Organisation - May 1, 2013

Long live the monarchy?

Text:
Suzanne Overbeek

On 30 April King Willem-Alexander will be installed and take over from Queen Beatrix. Does the royal family still have any added value? Or is the monarchy an outdated institution?

Crown prince (still) Willem-Alexander with his four princesses.
Hana Nobels-Sahusilawane
Secretary Plant Research International, from the Netherlands
''I grew up with the royal family and in my home the royals were really respected. Beatrix is a fantastic wo-man. Her birthday is on the same day as my mother's and that creates a bond. She has done a good job in the last few years. It is very demanding, being a queen. It takes up your whole life, so hats off to the royal family. I have complete con­fidence in Willem-Alexander. Máxima is a great persona­lity, with her straightforward, interested and warm attitude. She is a good example to people who have to in­tegrate in the Netherlands. That's a way of going about it!'
Ekaraj Paudel
PhD student of Food Process Engineering, from Nepal
'We used to have a monarchy until 10 years ago, but we don't have it anymore. Nowadays, the situation in my country is not stable, it is bad. It is worse now with the republic system, than when there was a king. Maybe the transition from a monarchy to a republic system is not finished yet; the situation in Nepal might get better. However, in my opinion it is always good to have a monarchy; it gives a nation its identity.'
Floor Biemans
Master's student of Animal Sciences, from the Netherlands
'The royal family is nonsense, it costs loads of money and only has symbolic value. There is no point in it. It doesn't interest me what they get up to all day. So I think it's a pity so much money is spent on them which could be put to better use. Members of the royal family are born into their positions; they are privileged without having to do anything to earn it. It would be better to have someone with charisma take over the job, someone who has studied and qualified to do it. As far as I'm concerned, the royal family can be done away with. And if we really must
keep them, then we should spend a few million less on them.'
Inomjon Babadjanov
Master's student of Environmental Sciences, from Uzbekistan
'Uzbekistan first had a president and nowadays it has a parliament. We can vote in the elections. That is good, that the citizens choose their government. I am happy that we do not have a monarchy. Though I think the king or queen does not have much power in the Netherlands, over here the main role is for the prime minister.'
Eva Drukker
Bachelor's student of Biology, from Belgium
'I hardly notice the royal family and I don't get the impression that they really do anything at all. You hear absolutely nothing about the Belgian royal family, and a little bit about the Dutch one. You really only hear anything if something happens to the royal family and then they go on and on about it on the news. When Queen Beatrix - with her hat on - visits distant countries, it is funny that she is representing the Netherlands. Everyone abroad loves here and that is nice. In that sense and for the sake of Queen's Day, it does have its charm to have a monarchy.'
Bright Boakye-Yiadom
VHL student of Lifestyle Chain, from Ghana
'Ghana has a kind of monarchy, but not like the Netherlands. Ghana has a hierarchy of monarchies, with separate tribal monarchies. Monarchy keeps society in check, gives values to people and stands for what people believe in. Monarchy is good for the people, it helps them to understand traditions and unite themselves, know where they came from. It protects and keeps people together. It makes sure that people behave and interact with each other. It is good, it gives a sense of belonging.'
Mengxi Bian
Master's student of Food Quality Management, from China
'I heard about the queen of the Netherlands a few days ago, that she is the figurehead of the country but does not really do anything. In China there is a president. When people suffer from something bad, the president takes care of them. I think a queen does the same? The president in China is not really chosen by the people either. The president is designated by the previous president, mainly by the government. So I don't know what is better, it is actually quite similar.'
John Schouten
Canteen manager at De Bongerd Sports Centre, from the Netherlands
'It's fine that there is a royal family, it is nice for ceremonies, cutting ribbons and all that. But it doesn't have much added value beyond that. I do think it's good for the Netherlands to have a royal family though, and I don't see it as a waste of money. Greece and Cyprus: that is a waste of money. Queen Máxima will be coming to Wageningen on 5 May and everyone is excited about it. It is nice of them to drop in for a quarter of an hour. Máxima is a pretty girl and I wouldn't mind having a beer with Willem-Alexander.' 

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