All change for Dutch stamps as Queen Beatrix abdicates


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30 April 2013
imports_CCGB_queenbeatrix1980corona_49527.jpg Queen Beatrix 1980 coronation stamp
The abdication of Queen Beatrix means the end of an era, for both the Dutch monarchy and Dutch stamps, as Adrian Keppel reveals ...
In January, just days before her 75th birthday, Queen Beatrix announced her abdication, stating that it as time the reign of her country would be passed on to a younger generation.

Her son, the prince of orange, William-Alexander, became King on 30 April, 2013, exactly 33 years after her mother became Queen in 1980.

Back then, the inauguration – Dutch monarchs don’t get crowned, so technically, this isn’t a coronation – was marked with a special stamp depicting the Nieuwe Kerk where the ceremony took place and a portrait of the new queen. This was a photograph taken by her husband, Prince Claus. It showed her smiling relaxed into the camera, living up to her reputation as the ‘princess with the smile’.

Throughout Beatrix’s reign, only one definitive design was used. It was introduced in 1981, and consisted of a portrait of dots by Peter Struycken. Struycken wanted to create an impersonal, abstract image by using dots, which are emotionless pointless forms, to symbolise royalty as being above the people, slightly aloof, and instantly familiar and engrained in Dutch society. Queen Beatrix, a passionate admirer of modern art, was very much taken with this design.

The two Dutch stamps issued to mark the ‘Changing of the Guard’Several, more traditional, stamps were issued to mark various anniversaries of Beatrix’s reign. In 1992, a single stamp was issued to mark the 12½th anniversary of her reign. The stamp shows the formal side through the inauguration portrait and a more informal side with a photograph taken on Queen’s Day when Beatrix used to go out and visit several places within the country.

Beatrix’s Silver Jubilee in 2005 was marked with a miniature sheet including five stamps which showed various events throughout her reign.

With Beatrix’s abdication there comes an end to more than just her reign, it also means the end of more than a century of ‘Women of Orange’. Ever since 1890 there had been a queen on the Dutch throne, a remarkable fact which was celebrated in 1990 with a centenary stamp.

The ‘changing of the guard’ was marked by two stamps, the first was issued on 25 March, depicting Queen Beatrix, in a miniature sheet which includes a photograph from her inauguration. The second part will follow in mid-May and will include a stamp portraying the new king, with a photograph of his inauguration on the miniature sheet.

Soon after the inauguration, the Struycken definitives will be replaced with a provisional definitive portraying King Willem-Alexander, with a proper new definitive set following in November.

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