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Henri M. 01-12-2007 04:35 PM

Costs, Income and Fortune of the Dutch Royal Family
‘How rich is Queen Beatrix?’ is probably the most asked question. No one knows the answer on this question. The Queen’s Treasurer (in Dutch: de Thesaurier der Koningin) is most likely the person closest to ‘the secret’.

I would like to give you an explanation, based from a chapter about the Thesaurier der Koningin out of the book Aan het Hof. De monarchie onder Koningin Beatrix’, (‘At the Court. The monarchy under Queen Beatrix’) by Remco Meijer (ISBN 90 5713 462 4).

‘How rich is Queen Beatrix?’ All publications, articles and magazines who claim to answer this intriguing question are unreliable. Main reason: those who have knowledge about it, maintain a stony silence. Every single Euro put down on Queen Beatrix is pure speculation and is also unreliable for two reasons. Until her death in 2004 Princess Juliana was the owner of the vast bulk of the Orange-Nassau fortune. No one knows exactly what did happen with her heritage. In the Netherlands, by law each child is treated equally and Queen Juliana had four daughters. There is no regulation possible in which the eldest child receives more than the other children.

The other reason is the fact that most of the valuables, the possessions, the art collections, the jewels, the inventories, the gold-, silver and crystal ware, etc. were put into family foundations. These foundations are legal entities on which no natural person can claim an ownership anymore. But all this does not take away that the Orange-Nassaus are one of Europe’s richest families.

The person who has a precise insight into the finances of the Queen is the Thesaurier der Koningin (the Queen’s Treasurer), the very personal guardian of the Queen’s exchequer. The Queen’s Treasurer fulfils a double role: at one side he is the chief administrator of the royal household organization but he also takes care for the private finances of the Orange-Nassaus. Not only the Royal House but also other members of the family like the De Bourbon de Parmes (the children of Princess Irene). The revenues from Princess Irene’s bestseller Dialoog met de Natuur (Dialogue with Nature) is as well-known to the Treasurer as the tax assessments of Princess Margriet and professor mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven.

The Queen’s Treasurer handles all tax assessments from the Orange-Nassaus as one package with the director-general of the Tax Revenue Service.
He does that in person, in all discretion and under four eyes only at the Department of Finances.

(continued in the next post)

Henri M. 01-12-2007 04:37 PM

How rich is Queen Beatrix ? / The Queen's Treasury 2
(continuation from the previous post)

The Queen’s Treasurer is mr. J. Baars who is in charge of the Queen’s finances in general. For the private portfolios of the royal family the Queen’s Treasurer is backed by two gentlemen: mr. R.M. Smits and mr. J.G.A. Baron Sirtema van Grovestins, both are Particulier Thesaurier (Private Treasurer). This fragmentation is done to prevent that one person can too easily get information about the combined fortunes and properties of the Orange-Nassaus.

Under Queen Beatrix the Treasurers are financial experts with experience in both private and public finances. Mr. J. Baars was financial director and later general director of a hospital in Maastricht. Mr. R.M. Smits worked as financial attaché of the Netherlands Permanent Delegation at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. Mr. J.G.A. Baron Sirtema van Grovestins was a member of the board of Fortis Bank.

The Queen’s Treasury at Noordeinde has around 18 members of staff and is split in three sectors: private affairs administration, functional affairs administration and the salary administration. For the whole family counts that they have their own external financial advisors.

According to Chapter 1 of the State Budget (‘The House of Her Majesty The Queen’) the core royal household organization (‘the palace staff’) has some 315 members. All of them receive their pay slip from the Royal Household Service.

By the Act Financial Statute Royal House 1972 is determined that the following members of the Royal House receive an annual donation:
- the present King and his spouse
- the future King and his spouse
- the former King and his spouse

This means that at this moment only the Queen, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima receive an annual donation. All other members of the Royal House have to provide in their own income. The donations for 2006 were:
- The Queen: € 3.896.000,-- (appr. US $ 5,064,800.--)
- The Prince of Orange: € 933.000,-- (appr. US $ 1,212,900.--)
- Princess Máxima: € 822.000,-- (appr. US $ 1,068,600.--)

As said, the other members of the Royal House or the royal family have to provide in their own income. But when they perform duties for the Royal House, their expenses will be covered by the Queen. It is believed that the late Queen Wilhelmina has set up Funds for each of her four grandchildren, worth millions each. Besides these Funds, there is also a Fund Functional Costs House of Orange-Nassau (created by Queen Juliana in 1968) ‘to provide financial supplements to each of the three youngest daughters of Her Majesty Queen Juliana, for the functional costs attached to their position as such.’ The existence of this Fund became known in 1980 by a letter of the then premier, mr. A.A.M. van Agt, to the Second Chamber of the States-General (Parliament). This means that Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and Princess Christina are met in their expenses ‘to maintain and uphold their dignity’ without the need to request for money by their eldest sister.

