Prinsjesdag ('Prince's Day') represents the start of the new parliamentary year on which the reigning monarch of the Netherlands addresses a joint session of the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives in the Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights in The Hague.
Every third Tuesday in September at the stroke of one, the King, normally accompanied by other members of the Royal House, leaves Noordeinde Palace in the Glass Carriage for the Binnenhof, escorted by court dignitaries and a military escort of honour. Outside the palace stand an escort of honour and a military band.
The procession route runs this year from Noordeinde Palace via the Heulstraat, Kneuterdijk, Lange Voorhout, Lange Houtstraat, Plein, to the Binnenhof and back again. The King and his family depart from Noordeinde Palace at approximately 13.00 hrs. and then the procession begins. He departs again from the Ridderzaal at 14.00 hrs. for Noordeinde Palace where the balkonscène then takes place.
In the Ridderzaal the King reads the 'Speech from the Throne', written jointly by the Ministers and Secretaries of State. This troonrede outlines the government's financial plans for the coming year. When the Speech is finished, the escort of honour again forms in the Binnenhof, and the procession returns to Noordeinde Palace where the Royal Family traditionally salutes the gathered crowd from the balcony ('balkonscène').
There is no charge for watching the Golden Coach proceed along its route, but the best views are from one of the grandstands along the Lange Voorhout. You can book tickets and arrangements at the Tourist Information Centre (VVV) in The Hague.
This year the festivities will already begin in the days leading up to Prinsjesdag with the Prinsjesfestival. The festivities include:
- practice exercise with horses on the Lange Voorhout
- Prince's Hatwalk show and market on Lange Voorhout
- final run-through for Prinsjesdag
- large-scale exercise with horses on Scheveningen beach
- Prinsjesdag concert by the Residentie Orkest
Prior to and on Prinsjesdag a number of streets in the city centre will be closed to traffic. Visitors are advised to use public transportation or take their bicycle to The Hague.