Certain senior officials in the judiciary or public administration must, by law, swear the oath of office or make the affirmation of office in the presence of the King.
The Director of the King’s Office supervises the ceremony. The Office provides the King with information on the tasks and the professional field of the official in question.
Swearing-in of a new government
The best known of these ceremonies is the swearing-in of a new government, which takes place in accordance with an established procedure:
- The King receives the prospective ministers and state secretaries of the new government.
- The King and the prime minister sign the Royal Decrees concerning the resignation of the outgoing members of government and the appointment of the new ministers and state secretaries.
- The ministers are then sworn in in the presence of the King. The Director of the King’s Office reads out the oath and the affirmation in the Palace’s Oranjezaal, after which each minister in turn takes the oath or makes the affirmation.
- Immediately after the ceremony the King and the ministers go outside for the traditional photograph on the Palace steps.
- Later in the day, in a similar ceremony, the state secretaries take the oath or make the affirmation in the King’s presence.
At the ceremony, all members of the government swear or affirm that they have not done anything which may legally debar them from holding office; they also swear or promise allegiance to the King, the Charter for the Kingdom and the Constitution and that they will faithfully discharge their duties.
Swearing-in of other senior officials
A number of other senior officials must be sworn in in the King’s presence. These include:
- the governors of Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten;
- the acting kingdom representative for Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba;
- the vice-president, members and state councillors of the Council of State;
- the president, vice-president, justices and registrar of the Supreme Court;
- the Procurator General and Advocates General at the Supreme Court;
- the president, members and secretary of the Netherlands Court of Audit;
- ambassadors of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and King’s Commissioners.