(continued in the next post)

Henri M. 01-12-2007 04:39 PM

How rich is Queen Beatrix ? / The Queen's Treasury 3
(continuation from the previous post)

All members working in the royal household service are civil servants and are paid for by the state. But the Queen also has staff in her very personal service. Their costs are not chargeable to the state but to her own budget. It is believed that some 30 members of staff are paid out of the Queen’s own budget. It is believed that the core household, ‘the palace staff’ counts around 315 people with a civil statute and 30 people in the Queen’s personal service. This means that, together with the Kabinet der Koningin (the Queen’s Office), the Koninklijke Houtvesterij (the Royal Forestry), the security from the Koninklijke Marechaussee and staff from the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (State Information Agency), there are some 800 servants ready to serve the Orange-Nassaus.

Who are the people the Queen pays out of her own budget? Correspondence with the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (State Information Agency) learns that ‘it is a private matter about which no any communication is possible. The control on the public interest is done by the premier himself in his confidential audiences with the Queen’. In the States-General (the Parliament) there are seldom questions about the Queen’s finances. The yell, once heard in 1918: ‘Get rid of these money-swallowing courtiers!’ has never been heard under Queen Beatrix. Reason is the very transparent and controllable Act financial statute Royal House 1972, which is indexed to the general annual inflation. Since then the finances of the Royal House are effectively out of the political discussion.
A very joyful fact for Queen Beatrix: no political fuss about her cents. Political discussions about the civil list like in the United Kingdom or payments to individual royals like in Belgium are prevented thanks to this Act.

In the past the States-General had to provide donations to the Stadtholder and later to the King. Often the donation remained the same for decades and then to change with fairly big amounts, which caused public consternation and debate.

In 1813 the income of the King was determined on an annual donation of 1,5 million guilders, an immense fortune in that era.
In 1848 the income of the King was changed: the annual donation was changed into 1 million guilders plus the revenues out of the Crown Domains which were given to him by the state.
Later the annual dotation was fixed on 600.000 guilders for King Willem III and Queen Wilhelmina.
In 1928 this was doubled to 1,2 million guilders and so now and then the donation to the Queen was changed to 2,5 million guilders in the 1950’s.

The Government was not happy with the cumbersome system of these donations and studied on a new, more streamlined system. In the summer of 1966 premier J. Cals offered a Bill for the raise of the royal donation to 5,2 million guilders. It caused wide public consternation and debate. Wasn’t Queen Juliana the world’s richest woman? Why all these millions?

The speculations about the dazzling fortune of the Orange-Nassaus have their source in the American media. In the 1960’s a television documentary by NBC spoke about ‘a private fortune of billions’. In a television interview on Friday August 26th 1966 premier J. Cals felt the need to deny all these speculations. He qualified these as ‘fairytales’. But the dogs have escaped: suddenly the fortune of the Orange-Nassaus, the annual income and the tax-freedom for the Queen was topic of a public debate.

(continued in the next post)

Henri M. 01-12-2007 04:40 PM

How rich is Queen Beatrix ? / The Queen's Treasury 4
(Continuation from the previous post)

That summer of 1966 caused a turn in the way the finances of the Royal House were fixed. It gave a boost for the Act financial statute Royal House 1972, a masterpiece from which Queen Beatrix still reaps the happy fruits of. The essence of the Act is the disconnection of the costs for the royal household (the ‘palace staff’) from the income of the Queen and make it chargeable to the state. Main goal of the Queen and the Cabinet was to avoid tension and upheaval around the Royal House.

But the political parties first insisted on an accountancy report on the finances of the Queen. There were more and more signals that Queen Juliana was so short of money, that she had to pay for public duties of state from her own private fortune. An unwanted and undesirable situation. The Cabinet formed a commission under chairmanship of dr. Daniël Simons, professor of Economics in Rotterdam. The commission not only advised the Act financial statute Royal House 1972 but also the freedom of death taxes for the Sovereign. Reason: ‘The inheritance to the Queen is made subservient to an appropriate functioning of the kingship and to the uphold and maintenance of the dignity and prestige of the bearer of the crown and/or his House’. All by all this means that the Queen only pays taxes on strictly private parts of her fortune. According to premier J. Cals and later premier P. de Jong ‘the bulk of the Queen’s fortune is in low- or no-rendering goods like jewels and lands’. Result of all this: since 1972 no hassle anymore about money. Premier P. de Jong has often been praised for the masterly depoliticisation of the Queen’s income.

Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana were both single children and single general heiresses to the enormous possessions of the Orange-Nassau dynasty. This caused the unique fact that almost all dynastical collections came into the hands of one person. To prevent a fragmentation and break up of the priceless collections, Queen Juliana has put almost everything which can be made ‘subservient to an appropriate functioning of the kingship and to the uphold and maintenance of the dignity and prestige of the bearer of the crown and/or his House’ into foundations.

All movable and personal properties (amongst others the royal jewels) were put into the Foundation Regalia of the House of Orange-Nassau. The state carriages and other major valuables were put into the Foundation Crown Properties of the House of Orange-Nassau. The paintings and other works of art as well as the inventory of the royal palaces and residences were put into the Foundation Historic Collections of the House of Orange-Nassau. The extended centuries old archives and libraries and personal items were put into the Foundation Archives of the House of Orange-Nassau. It is not known who have seat in the board of these foundations. It is assumed that the Prince of Orange is chairman in most of these secretive boards.

It is difficult to work with unknown figures. In 1987 the American magazine Fortune estimated the Orange-Nassau fortune in between 7 and 9 billion dollars. Such speculations cause anger to the persons involved. Famous is the public shown anger of Princess Juliana during a television interview in 1987, when she stated she felt ‘defenceless’ against ‘such utter nonsense’. In 1997 the Dutch business magazine Quote managed it to fabricate a ‘top-500 of the richest Dutchmen’ without Queen Beatrix. Only one year later, in 1998, the very same magazine did put down a personal fortune of 6 billion dollars to Queen Beatrix. This is illustrative for the ongoing mystery around the Orange-Nassau fortune.

BeatrixFan 01-12-2007 05:56 PM

I really do find the idea of articles discussing the wealth of public figures extremely vulgar. One expects the Queen of the Netherlands to be wealthy. Do we really need to see a copy of her bank statements?

Henri M. 01-12-2007 07:01 PM


Originally Posted by BeatrixFan
I really do find the idea of articles discussing the wealth of public figures extremely vulgar. One expects the Queen of the Netherlands to be wealthy. Do we really need to see a copy of her bank statements?

The Queen and her family do cost the Dutch taxpayers some € 95.000.000,-- a year (around US $ 123,500,000.--).
I think it is justified that this gigantic amount for a family with a staff of 800 people is discussed.
That is a different story than discussing the wealth of mr. Bill Gates, to name someone.

And my contribution did also provide an in-depth insight in the workings of the Queen's Treasury and how today's financial settlements have been fixed in the course of history. I found it most informative stuff, going far beyond the usual superficial articles in Forbes or so.


sara1981 01-12-2007 07:04 PM

IF HM Queen Beatrix dies who will wills to? give CP couples or?

BeatrixFan 01-12-2007 07:06 PM

Oh I agree and I was in no way suggesting your posts were not informative because they were - extremely informative and a pleasure to read - but I was making a more general comment that this whole "How rich is she?" is really quite vulgar to me. For example, I pay taxes to keep my Queen but I wouldn't have any interest in how she spends what money she gets. Personally I dislike the civil list accounts coming out every year. I just don't think it's fair. We expect our monarchies to cost money, the same as republics expect their presidents to cost money - so do we actually need to know the exact figures? But no, definately, I enjoyed your posts and thanks for them.

Henri M. 01-13-2007 09:25 AM

Equally divided by law

Originally Posted by sara1981
IF HM Queen Beatrix dies who will wills to? give CP couples or?

Dutch law says that 'the surviving spouse gets half plus one child's portion' from the heritage.

When Prince Claus died in 2002, his heritage will have been divided as following:

4/7 to his surviving spouse (= half plus one child's portion)
1/7 to Prince Willem-Alexander
1/7 to Prince Friso
1/7 to Prince Constantijn

When Queen Beatrix will die, there is no 'suriving spouse' left, then her heritage will equally be divided amongst her three sons:

1/3 to Prince Willem-Alexander
1/3 to Prince Friso
1/3 to Prince Constantijn

You see that the Dutch legal regulations are very fair and equal to all children (it is even practically impossible to 'disinherit' your own children), but this also means: a fragmentation of the possessions. We have seen various auctions (Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, Princess Liliane of Belgium) causing wonderful items getting lost for their royal families.

To prevent all this, Queen Juliana has placed all possible valuables into the ownership of various family-foundations. These foundations are ‘subservient to an appropriate functioning of the kingship and to the uphold and maintenance of the dignity and prestige of the bearer of the crown and/or his House’.

