For the first time since 1890, the Dutch have a king again! (You may have noticed. A huge mass of enthusiastic, orange-clad people is a rather distinctive sight.) Just after 10 o'clock this morning, Queen Beatrix van Oranje-Nassau signed the Instrument of Abdication, thereby bringing a conclusion to her rule of precisely 33 years. Her son, Willem-Alexander, was hailed as our new king with considerable ceremony and enthusiasm. His wife Máxima, now our queen, will stand by his side.
It's a funny thing, really. Quite a few countries started out as monarchies and later reformed themselves into republics. With the Netherlands, it's the opposite: we started out as a republic, and later took on House Oranje-Nassau as our monarchs. I, for one, actually prefer the current arrangement. Our head of state, the monarch, stands above politics and retains a neutral position. He or she is the face of the people, a unifying factor, and a constant one. Few presidents indeed can boast an approval rating of over 70%, at any rate.
In other notes, the exams are coming up. In just a few weeks, I will have finished my secondary school career. Finished. After that, It's off to university.
(In the meantime, however, I've gotta keep up my studies...)