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Coronavirus

The Official Opening of the Dutch Parliamentary Year Will Take Place in a Church

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The official opening of the Dutch parliamentary year will take place in a church in The Hague in September because the usual venue is not big enough to accommodate all 225 lawmakers with social distancing.

The chair of the lower house of the Dutch parliament, Khadija Arib, informed lawmakers of the change on Tuesday.

Traditionally, the Dutch monarch delivers a speech to lawmakers from the upper and lower houses of parliament at the historic Knights Hall on the third Tuesday in September.

Arib said a new venue was chosen because Knights Hall cannot accommodate all lawmakers if they adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines.

She said parliamentarians will not be able to bring guests to this year’s event on Sept. 15.

The pageant-filled event features King Willem-Alexander being driven in a horse-drawn carriage through the tree-lined streets of The Hague.

Following the monarch’s speech outlining the government’s policy goals for the coming year, the country’s finance minister unveils his budget plans in the lower house of parliament.

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