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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.



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.