20.03.

2004: Queen Juliana of the Netherlands – The Last Ruler of Indonesia

2004: Queen Juliana of the Netherlands – The Last Ruler of Indonesia
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Bess Truman, President Truman, Prince Bernhard, and Queen Juliana in 1952

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 20 March 2004
  • Queen Juliana's reign started at the time when the Netherlands still owned a large colonial empire. Namely, Juliana nominally still reigned over what is now Indonesia, which the Dutch called Dutch East India.

This day in 2004 marked the death of Juliana, former Queen of the Netherlands. She ruled the Netherlands for almost 32 years – from 1948 to 1980 – and then abdicated in favor of her daughter, Beatrix.

An interesting fact is that, in the 20th century, the Netherlands were ruled exclusively by women. Namely, as many as three women in a row were Dutch queens, and none of them had a son.

The queens were named Wilhelmina, Juliana, and Beatrix (mother, daughter, and granddaughter), and their reigns stretched from 1890 to 2013 (a total of 123 years).

Indeed, Queen Beatrix could have reigned even longer had she not abdicated in favor of her son, Willem-Alexander. Beatrix is still alive, and with her abdication in 2013, the Netherlands received their first king in 123 years.

Queen Juliana started her reign in 1948, when the Netherlands still owned a large colonial empire. Namely, Juliana nominally still reigned over what is now Indonesia, which the Dutch called Dutch East India. In addition, the Dutch held onto Suriname, their colony in South America, all the way till 1975.

The Netherlands granted Indonesia full independence only in 1950, precisely at the time of Queen Juliana. Thus, the Netherlands, with a population of around 10 million, for a while ruled over Indonesia, which had as many as 75 million inhabitants.

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