Birthday: April 27, 1967
Emperors & Kings
Age: 53 Years, 53 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands, Willem-Alexander
Born in: University Medical Center Utrecht
Famous as: King of the Netherlands
Height: 1.83 m
Spouse/Ex-: Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (m. 2002)
father: Prince Claus of the Netherlands
mother: Beatrix of the Netherlands
siblings: Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau
children: Catharina-Amalia, Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, Princess Ariane of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange
education: Leiden University
King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands is the second-youngest monarch in Europe after Felipe VI of Spain. The king took over the throne in 2013, after his mother stepped down as the queen. Before becoming the new king of Netherlands, he was the prince of Orange. He also served in the ‘Royal Netherlands Navy’ before ascending to the throne. He was honorably discharged from the army after the government declared that the head of the state could not be a serving member of the armed forces. He was also a member of the ‘International Olympic Committee’ from 1998 to 2013. As a chairman, he has contributed to the betterment of boards and committees such as the ‘Advisory Committee on Water to the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment’ from 2004 to 2013 and the ‘United Nations Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation’ from 2006 to 2013. His contribution to such organizations clearly shows his interest and passion toward water conversation, sanitation, and management. He swore in as the king of Netherlands on April 30, 2013.
Childhood & Early Life
Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand was born on April 27, 1967, at the ‘Utrecht University Hospital,’ now the ‘Universal Medical Center,’ in Utrecht, Netherlands. The oldest child of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus, Willem-Alexander is also the first grandchild of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.
The first Dutch royal baby after the birth of Prince Alexander in 1851, Willem was baptised on September 2, 1967, at ‘St. Jacob’s Church,’ Hague. He has two brothers, Prince Friso and Prince Constantijn.
As a child, Willem-Alexander lived in ‘Drakensteyn Castle’ in Lage Vuursche until 1981. Following this, he and his family moved to the ‘Huis ten Bosch’ in The Hague.
After his grandmother abdicated the throne in 1980, his mother became the queen of Netherlands. Willem-Alexander, thus, became the prince of Orange.
He also held the title of ‘Jonkheer of Amsberg’ before becoming the king of Netherlands. He attended the ‘Nieuwe Baarnse Elementary School’ in Barn from 1973 to 1979.
He then joined the ‘Baarns Lyceum’ in Baarn in 1979. He left ‘Baarns Lyceum’ in 1981, to join the ‘Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum’ in The Hague.
In 1983, he joined the ‘United World College of the Atlantic’ in Wales, UK. He graduated in 1985 and received his ‘International Baccalaureate.’
For the next two years, he dedicated himself to military services. He studied at the ‘Royal Netherlands Naval College.’
Thereafter, he attended ‘Leiden University’ to study history. He earned his MA in 1993.
Willem-Alexander is fluent in English, Spanish, German, and French, apart from his native language, Dutch.
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From 1985 to 1987, Willem-Alexander took a break from his formal education to participate in military services in the ‘Royal Netherlands Navy.’ He was trained at the ‘Royal Netherlands Naval College.’
He was an ensign at the ‘HNLMS Tromp’ and the ‘HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen’ before being trained at the ‘HNLMS Van Kinsbergen’ to become a lieutenant of junior grade.
He continued getting promoted in the ‘Royal Netherlands Navy.’ With time, he became a lieutenant commander (1995), a commander (1997), a captain at sea (2001), and a commodore (2005).
As a reservist in the ‘Royal Netherlands Army,’ he became a major (the ‘Grenadiers’ and the Rifles Guard Regiment’) in 1995. He was then promoted to the posts of lieutenant colonel (1997), colonel (2001), and brigadier general (2005).
He was made the squadron leader of the ‘Royal Netherlands Air Force’ in 1995, and in 10 years, he became the air commodore. He became a brigadier general for the ‘Royal Marechaussee’ in 2005.
He was honorably discharged from the military services in 2013, after the government declared that the head of the state could not be a serving member of the armed forces. The government held supreme command over the army.
Queen Beatrix announced her abdication on April 30, 2013 after she signed the instrument of abdication at the ‘Royal Palace of Amsterdam.’ Willem-Alexander was immediately sworn in as the new king of Netherlands.
