost the Brits.This year we're giving our royals a budget of €40.6 million (or $45.9 million). Queen Elizabeth et al actually mostly aren't funded by tax money anymore. From what I've gathered only prince Phillip still gets a state grant of less than 1 million (in €, $, and £). @DawnCloud or @alexim, please correct me if I'm wrong.
- •Huis Ten Bosch, the palace the king, queen, and their three daughters are moving into in 2018, is currently being renovated for a whopping €59 million ($66.7 mil). All tax money, obviously. Both during and after the renovations the palace will barely be accessible to the public. You know, the people who paid for it.
- •You would think people who get paid that much in tax money to represent the country must wield great political power and influence, right? Well here's the thing: you're wrong. The king's political power is very minimal. His position is literally just a formality.He and his wife go on state visits, just like our prime minister. They do not get more done than he does, or anything like that. He does sign laws and treaties to make them official, but as mentioned, all merely as a formality. He does not have actual power over these things.
- •So in summation, we spend a shitload of money on people just because they belong to a specific family, who don't really hold any power. People who are not chosen by the public to be in their privileged position, who did nothing to earn any of it. They're just there.
- •So this is why I am, in the Dutch sense of the word, a republican. I would like to get rid of the archaic institution that is the Dutch monarchy, and replace it with a republic.I have very little in common with American republicans, besides the fact that I'm complaining about how tax money is spent in this case.
- •I am, however, in the minority when it comes to that. There hasn't been a referendum about this in a long time, but polls keep showing a strong support for the royals. People here love their traditions, however outdated (or they just don't care enough about it to want it to change). So chances of a republican movement picking up steam are slim.Anti-royal protesters on days like these often get detained by police, which is a violation of their rights. They never get charged, they're often just put in a police van until the event is over. This is really not okay, and really angers me.
- •So there you go. I'm a republican. I said it. And with that I will end this lesson about Dutch politics and our royals. Happy Kingsday, everybody!