"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."
More top news
Actress and writer Meera Syal will be made a CBE today during an investiture ceremony for her services to drama and literature.
Nebraska resident Sylvia Ann Driskell wants a US District Judge to rule 'once and for all' on whether homosexuality is a sin.
In the British Medical Journal, cardiologist John Dean said doctors who carry out private health work deprive the NHS of a vital resource.