"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
School fees, pricey private medical care and the fear of interest rate rises mean even those on £200,000 are feeling the pinch.
Overnight it will be cooler and fresher but most places will stay dry with a nippy start to Sunday.
X Factor contestant Raign seems to impress the Wembley audience with her own song even though Cheryl finds her "really annoying".