200 years the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is 200 years old. Celebrations marking the bicentenary will be held from 2013 to 2015.

From November 2013 to September 2015 the National Committee for the Bicentenary of the Kingdom will be arranging events and festivities that involve as many people and organisations as possible. The celebrations marking the bicentenary are for everyone, both in the European and Caribbean parts of the Kingdom.

The foundation for the democratic legal order was laid in 1813, and it evolved slowly but surely from there. In 1848 freedom of assembly and association and the freedom of education were added to the fundamental rights enshrined in the Dutch Constitution, and freedom of the press was expanded. However, slavery was not abolished in the Antilles and Suriname until 1863.

Since 1815 the Kingdom has become much smaller. Belgium, Luxembourg, Indonesia, Suriname and New Guinea have gone their own way. For a long time, three countries remained: the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Since the constitutional changes of 2010, there are now four countries in the Kingdom (the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and St Maarten) and three special municipalities of the Netherlands (Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba).

Several other events will also be commemorated in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom in the period 2013-2015, such as the abolition of slavery 150 years ago (1863), the 75th anniversary of the first parliament of the Netherlands Antilles on Curaçao (1938) and the 60th anniversary of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands  (1954). The theme running through all these historical events is the development of the democratic legal order.