This means that they no longer are personal property to a natural person but also that the collection is no subject to death duties and inheritances. This means that already now Princess Catharina-Amalia and later her successors can be sure that today's jewels, today's art collections, today's inventory, today's gold-, silver- and crystal ware, etc. will still exist and will equally attribute to the functioning of their kingship as it does now in 2007.

In my very personal opinion, it was the best thing Queen Juliana could ever do. In essence she gave away her very own gigantic personal fortune into the ownership of foundations, but she prevented a fragmentation into her 4 daughters, her 14 grandchildren, etc.

This also means that the children of Queen Beatrix only divide her personal fortune and valuables. Prince Bernhard once stated in an interview that Queen Juliana's estimated personal fortune (= not placed into the ownership of family-foundations) was around 240 million Euro (around 312 million US Dollars).
Her inheritance was divided in 9 portions:

5/9 to Prince Bernhard (around 133,5 million Euro)
1/9 to Queen Beatrix (around 26,5 million Euro)
1/9 to Princess Irene (around 26,5 million Euro)
1/9 to Princess Margriet (around 26,5 million Euro)
1/9 to Princess Christina (around 26,5 million Euro)

When Prince Bernhard died, his inheritance (let us assume around 150 million Euro) was divided in 6 portions:

1/6 to Queen Beatrix (around 25 million Euro)
1/6 to Princess Irene (around 25 million Euro)
1/6 to Princess Margriet (around 25 million Euro)
1/6 to Princess Christina (around 25 million Euro)
1/6 to Ms Alicia de Bielefelde (around 25 million Euro)
1/6 to Ms Alexia Lejeune Grinda (around 25 million Euro)

So let us assume (we do not know their personal investments and the value of their eventual spouses' personal fortunes) that the personal fortunes of Queen Beatrix, Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and Princess Christina will be around 50 million Euro ( around 65 million US Dollars) each. With this we have not included the special trusts set up by their grandmother Queen Wilhelmina (in the 1950's it was believed some 8 million Euro per granddaughter, some estimate it on around 40 million Euro each, now in 2007) and the special Fund Queen Juliana has created in 1968 for her three youngest daughters.

Marengo 01-14-2007 01:07 PM

Didn't Juliana also set up special trusts for her grandchildren? I believe they already had these trusts before Juliana's death (Margarita and her siblings had to upkeep their father with money from these trusts). After Juliana's death I believe they received another amount of money to.

Now I wondered, who is the legal owner of the various foundations? Is it officially property of the entire family? Which means that in the future little Amalia will be in a board with various second cousins etc? Or do they belong to the head of the family?

And what will happen if The Netherlands becomes a republic? Will they divide all the antiques, jewels etc then? As they are no longer needed to keep the dignity of the crown.

Henri M. 01-14-2007 01:35 PM


Originally Posted by Marengo
And what will happen if The Netherlands becomes a republic? Will they divide all the antiques, jewels etc then? As they are no longer needed to keep the dignity of the crown.

The legal owner of the various foundations are.... the foundations themselves. The possessions ended to be in the ownership of a natural person and were transferred to a legal entity, which is no subject to interitance laws and taxations. The Foundations can decide to declare themselves extinct and hand over the ownership to the Sovereign. As known the Sovereign is the only person in the Netherlands free from taxation on heritances and gifts.

Note that all the foundations are named to the House of Orange-Nassau:
Foundation Regalia of the House of Orange-Nassau.
Foundation Crown Properties of the House of Orange-Nassau
Foundation Historic Collections of the House of Orange-Nassau
Foundation Archives of the House of Orange-Nassau
Etc. Etc.

With the end of the monarchy, there still is a House of Orange-Nassau, of course. The foundations will then work for the House. Note that the Orange-Nassaus have made an agreement with the state, back in 1959: the Crown Domains will return into the private ownership of the head of the House, when the monarchy ends. There is an Act on the Crown Domains 1959 (State Gazette 1971, nr. 159) which regulates this.

