The third Tuesday of September is Prinsjedag (prins-ya-dag) in The Netherlands. Prinsjedag, or the “day of the princes” for the non-Dutch speakers, is the day the Queen King addresses the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, setting out the main features of government policy for the upcoming parliamentary session.

As wonderful as it is to know that politicians have the Queen’s  King’s blessing to set policy and legislation that has the potential to affect genuine change, the really cool thing about Prinsjedag is seeing Queen Beatrix King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, along with other members of the Royal family, riding in a real life Golden Carriage the short distance from the palace to the Parliament building.

In the U.S., the opening of the Congressional session barely gets a mention on the evening news. Here, however, the opening of Parliament is a big deal. Schools are closed, public transportation schedules altered and people line the streets to get a glimpse of their beloved royal family. I love pomp and circumstance, and a Golden Carriage is about as good as it gets.

While there will be no shortage of pomp and circumstance and celebration during Prinsejedag 2013, which marks the first time King Willem- Alexander takes part as the reigning monarch, there will in no doubt be a tinge of sadness in the air due to the recent passing of the king’s brother, Prince Friso

*Updated September 2013