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Koninginnedag 2009

Something very strange has happened, just about an hour ago. It's Queen's Day in The Netherlands, our most national of national holidays, comparable perhaps to Bastille Day in France or the 4th of July in the US. On this day, the Queen and her (extended) family are wont to join in the celebrations in various parts of the country, and this year they were in the town of Apeldoorn. TV coverage of the morning followed the usual pattern of the arrival of Her Majesty, the princes and princesses and their welcome by local dignitaries, and the walkabout through the town where the royals shook hands and received bouquets and drawings made for them by children who had been waiting hours already along the route, and joined in various activities such as golf and abseiling (some of the princes, of course; you wouldn't see the Queen climb a rope or something). After a while, they boarded an open-top coach that would take them to the nearby palace of Het Loo, where a so-called defilé was planned. Then just as the coach arrived at a crossing, a black Suzuki came careening through the crowds and narrowly missing a collision with the royal party, came to a stop at the monument in the centre of that crossing.

No one knows where that car came from, and how it could have gotten through security. The roads had been blocked off for the royal cortege, after all. The media are still referring to it as 'an accident', but it could of course have been something much more sinister than that.

All we know is at the moment, there are 14 people seriously injured, and an unconfirmed report says that there's one fatality. All further festivities in Apeldoorn have been cancelled, and the royal family has been advised not to venture out in public again today.



( 26 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Apr. 30th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
O.O Eep.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
On reflection, I think 'eep' is exactly the right expression to use.
Apr. 30th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
That's terrible! I hope the fatality will not be confirmed, and that it really was just an accident.
Apr. 30th, 2009 11:37 am (UTC)
One of the paramedics on the scene has just confirmed that someone has died on that crossing, and it's looking increasingly like what's happened was a deliberate act. It's a very sad end to what had been a lovely morning up to that point.
Apr. 30th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
What the fuck is wrong with people that they would do something like that? :(
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
Apparently, this man's motivation was that he'd recently lost his job...No, I don't get it, either.
Apr. 30th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)
Oh no.

What a terrible thing. I hope they catch who did this and that some answers are found. I'm so sorry, what a shock it must be for all of you.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
They got him out of the car within the first half hour. They had to saw the roof off and all I could see was his head covered in blood, but I think he was still alive the so maybe if he still is, they might be able to question him later.

But it was horrible to be watching telly and all of a sudden there's bodies flying through the air and the shock on the faces of the princesses...Life sometimes is really stranger than fiction.
Apr. 30th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. That's terrible, and what an awful way to end a holiday.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
Indeed. It's been a really strange day. 17 people injured, 5 of them dead now, and all because one man apparently couldn't come to terms with losing his job and thought he'd feel better if he could somehow kill the Queen.

May. 12th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
I'm just reading this, and didn't see it in any headlines. How horrible!
May. 15th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
The final tally's stopped at 7 (8 if you include the driver) dead, and 15 injured. It's not a massive deathtoll and worse things happen at sea, but -due in part to the fact that the events happened live on television when most of us were watching, no doubt- it's impacted the nation hugely. An attack on the Queen, or any member of the House of Orange really, is just so inconceivable and incomprehensible to us, and we shudder to think what might have happened.

In the week following, the Queen had two more public engagements and security had been tightened; but things had pretty much returned to normal 10 days after the events of Koninginnedag when ona third outing, people could approach her again as she took a stroll in an Amsterdam suburb during one of her official visits.
Apr. 30th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
Jeez looez! People are just so incredibly messed up these days, or they seem to be anyway.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
It seems the man responsible was a 'quiet, unobtrusive individual, who had recently lost his job' according to his neighbours. The 38-year old is seriously ill in hospital, but he appears to have admitted to police that it had been his intention to plow his car into the royal coach...he just missed them by a few seconds.

Those poor people he's mowed down and killed, though...how awful for their families. The Queen made a televised address this afternoon, and she was clearly shaken. I hope this doesn't mean security will get so tight around her and the other royals that they won't be able to go out in public anymore. I quite like to see them out and about on the streets; there's something reassuringly normal about that.

Edited at 2009-04-30 09:39 pm (UTC)
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Read that! 4 dead and lots of fear. So sorry such a lovely event had to become a tragedy.

Apr. 30th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
It's five people dead now, and some still seriously ill in hospital.

I did go out afterwards, as I'd arranged to meet friends and celebrate in Amsterdam, but it was a strange subdued kind of festivities with nobody really sure what had happened but everyone it seemed determined to not 'let the bastards' spoil their day. Then in the early evening, messages flashed up on screens all over Amsterdam city centre urging people to go home 'out of respect for the dead in Apeldoorn', and so what should have been a day of fun and festivities ended on a really bum note.
May. 1st, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
Any further word on the why's? I last read that it was not an accident according to authorities.

Glad you went out after all.

May. 1st, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Any further word on the why's?

Not really. Since the driver of the car died in hospital earlier today, all we will ever have is conjecture. Apart from his confession that he had intended to ram the royal coach, all we know is he was a 38-year old security guard from Huissen near Arnhem who had lost his job a month or two ago. It seems he was a loner who no one really knew.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
God how awful. :(
Apr. 30th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't want to be that man when he comes to his senses and realises the enormity of what he's done.
Apr. 30th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)
How terrible. What kind of person goes and wrecks other peoples' lives like that? Gah.

And how sad for your national holiday to be shadowed by such an event.
May. 1st, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
What kind of person goes and wrecks other peoples' lives like that?

Unfortunately, we're never likely to find out. The man responsible died in hospital earlier today.
May. 1st, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow, I just saw this on The Today Show.....how awful!
May. 1st, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
What's happened has certainly cast a pall over the entire nation. We're all very sad and upset, the more so since the prime minister has let it be known that as a consequence of yesterday's events, the cabinet will reassess whether Queen's Day can continue in its present form in the future.
May. 4th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)
I was very surprised when I read this in the news the other day. Obviously, the royal family feel very safe in public and its terrible that someone would do something like this. I've heard since that seven people have died. How awful. My thoughts are with their families and everyone in Holland.
May. 5th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
They've been a strange couple of days since then, really. On Queen's Day itself, most of the celebrations were either cancelled or cut short (in Amsterdam, where I was e.g., several gigs were cancelled as the artists refused to perform, though I did see 2 Unlimited return to the stage to kick off their comeback tour; and everyone was requested to start returning to their homes from about 8 o'clock onwards), and since most people had taken the Friday off, the streets were remarkably quiet the next day and the whole of the weekend. Yesterday, it was Dodenherdenking, our annual Remembrance Day, and the first public appearance of the Queen and the Prince of Orange since the tragedy. They lay a wreath at the national monument every year, and it's a very solemn occasion usually. It was so again this year, except for one minute when the crowd spontaneously applauded Her Majesty; then observed the customary 2 minute's silence to remember the dead. Although the Queen obviously couldn't acknowledge the crowd's support, it clearly showed on her face that she was moved by it. Poor woman! She seemed to have aged a decade in the intervening days (but then, she is in her early 70s so perhaps that's not so surprising).

There is a debate going on now in parliament and the corridors of power, whether the royal family can continue in their habit of going around in public all of them together in one place at one and the same time. It'd only take one determined fool to kill them all, or at least to get close to them as Karst Tates (the man in the black Suzuki) has proved...and then where would we be?

Edited at 2009-05-05 07:42 pm (UTC)
( 26 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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