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The ROI on Le Roi

When I was at the Veerstichting conference in Leiden a few months ago, I came close enough to the Queen of the Netherlands to smell her hair as she brushed by me on the way to speak with another presenter. This led me to express surprise to my student host, Ben Zevenbergen, that the Netherlands even had a queen. Oh, the things Americans don’t know (= everything)! Ben described the Dutch affection for their royal family, and today he sent me a quick translation of some of the main points in an article in a Dutch newspaper that claims having a monarch works out cash positive for the country. Here’s Ben’s summary of the article:

• The monarchy costs the Netherlands €114 million per year, which is tiny compared to the value she creates for our country.

• During trade-missions and diplomatic occasions her presence offers a lot of promotion for our country, resulting in deals worth €4-5 billion in total per year, which similar republics miss out on. She can almost be seen as a trademark such as Heineken and Philips. This results in an extra 1% GDP growth per year compared to similar countries without monarchies. She attracts attention to trade missions and adds ‘charisma’ (a personal touch) to the mission and gives businessmen who travel with her a certain sign of approval/quality.

• Her involvement in politics for the last 28 years has given the government a ‘collective memory’ for our democracy. This can only be useful, considering she’s actually clever (compared to other monarchies who tend to mess up once in a while).

• Businesses that have a spotless 100 year history are awarded a royal ‘sign of approval’, which can only be a good thing for consumers.

• When the Queen throws a dinner party for VIPs from abroad, she always makes sure the right people sit next to each other, so business deals can be agreed upon in a more or less informal setting.

• She’s a great diplomat, speaking many languages, freeing Dutch prisoners from horrible circumstances and often invites people like Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan to her parties.

(Ben adds that he’s not saying he’s totally unmixed in his enthusiasm.)

Maybe the US ought to look in to the possibility… [Tags: ]

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