Prinsjesfestival celebrates democracy, because living in a democracy is a privilege and not self-evident. The festival is organized around Prinsjesdag and adds to the significance of Prinsjesdag. Prinsjesdag happens every year on the third Tuesday in September and is the highlight of Dutch democracy. During Prinsjesdag, the budget and next year’s political policy plans are announced by the government through a speech delivered by the King to the two houses of parliament. The event is surrounded by a lot of ceremonial glamor such as the King’s arrival in a golden horse carriage (the “Gouden Koets”). Every year the Prinsjesfestival offers in the week prior to Prinsjesdag several public events with the support of more than 100 volunteers. The Prinsjesfestival consists of a broad range of festive events around the theme of democracy.
Prinsjesfestival is an initiative of the Foundation Prinsjesfestival. This Foundation is approved as a “not for profit & general interest organization (“ANBI”). The foundation consists of the board and is supported by a supervisory board, advisory boards for the program content, juries for the various competitions and volunteer leaders of the various activities.
Prinsjesfestival would not exist without the support of our volunteers and generous financial support of Prinsjesfestival-Friends en Prinsjesfestival-Partners. Would you like to join our group of Prinsjesfestival Friends or Partners, please be in touch. We offer several opportunities to raise your profile in the context of Prinsjesfestival.
Prinsjesfestival has a yearly changing theme. The 2017 theme was “Time to find each other; polarization and pacification 1917-2017”. The centennial of the “pacification” refers to the end of a very long political debate in Dutch politics about school funding and voting powers for the broader population.
Thanks to the pacification in 1917 a long struggle between different political factions, split by religion and politics, came to an end leading to equal financial support for public and denominated schools, general elections for the entire population and equal representation. After 1917 the denominated parties (Christian) were the dominant factor in politics for a very long time which ended at the night of Mr. Schmelzer. During the “night of Schmelzer”, Mr. Schmelzer withdrew support from a coalition government during nightly parliamentary debates and the subsequent elections in 1967 are a turning point in Dutch politics. The religious parties lost their majority and new parties appeared in the political spectrum, such as D’66.
During the 21st century the voters are no longer loyal and move much more than in the previous century. New political parties have come in existence and generate a lot of support. Less loyalty and polarization possibly signifies increased political involvement as well. In comparison to other countries the trust of the population in Dutch politics is still relatively high. However, critical and involved citizens remain a key factor for the survival of our democracy.
Every year Prinsjesfestival hosts one of the Dutch provinces as a special guest to The Hague and this year it is Drenthe’s turn. The objective is to connect the political capital with the rest of the country and show that politics and democracy are not just something for The Hague, but something for the entire population.
In 2017 the province of Drenthe organized a wide range of meetings with politicians like MP’s, business representatives, experts, the media and the younger generations. Drenthe emphasized its forward-looking strategies, its agricultural sector, innovative industries and how it manages its space and energy industry. Drenthe, also showed how it cooperates successfully with its neighbor Germany. Especially on Saturday September 16th Drenthe presented itself on the Lange Voorhout, during the Prinsjesmarkt, and showed what draws visitors and tourists to this magnificent province.