For the first time in the 200 years of existence of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, there will be a Kingdom Youth Parliament. This is organized in honor of the celebration of 200 years of Kingdom. The celebration will take place in Sint Maarten on May 20th to May 22nd. Five teams of ten youngsters will engage into debates on various issues that affect them now and in the future, such as: education, culture, sustainable development and the children’s rights.

Country teams
The teams come from the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba, Sint Maarten and there is a mixed team from Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The youngsters have been selected on the basis of short video clips in which they motivate why they want to participate in the Youth Parliament. Each team has a coach with extensive expertise and experience in politics and government: Senator Marijke Linthorst for the team of the Netherlands, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles Suzy Römer for the team of Curaçao, Minister Michelle Winklaar for the team of Aruba, former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards for the team of Sint Maarten and former Antillean Secretary of State Nora Sneek for the team of Bonaire, Saba and Statia.

National Committee and the celebration of 200 years Kingdom (2013-2014)
After the start celebration at the Scheveningen beach and in the Knight’s Hall (November 30th, 2013) and the Constitutional Festival (March 29th, 2014), the Kingdom Youth Parliament is the third national event of the National Committee Bicentennial Kingdom. During the celebration a moment will be taken to reflect on our collective past, present and future. We
will also celebrate that what binds all of the inhabitants of the Kingdom: democracy with equal rights and duties for everyone. After Sint Maarten there will be three events: Maastricht, Zwolle and in September 2015 the closure in Amsterdam. On behalf of the National Committee Bicentennial Kingdom will be present: Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (pr), Izaline Calister, Albert Verlinde, Erben Wennemars and Rein Willems.

Background and objective
The youth debate arose from the need to approach the Kingdom from a different angle/perspective. Or as Minister of State and Member of the Committee Kingdom Relations Herman Tjeenk Willink remarked: “The Kingdom is too important to be left to politicians, administrators and government officials.”
What do young people think about the actual binding factor within the Kingdom? Why do we learn so little about the Caribbean islands in the Dutch secondary schools? How can we shape the future in a sustainable manner so that all citizens of the Kingdom can benefit from it? And what can we as young people contribute to shape our future. At the end of the meeting in St. Maarten, a final statement will be presented together with the answers to these questions in addition to as action points that each KYP member can work out in their respective countries.

Special opening
Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix will open the Kingdom Youth Parliament (KYP) on Tuesday morning, May 20th at the University of St. Martin. She will deliver the opening statement and will frequent the sessions during the days. She will also meet with the youth members informally. “We are honored by her presence!” says project manager KYP, Ron van der Veer, from St. Maarten stated. “In her capacity as Queen; since 1980 she has opened the Prinsjesdag/Prince’s Day session of the States General, as many as 33 times and it is wonderful that no one other than the Royal Princess will be there to open this first KYP session!”

In the past months, the teams have prepared themselves by practicing the art of debating. They came together during the weekends in order to practice how to build arguments that support their statements in the best possible way . And, where necessary, they learned the facts and figures of the constitutional structure by heart. The Dutch Debate Institute will lead the official debate in St. Maarten and has also helped with the preparatory sessions. Other people will also lend a helping hand: each team has a coach with a lot of expertise and in Sint Maarten the various topics will be highlighted by a group of experts.

KYP self result of kingdom-wide cooperation
The Kingdom Youth Parliament idea was conceived by Ron van der Veer, Secretary of the Committee Kingdom Relations, together with five young people: Trumane Trotman, Marifer Aguirre Broca, Carl Fielmich, Kennedy Ogenio and Aster van Tilburg. As far as the content is concerned, assistance was provided by the Dutch Debate Institute (Roderick van Grieken and Else Nieuwkerk) and the organizational support was provided by a number of enthusiastic volunteers, in particular Tanja Fraai and Wendele van der Wiele should be mentioned who have made themselves indispensable. In addition, many organizational and other support was received from the University of St. Martin (Annelies Oliver – van den Assem) and of the St. Maarten Youth Council (Connie Francis Gumbs).

The KYP was also supported by: Air France KLM, Maduro & Curiel’s Bank, Erasmushuis Sint Maarten, Inter Expo, Pasanggrahan Royal Guesthouse, Perscentrum Nieuwspoort, UNICEF and the Dutch Representation of the Netherlands in Philipsburg.


Monday, May 19th – The “getting acquainted” of the youngsters with each other and with
At 17:00 an extensive press conference with, amoungst others, the President of the National Committee, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, KYP- Project Manager Ron van der Veer, several KYP participants and the RVD. This press conference will be streamed live. Reporters can ask questions to the persons at the table via @KJParliament. Further details will follow.
Tuesday, May 20th: Opening and start of debates
Wednesday, May 21st: Workshops, debates and dinner
Thursday, May 22nd: Establishing of the final statement
Friday, May 23rd: Farewell and departure