Marengo 10-09-2007 05:15 PM

Costs, Income and Fortune of the Dutch Royal Family
Joris posted the following post at the Benelux Royals MB:


A majority wants to have more transparancy and a complete overview of all costs related to the Dutch monarchy. Too much is unclear. The costs have also risen considerably in a couple of years time. RTL Niews analysed all the Questions Asked in Parliament, the Answers, Budgets of several Ministries, the secret costs/yield of Het Loo Crown Dominion, subdidees given, etc. etc.
I think this "majority" in Parliament is right.
In other countries we get detailed information about all the costs made, in beautifully designed pdf files!
The impression exists that some costs are "hidden" in order not to undermine the popular support of the monarchy. A monarchy of which the real (higher) costs are known would probably cause some grumbling.
I think transparency is always a good thing. If there is nothing to hide, there isn't.
PM thinks he has given "adequate" info already, but a parliamentary majority wants all the specifications of the real total costs, spread over several Ministries.
This week in Parliament (Tweede Kamer).
RTL - De actuele nieuwssite van Nederland

Maxie 10-09-2007 05:29 PM

I agree with Joris. Transparency has never hurt anyone. I don't know what would damage the monarchy more. Let the people have an insight in what they're spending their money on or just keep covering things up, which in the end will wake people up and make them suspicious. :closedeye Especially with what lately has been going on with the ministery of Defense paying for that stupid sail boat and stuff.

So, I would say: show us the pdf's! Show us the money! :lol:

Marengo 10-09-2007 05:48 PM

Well, I agree with you too, but I think a disadvantage is that the costs can easily be misused in the present mood of populism, ´they´cost us 100 million euros etc. Only the largest figure will stay in the minds of a lot of people, while they fail to look how these things are spent and which costs would stay if we would be a republic.

The sailboat thing is rather odd indeed, 100.000 euros or something like that for the upkeep of a small boat? Ehat do they do each year? Install new golden doorhandles and throw the old ones in the North Sea?

Maxie 10-09-2007 06:06 PM

Populism always makes things difficult, I fear. But being rational and saying: 'Well okay, here you have it, these are the figures', wins the battle in the end, imo. Just because other people are afraid of something and want to blame someone else for their misfortune (in this case it would be the royal family for 'costing the taxpayer such an awful lot of money') it doesn't mean that people who do have a brain should give into these sentiments. The royals and the politicians who are responsible for them should be the bigger people in this case, imvho.

You can tell I'm quite the idealist, isn't it? :rofl:

Marengo 10-09-2007 06:12 PM

well, being an idealist will only make you rise even more in my opinion Maxie, very charming ;)

Of course you are right, be open about it etc. And discussions about the costs being too high will be there with or without openess. Still I don´t like it, it seems as if ´we´ are checking their every move and basically do not trust them. A very healthy attitude for accountants of course, but I still don´t like it.

Maxie 10-09-2007 06:37 PM

No, I see what you mean. I don't want to check them either, I think it's childish to check people's every move and it's very much against Dutch identity...:innocent:
So if the pdf's will ever appear, I'm going to be the last person in the Netherlands checking them out (well, maybe the same goes for you too ;)), but when we (in this case: the Dutch people) have some insight in the finances maybe the whiners will shut up? :rolleyes: (Whiners shutting up, a contradictio in terminis, if you ask me...)

Imagine Bea getting on national television tomorrow and saying: 'Dear people, here you have insight in what I do with your tax money!' That most certainly will amaze some people, don't you think? :rofl:

Kelly 10-10-2007 10:12 PM

I was just wondering if the monarchy actually could stand alone without the people's tax money or do they solely depend on that to increase their fortune?

lucien 10-11-2007 01:37 AM


Originally Posted by Kelly (Post 678284)
I was just wondering if the monarchy actually could stand alone without the people's tax money or do they solely depend on that to increase their fortune?

NO!They do not depend on that to increase their fortune,contrary,the apanages they,the three members of the RF,get is just enough to pay staff and several other costs.It wasn't until the early seventies that the government allowed an increase on income for those members of the RF who where entitled to one.That was since they found out then Queen Juliana payed a lot/most expenses from her own pocket

I hate the term "Tax money" as it is so Yankee and has such a negative connotation to it,each and every Head of State gets some pocket money for the job he/she does,from the state,to keep it simple,everywhere.

The amount that comes into this so-called discussion over and over again is the 113 million.There already was an explanation in Parliament on that right after Prinsjesdag,and it must have been clear where what went.With this,what,survey/poll by RTL,no-one knew about/heard about as no-one was asked,they make it sound as if the RF uses the above sum as pocket-money,which is blatant nonsense.

In,I believe,the Prinsjesdag thread I already explained the costs ad nauseam

Marengo 10-11-2007 08:39 PM

From expatica:


Parliament questions cost of Royal Family

10 October 2007

THE HAGUE – A majority in parliament wants the government to clarify the expenditure on the Royal Family. This request followed an investigation by commercial broadcaster RTL Nieuws showing that the costs had risen from 83 million in 2005 to 113 million in 2006, a rise of 36 percent.
Read the entire article here.

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