Who the hell is Willy?

Kingsday is coming up and you’ve probably heard all about this fantastic feast with orange, boats, parades and lots and lots of beers. Oh, and maybe the king? Yeah… well, the feast after all has been named after this good-humoured guy. More than about time to get to know more about Mr. Willem-Alexander van Oranje! Here are some facts to learn more about him.

The king was born in Utrecht

On the 27th of April 1967 a little prince with a very long name (Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand) was born at the University Medical Center in Utrecht. He was the firstborn of Princess Beatrix and her husband Prince Claus. Upon his birth, his official royal title was ‘’His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands’’ and his destiny was decided.

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Young Willem-Alexander and his brother Constantijn

He was nicknamed Prince Pils(ener)

Like most people, Willem-Alexander had the time of his life during his studies. He left the palace and moved to a student house in the old university town Leiden in the 1980s. Willem-Alexander fully emerged himself into student life and joined a sorority. He took part in the joys of student life with enthusiasm and one of his new hobbies became drinking beers with his study mates, hence the nicknames Prince Pils, Prince Crown Cap and Wild Willem. Besides the fact that Willem-Alexander was also truly devoted to his studies, his wild image got confirmed again when he drove his car into the canals after a party. Lucky enough the prince didn’t get hurt, but he has never lost the image of Prince Pils.

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W.A. in 1986

Willy is a sporty spice

Next to being a jolly fellow who loves to have a beer with his friends, Willem-Alexander also became known for his love for sports. In 1986 the 18-year-old prince took part in the Elfstedentocht, a legendary Dutch ice skating tournament. To stay anonymous Willem-Alexander signed up under the name W.A. van Buren, but soon TV reporters noticed that a royal joined the race. Dressed in a Playboy pants and Marlboro jacket he skated the 200 kilometres and finished the tour of the tours. Six years after this feat of strength the crown prince again showed his talent for endurance sports by finishing the New York Marathon in 4,5 hours. Nowadays the king shows his love for sports being a member of the International Olympic Committee.

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Willem-Alexander and Máxima visiting the Holland Heineken House with Vladimir Putin at the Olympics in Sochi

Kingsday is only celebrated since 2013

Until 2013 the Dutchies never heard of a feast called Kingsday, the day we celebrated until that year was Queensday! Since 1949 Queensday was celebrated on the 30th of April, the birthday of the former queen Juliana and the mother of queen Beatrix. When Beatrix became queen in 1980, she decided to keep on celebrating Queensday in honour of her mother. Nevertheless, Beatrix’ birthday was on 31 January, a day in the middle of winter and not very fit for a big outdoors event. So she decided to keep on the 30th of April. When Willem-Alexander became king the day was moved a few days to his birthday ánd became Kingsday. Still some people get confused. Mostly tourists who have an outdated Lonely Planet, standing disillusioned on the Dam square dressed up in orange on the 30th of April. In 2013, the year in which Willem-Alexander became king, the name and the date changed.

The king is married to the Argentinian beauty Máxima

W.A. didn’t easily pick a girl to become the queen of the Netherlands. For years the Dutch people were left in suspense while the crown prince had different girlfriends. There were rumours that the queen mother didn’t approve his girlfriends, mostly normal student girls. In 1999 the prince met the smart and beautiful Máxima Zorreguieta at a gala in Sevilla. The Argentinian unsuspectingly accepted an invitation to dance and kissed the blond man for the first time. Apparently, only later she discovered that the man who simply introduced himself as Alexander was the crown prince of the Netherlands. When she recovered from the first shock the relationship went fast and on the perfect date 02-02-02 the royal marriage took place.

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Satire television made him popular

Born and raised near to the court-capital Willem-Alexander has a slight Hague accent which became the object of derision after his inauguration. W.A. became depicted as a common man with a heavy Hague dialect with a love for happy hardcore and blunt remark called Willy. Queen Máxima was his sidekick with a heavy Argentinian accent and an incredibly hard laugh. There are a few videos in English, so enjoy!

The makers of Luckytv didn’t spare the royals of the British royal family either, see this episode about the wedding of William and Kate.


Hopefully king Willem-Alexander became somewhat more alive for you. So now dig up your ugliest orange t-shirt, find your inner Willy and cheer to the birthday of our king! Hooray!

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