- Mar 30, 2014
The current affairs television program Zembla of BNN-VARA is trying to stir some more upheaval about the finances of the RF.
This time they spoke to two legal experts who claim that the King is receiving unlawful 'nature' subsidies for the Crown Domain Het Loo. The amount is 4,7 million Euros. The foundation Faunabescherming apparently started a procedure of appeal.
The experts say that the money can only be given if the domain is open to the public for 358 days a year, which is not the case. The expert makes a big jump and claims the only reason he can think of is that the King wants to be able to hunt unhampered for the rest of the year.
I have seen the program and it was one long attempt to find anything. Especially letting people from the Party for Animals and of Fauna Protection and of known members of the Republican Society ventilate their opinion was quite showing the intention of Zembla.
In a nutshell the problem is that in 1959 Princess Wilhelmina donated the Crown Domains to the State (the program: "to all of us") but there was a condition: the Bearer of the Crown kept all the owner's rights. Purpose was to keep these vast forestst and moorlands together and in usufruct of the Bearer of the Crown. Princess Wilhelmina even had a remainder attached to the Act of Donation: in case of an end of the monarchy, the last Bearer of the Crown gets the Crown Domains returned (or is compensated for the value of it).
So the problem is: "it is ours, we want to walk and forbid hunting" vs "the Bearer of the Crown holds the ownership rights and decides on the matter" (in reality: the rentmeester (Steward) whom manages the Crown Domains on behalf of the King).
The stick to hit the King is an annual forestry management subsidy, which is open for all landowners. In return the domains are open except one month a year. But the King closes down for three months a year. He has legal permission to do so: "for the protection of the private lifesphere". Legal activists argue that this argument is nonsense. Other will say that as no any other especially the King is different and indeed needs protection of the private lifesphere.
It is a long lasting discussion which flares up every two-three years. What the activists fail to see, was it not for the iron protection of the Crown Domains thanks to Princess Wilhelmina's conditions, the Netherlands would not have a big undisturbed nature reserve. It would have been eaten by roads, railways, growing suburbia.