"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
The Royal Marine 'Marine A' is to be released on Friday according to the Justice For Marine A campaign group.
Another chilly day with cloudy skies and some rain sliding from north to south.
A bid by the Government to delay publishing its plans to tackle air pollution until after the election has failed at the High Court.