‘Protest on Budget Day unusual, but not surprising due to polarization’

Boos and demonstrators who raise their middle fingers and shout “traitor”towards King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Amalia. Thedemonstration at the driving tour and the balcony scene was unique forPrinsjesdag, but given the polarization in society not a surprise to everyone.

The inverted Dutch flags and the booing towards the Glass Coach were not to bemissed. “There is clearly less cheering than in previous years,” said HansJacobs, royal journalist – with a sense of understatement – in the broadcaston NPO 1. After the tour, the police reported that five demonstrators had beenarrested, including for insulting. Six tractors have been seized.

orange party

“Let’s not forget that it is very unusual to demonstrate on Prinsjesdag”, saysJacquelien van Stekelenburg, professor of social change and conflict at VUUniversity Amsterdam. “In general, this is precisely a day when the Orangistsgo out on the street. It is really an Orange party.”

Still, she is not surprised by the protest. “The relationship between certaingroups and the government is so tense that it is not surprising that they alsomake their voices heard on Prinsjesdag. This day is a symbol for governmentpolicy.”

Spectators of the tour react to the protest in varying ways:

Demonstrations during Prinsjesdag driving tour: ‘Is their right, but a pity’

Van Stekelenburg points out that there were also large-scale protests atanother event in which the main characters were mainly applauded until then:”We also saw this arise during the arrival of Sinterklaas.”

Much of the anger related to the cabinet’s nitrogen plans, which is notsurprising to the professor. “Because the farmers also experience thispolarization with The Hague very much. They had also driven tractors to TheHague several times. The fact that they did that again today does not surpriseme.”


Prime Minister Rutte calls “ridiculous” that some protesters called “traitor”to the king. He said it was understandable for people to express their anger:”But I’m not going to justify that people call the king a traitor.”

By the way, according to him, most of the protests were orderly:

Rutte thinks calling from ‘traitor’ to king is ridiculous

According to Jacquelien van Stekelenburg, the fact that the demonstrators seemto be aiming directly at Willem-Alexander with raised middle finger andcalling “traitors” does not automatically mean that they are against the king.”I think they see him more as representing the politicians they’re so mad at.”

While driving past the Glass Carriage, some of the protesters continued tochant: “Revolution! Revolution!” That too is often not meant literally, saysthe professor.

“We have done a lot of research in the past on groups of protesters. Ingeneral, only a small part actually want a revolution. Most strive for changeswithin the system and within the boundaries of the rule of law.”

The protest was among others at the Council of State, where Princess Beatrixwatched the tour:

Boos and inverted flags during driving tour

The cheering and whistling made it a lot more restless for the horses pullingthe carriages and carriages than on a usual Prinsjesdag. The fact that theycontinued fairly undisturbed is partly due to their training. As early as May,they practiced with a brass band that started to play louder, says royal housejournalist Hans Jacobs. “That training has been extra necessary this year.”