King Willem-Alexander kept silent about it in his Speech from the Throne earlier this week, but careful study of the budget the Dutch government presented to parliament afterwards, shows the monarch is short of space. Despite having 3 palaces at his disposal and a nice home in Wassenaar, he is still wanting for more. The solution: to build a temporary office in the yard at a cost of 400,000 euros (515,000 US)
That is small change compared to the announced cost of the renovation and overhaul of Huis ten Bosch palace (35 mio, 45 mio US). The monumental palace in The Hague last was done up for Queen Beatrix and her family back in 1980. It needs just about everything new – from pipes, electricity to security measures, and removal of asbestos – the government announced. It will take at least 2 years to get work done, meaning King Willem-Alexander will not be able to move in till 2017.
With the royal residence Huis ten Bosch, with its iconic Orange Hall, out of use, the King went looking for alternative space for meetings. Noordeinde Palace, the royal office in the heart of the city, has no spare rooms the government explained. Not even one hall or room is free. Princess Beatrix, the former queen, already had to look around for another place to stay when she is in The Hague.
She chose a house adjacent and in fact connected to the Palace, the former residence of Willem-Alexander while still single and prince. The house at Noordeinde 66 was redone too, at a cost of some 4 mio euros (5 mio US), much to the chagrin of the Dutch parliament. On top of that Noordeinde Palace too is undergoing some renovation, adding to a total bill of some 50 million euros (65 mio US) to house the royal family. The government went to great length to explain that these renovations would be necessary at any rate, whether occupied or used by the royal family, or some government agency. After all, they are historic monuments.
With space lacking in The Hague, and the King and Queen apparantly not wanting to use the empty Amsterdam palace, the decision was taken to build a mobile office in the King’s backyard, with a hall, two reception rooms and a meeting room. © RB
Photos show Huis ten Bosch, Noordeinde 66 and Noordeinde Palace.