Netherlands. According to
Countryaah, Queen Beatrix announced at the beginning of
the year that she planned to abdicate. The change of throne
happened on April 30, when the 75-year-old queen surrendered
to her eldest son, 46-year-old Willem-Alexander. Beatrix
became the third queen in a row to abdicate, she had taken
over after her mother Juliana in 1980. With
Willem-Alexander, the Netherlands had its first king in 123
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was reopened in April after
a renovation that took ten years - twice as long as planned
- and has cost many millions. The newly inaugurated National
Museum received brilliant reviews.
The economy continued to be weak, even compared to the EU
at large. Despite austerity, the country was not expected to
reach the EU budget deficit target. Households were among
the most indebted in Europe, largely due to a cracked
property bubble with prices falling by up to a third from
the top listings.
Tensions arose in relations with the Russian Federation
since a Dutch-registered vessel was boarded by the Russian
coastguard in the Barents Sea in September. This was done in
connection with an action against oil drilling, carried out
by the environmental organization Greenpeace. The vessel was
seized and 30 people, including two Dutch, were arrested.
They were first accused of piracy and then of hooliganism.
The Netherlands brought an action against the Russian
Federation before the International Maritime Court.
Relations were further strained when a Russian diplomat
was arrested in The Hague in October after neighbors
reported that children were ill in his home. The authorities
then apologized for violating the Vienna Convention's
protection of diplomatic immunity. A few days later, a Dutch
diplomat in Moscow was attacked by disguised men who knocked
him down, tied him up and provided him with a gag.