The inauguration ceremony was held at the ‘Nieuwe Kerk,’ in front of the joint assembly of the ‘States General.’ He ascended to the throne at the age of 46, which makes him the second-youngest monarch of Europe, the youngest being Spain’s Felipe VI, who swore in as the monarch on June 19, 2004.
He is also the first male monarch of the Netherlands after the death of William III in 1890. William III was the great-great-grandfather of Willem-Alexander.
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He was one of the four new monarchs who took to the throne in 2013, along with Pope Francis, the Emir Tamim bin Hamad of Qatar, and King Philippe of Belgium. As a king, he holds the responsibility of meeting the prime minister on a weekly basis, signing all the acts of the parliament and all royal decrees, and meetings state ministers and secretaries.
He also holds the power of appointing, dismissing, and swearing in the ministers and state secretaries. He is the main representative of his nation, at home and abroad.
He announces the yearly plans and strategies of the government via his speech that he delivers at the ‘State Opening of Parliament.’ He is also the ‘Council of State’ and is responsible for reviewing proposed legislations.
He has a strong passion for conserving water and its management. He was an honorary member of the ‘World Commission on Water for the 21st Century’ and a patron of the ‘Global Water Partnership,’ a body formed by the ‘UN,’ the ‘World Bank,’ and the ‘Swedish Ministry of Development.’
He was also made the chairperson of the ‘United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation’ on December 12, 2006. He is also known for having a considerable interest in sports.
He was a patron of the ‘Dutch Olympic Games Committee’ and soon became a member of the ‘International Olympic Committee’ (IOC). He later quit but was awarded the ‘Gold Olympic Order’ at the 125th ‘IOC Session.’
His love for flying planes is not hidden from the world. He volunteered for the ‘African Medical Research and Education Foundation’ (AMREF) in Kenya in 1989. He also spent a month flying for ‘Kenya Wildlife Service’ in 1991.
He would often fly the Dutch royal airplanes when his mother was the queen. He served as a co-pilot for ‘KLM’ for 21 years.
He claims that he also began training for flying ‘Boeing 737s’ after training in flying the ‘KLM Cityhopper's Fokker 70s.’ He also participated in the 1986 ‘Frisian Elfstedentocht,’ a 200-kilometer-long ice skating tour under his least-used royal name, ‘W A van Buren.’
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He also ran the ‘New York City Marathon’ in 1992 under the same name.
Awards & Achievements
He received the ’Gold Olympic Order’ from the ‘IOC.’ He has also received national honors such as the ‘Eleven Cities Cross,’ the ‘Officer Long Service Cross,’ and the ‘Queen Beatrix Inauguration Medal.’
He is the ‘Honorary Commander of the Order of Saint John in the Netherlands.’ He is also the ‘Grand Master’ of many national honors, such as the ‘Military William Order,’ the ‘Order of Orange-Nassau,’ the ‘Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau,’ the ‘Order of the Crown,’ and the ‘Order for Loyalty and Merit.’
He has also received numerous international honors such as France’s ‘Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur,’ or the ‘Order of the Legion of Honor,’ Germany’s ‘Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany,’ and Italy’s ‘Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.’
In 2002, he married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti at the ‘Nieuwe Kerk’ in Amsterdam. Máxima worked as an investment banker in New York before marrying him.
The royal couple has three daughters, namely, Princess of Orange Catharina-Amalia, (born on 7 December 2003), Princess Alexia (born on 26 June 2005), and Princess Ariane (born on 10 April 2007). Catharina-Amalia is next in the line of succession to the royal throne.
On June 21, 2005, a media code issued by the ‘Netherlands Government Information Service’ (RVD) laid down regulations for the protection of the royal family’s privacy. In spite of the media code, several photographs were taken by the media, including one by ‘Associated Press’ staff photographer Natacha Pisarenko. The photo showed the king and his family enjoying a vacation in Argentina.
The king and ’RVD’ filed a lawsuit against ‘Associated Press’ on August 5, 2009. The court ruled in the favor of the king. ‘Associated Press’ was asked to stop further publication of the photos and was to be fined €1,000 for each violation, with a maximum of €50,000.
The royal family currently lives at ‘Villa Eikenhorst’ on the ‘De Horsten Estate’ in Wassenaar.