Queen Juliana of the Netherlands
Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana Louise Emma Marie
Wilhelmina (1909-2004) reigned the Kingdom of the Netherlands as Queen Juliana from 1948 till 1980 (photo: RVD).
She was the daughter of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Hendrik
of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She married Prince Bernhard
of Lippe-Biesterfeld on 7 January 1937. Four daughters were born to Princess Juliana and
Prince Bernhard: Beatrix, Irene, Margriet and
The German invasion on 10 May 1940 forced the Prince and Princess and their two
daughters to leave the Netherlands for the United Kingdom; the Princess remained there for a month before
taking the children to Canada, where she lived in Rockcliffe, a suburb of Ottawa, until the Netherlands was liberated. During the war, the Princess visited Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
In April 1945 she returned
with Queen Wilhelmina to the liberated part of the Netherlands, settling in Breda. She took part in a relief operation for the people
in the northern part of the country, where the famine of the previous winter
had claimed many victims. On 2 August 1945 Princess Juliana was reunited with her family on Dutch soil. After the
German capitulation in May 1945, the Princess took part in various relief
operations to help the victims of the occupation.
In the first year of her reign, it was principally the
Indonesian question that claimed Queen Juliana's attention. In 1949, she signed
the documents transferring sovereignty to Indonesia in the Royal Palace on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. On 15 December 1954 Queen Juliana gave
her assent to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which formed the basis for cooperation between the
three remaining parts of the Kingdom: the Netherlands, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles.
During her reign, Queen
Juliana showed a very great interest in social issues. She made frequent visits
to hospitals, convalescent centres, sanatoria, homes
for the elderly and children's homes. On the international front, she was
particularly interested in the problems of developing countries, the refugee
problem and child welfare throughout the world.
In 1966, at the opening of
the General Assembly of the International Union for Child Welfare (in the
Netherlands the Children's Aid Scheme), Queen Juliana launched a new project
entailing studies of child care and protection methods which could be applied
on a broad scale as part of local or regional development plans. The Queen also
provided financial and material support.
When she and Prince Bernhard celebrated their silver
wedding anniversary in 1962, they donated both land and funds to make possible
the establishment of youth centres throughout the Netherlands. On her Silver Jubilee in 1973, she presented the
large sum of money that had been raised by the National Silver Jubilee
Committee to organisations for children in need throughout the world. Queen
Juliana decided that the gift from the nation which she received on her
seventieth birthday in 1979 should be donated to the International Year of the
In radio and television
broadcasts on 31 January 1980, Queen Juliana
announced that she would abdicate on 30 April 1980 in favour of her daughter Beatrix. In her speech, she expressed the
hope that she could continue to serve the country after her abdication. She
became Honorary Chair of the National Committee of the International Year of
Disabled Persons in 1981 and continued to pay frequent visits to care
Even before the official
start of the Year she invited several mentally handicapped youngsters at her
home. On New Year's Day 1981 she presented the year in a nationwide radio and
television broadcast. She asked for support and understanding for the many
disabled in the Netherlands and the Netherlands
Antilles, in stead of pity.
In 1983, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard went to the Netherlands Antilles to visit the projects which were financed from the
money presented to the Princess as a gift on her seventieth birthday. Since the
early 1990s, Princess Juliana withdrew gradually from public life.
On 15 September
1955, at a ceremony
held in the Council Chamber of the Palais des
Nations, the Nansen Medal Award Committee presented
the Nansen Medal for 1954 to Eleanor Roosevelt and
the Nansen Medal for 1955 to Queen Juliana, who was
represented by Baron Bentinck, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the Swiss Government. The award for
1955 was made to Queen Juliana in recognition of the stimulating initiatives
taken by her since the Second World War to further the solution of the problems
The In Memoriam for Queen
Juliana at the Dutch Royal House website.
Bernhard, prince of the Netherlands
Netherlands 13 March 1979
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last revised: 1 March 2010