When the sun sets over the Netherlands on Monday evening, it will do so on the illustrious reign of Queen Beatrix, monarch of the country for the past 33 years. The next morning will usher in a new dawn for the Dutch royal family as Beatrix officially abdicates from the throne and her son Willem-Alexander is crowned King. It's a day the country has long been preparing for, as the Dutch people come together to celebrate the loyalty and devotion shown to them by their Queen, and also look forward to their future under a new ruler.
Amsterdam, the scene of the celebrations, has been decked out to befit the momentous occasion. Buildings and statues have been regally adorned with streamers and balloons in red, white, blue and orange — the national colours — while flags proudly hang from almost every corner of the city, not to mention the buses and trams that travel through the streets.Banners have also been displayed bearing the initials W A, in honour of the new King Willem-Alexander, while shop windows are laden with memorabilia and trinkets to mark the event.
Many people have also chosen to decorate their homes, keen to play their part in Dutch royal history.Come Tuesday, the world will turn to Amsterdam to watch as Willem-Alexander ascends to the throne, alongside his wife, Princess Maxima. It is an occasion that will be celebrated far beyond the Dutch borders, and an array of royals have already confirmed their attendance.