The tradition of Santa Claus and his helpers with their faces painted black wearing Afro wigs has delivered a racism debate in Holland.
Colourful celebrations have taken over the streets of Amsterdam as Queen Beatrix abdicated after 33 years.
As Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands ends her 33-year reign and abdicates in favour of her son a look at the monarchies of Europe.
Here is the timeline of events for the abdication of Queen Beatrix and the crowning of King Willem-Alexander (all times are BST):
- 08:30-09:00 - Gun salute
- 09:00-09:30 - Abdication of Queen Beatrix in the Moses Hall of the Royal Palace Amsterdam
- 09:30-09:50 - His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Máxima and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix appear on the balcony of the Royal Palace
- 13:00-14:30 - Swearing in and investiture of the King, who will deliver an address and be sworn in
- 15:30 - The King and his retinue proceed to the Royal Palace Amsterdam
- 15:30-17:00 - Reception in the Royal Palace Amsterdam
- 18:30-18:45 - The Song for the King will be performed in the presence of the King and Queen, this will take place at the EYE Film Museum via a video link
- 19:45-20:30 - The King and Queen will take part in a water pageant with their daughters on the River IJ
In a farewell speech made last night, Queen Beatrix said she had been struck by "overwhelming expressions of heartfelt sympathy" since she announced her decision to retire.
She added, "With the abdication of my role as monarch, I'm fulfilled foremost with feelings of deep gratitude. Without your heartwarming and encouraging signs of affection, the burdens - which certainly there have also been - would have weighed very heavily."
"Now that my eldest son is taking on this beautiful and responsible task tomorrow, it is my dearest wish that the new royal couple feels supported by your loving trust. I am convinced that Willem-Alexander will commit himself with faithful devotion to everything a good king is indebted to do."
Last night a gala dinner in honour of Queen Beatrix took place at the world famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Among the guests were Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Prince Willem-Alexander will become the Netherlands' first King in more than a century when he is crowned during today's ceremony.
His mother Queen Beatrix announced she would abdicate earlier this year, after reigning for 33 years.
Members of the Dutch Royal Family held a dinner last night in honour of Queen Beatrix at the world famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Today over 2,000 guests will attend the abdication and investiture at Nieuwe Kirk, in Amsterdam.
The British School of the Netherlands has confirmed that one of its former students has been arrested in connection with threats to shoot pupils and teachers at a school in Holland.
All schools in the Dutch town of Leiden have been closed today, after Swiss police alerted their counterparts to threatening language being posted on online messaging boards.
The message read: "Tomorrow, I will shoot my Dutch teacher, and as many students as I can." The writer then explains they will be carrying a 9mm Colt Defender gun and a note "which will explain why I did it".
– Spokeswoman for the British School in the Netherlands
Following a security alert this morning in Leiden, we have been informed that a former student of the BSN has been arrested in connection to threats made against a Dutch school in Leiden.
This student was permanently excluded from the BSN in October 2011 after incidents regarding his behaviour and has therefore not attended the school for over a year.
We have been assured by the police that there was never a threat to The British School or to our students. The school was open as usual this morning and lessons continue as normal.
Shoppers at a Dutch mall were flabbergasted when a shoplifter prompted a more dramatic response than usual.
Swordsmen descended on ropes, horsemen thundered over polished marble tiles and chickens and dwarves ran amok.
Thankfully, it was all part of a stunt to promote the re-opening of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It finished with a picture-perfect imitation of Rembrandt's The Night Watch painting.
In a televised speech Queen Beatrix announced she abdicating the Dutch throne in favour of her son Prince Willem-Alexander.
In her speech she paid tribute to her son and his wife, Princess Maxima:
As you all know I hope to celebrate my 75th birthday in a few days. I am grateful that I have been allowed to approach that day in good health. At the end of this year we will commemorate the 200th anniversary of our kingdom, a day which opens a new chapter in our history.
The coinciding of these two special events has been the reason for me to decide this year to resign from my office.
Until today, this beautiful task has given me a lot of satisfaction. It is inspiring to feel close to people, to sympathise in grievances and share times of joy and national pride.
– Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
It is with great confidence, that on April 30 this year I will pass my kingship to the Prince of Orange. He and Princess Maxima are fully prepared for their future task.
They will serve our country with devotion, faithfully serve the constitution, and with all their talents give substance to their kingship.
I hope I will be able to continue to meet many of you frequently. I am deeply grateful for the trust you gave me during the many beautiful years I was allowed to be your queen.
"Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation," Queen Beatrix said in the speech delivered from her Huis ten Bosch palace, she will celebrate her 75th birthday on Wednesday.
"I am deeply grateful for the great faith you have shown in me in the many years that I could be your Queen," she added.
The queen's abdication from the largely ceremonial role had been widely expected, but it is sure to bring an outpouring of sentimental and patriotic feelings among the Dutch, most of whom adore Beatrix. In everyday conversation, many of her subjects refer to her simply by the nickname "Bea."
Addressing the Netherlands on television and radio Queen Beatrix has said she will abdicate the throne in favour of her eldest son Prince Willem-Alexander.
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will become the King of the Netherlands on 30th April she said, adding that she considered he was ready for the role.
Dutch Queen Beatrix says she will abdicate the throne on 30th April this year according to Associated Press.