News, Politics

The Netherlands Gets Its First King In 123 Years

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Willem-Alexander, the new king of Holland and his mother.
Willem-Alexander, the new king of the Netherlands and his mother. Image: Floris Looijesteijn.

On Tuesday, the people of the Netherlands got a new king.

That’s because their queen, Queen Beatrix, abdicated the throne.

Abdicated means she stepped down—stopped being queen—to let her son take over the throne and become king.

Her eldest son is Willem-Alexander; he was Crown Prince and now is King.

Canada and the Netherlands have a connection.

During World War II, Beatrix’s family lived in Ottawa, Ont., Canada’s capital city, for five years.

Beatrix’s younger sister, Margriet, was born in Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943.

At that time, a “federal proclamation” was made to declare the maternity (birthing) ward of the hospital “extraterritorial.” In other words, the room in which Margriet was born was declared neutral ground. That’s so the new royal baby would obtain Dutch citizenship through her parents, rather than Dutch plus Canadian (dual) citizenship because she was born in Canada.

The Dutch royal family thanked Canada for allowing them to live in Ottawa during the war by giving Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs. They continue to send the bulbs each year to Canada. The tulip bulbs form the basis for Ottawa’s stunning annual tulip festival.

Beatrix has been Queen of the Netherlands for 33 years.

“Queen Beatrix is widely admired in the Netherlands,” says Carolyn Harris, an expert on royal families. “When the Queen opened parliament each year, Dutch spectators often wore elaborate hats just like the monarch.”

Beatrix is the third person in a row in the Netherlands to abdicate the throne—her grandmother and her mother also stepped down.

Willem-Alexander is the first king the Netherlands has had in 123 years.

Related link
Carolyn Harris is an expert on royal families. She blogs at Carolyn Harris: Royal Historian.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Paul McGoey

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you were a king or a queen, would you step down before you had to and let your child take over? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Reading Unfamiliar Words
In partners, read the story aloud, switching every paragraph.  When you reach a word that you don’t know how to pronounce, write it down. Afterwards, join your group with another group and compare the lists of words you don’t know.

Are there any words you didn’t how to pronounce, but someone else did?  Are there any words that someone else had trouble with that you feel confident with?  Are there any words you still need to ask the teacher about?

Junior
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different type of cues (OCE, Reading, 3.2)

Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different type of cues, including graphoponic cues (OCE, Reading, 3.2)

Grammar Feature: Proper Nouns
A noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea.  A proper noun is a special type of noun – it refers to a specific noun.  For example, “boy” is a noun, but “Doug” is a proper noun.  The first letter of proper nouns should be capitalized.

How many proper nouns do you count in the story? Make a t-chart in your notebook with “people” on one side and “places” on the other side.  In the chart, write down three proper nouns of people and places from the article.