The alarm signals are on red in the neighboring country: within 24 hours on Friday in the Netherlands were 8000 New infections reported – in a country with a good 17 million inhabitants. Amsterdam virologist Hans Zaaijer warns in the newspaper "De Telegraaf": "We are in the run-up to a catastrophe." Pubs, cafes and restaurants must close for at least four weeks.
The tasks of the royal family in such a crisis: to show presence, to give courage, to strengthen cohesion. But King Willem-Alexander (53) and Queen Maxima (49) preferred to vacation in Greece's sunshine. To put it mildly, this did not go down well at all with politicians and the general public. Now the royal couple has contritely called off their vacation.
Netherlands: Heavy criticism of royal couple after trip in Corona pandemic
"We see people's reactions to reports in the media. And they are violent and they touch us," said a statement that the family still in their vacation villa on the peninsula Peloponnese authored. "
We do not want to leave any doubt about it: To Covid-19 To defeat, it is necessary that guidelines be followed."It is seen that a discussion about the vacation of the royal family does not contribute to it.
In private plane to Greece
Only on Friday at 2 p.m. Willem-Alexander, Maxima and the three children Amalia (16), Alexia,(15) and Ariane (13) were with their 80 million euro Boeing 737 from the government fleet departed from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
The royal couple did not have much time to enjoy the ochre-colored 4000-square-meter villa on a rocky promontory above the sea, with its pool and private harbor. At 9 p.m. it announced its vacation termination. On Saturday, the family returned to the castle after a KLM scheduled flight Huis ten Bosch in The Hague.
Trip "unreasonable and incomprehensible"
It was only media reports that had made the flight public – and judged it to be desertion. MPs from both opposition and government parties immediately voiced harsh criticism. While the area in Greece where Willem-Alexander's villa is located is not yet under a warning of elevated Corona Risk.
Given his exemplary role as head of state, however, the king should have heeded the government's call to stay "in his own environment" as much as possible, said Joost Sneller of the left-liberal coalition party D66. The trip of the royal family was "unreasonable and incomprehensible".
Head of government Rutte knew about it
At the same time, a statement by Prime Minister Mark Rutte demanded. The head of government then let it be known that he had been informed about the king's vacation plans. He takes political responsibility.
Yet Rutte had urged as recently as last Tuesday: "Don't be that stubborn person who oversteps the bounds of the rules. Be the realistic Dutch person who takes responsibility."
Politicians complain of lack of judgment
Sneller now rebuked Rutte, saying it would have been better if he had Royal family would have saved from debacle. Opposition politician Jesse Klaver shook his head at "lack of judgment". The cancellation was the only correct consequence. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, on the other hand, stressed that he had not known about the royal couple's trip.
The restless Royals only in August Greek sun filled. There, too, they caused displeasure: on the island of Milos, they allowed themselves to be photographed with the owner of a restaurant – no 1.5-meter distance rule and no masks dampened the vacation mood.
Not everyone is now satisfied with the remorseful return. "It is high time that we relieve the king of all his official functions. And if he doesn't accept that, then our country will just become a republic again," Alexander van Ketwich Verschuur, a former financial manager and now a writer, criticized the royal travel bug on Facebook.