• Share
  • Read Later

Disgruntled Dutchmen settled down grimly last week to face the gravest crisis in the 45-year reign of their beloved Queen Wilhelmina.

Though Her Majesty has been called "middle class," the fact is that the Royal House of Orange is on top of the Netherlands to a degree not achieved by royalty anywhere else. Rich men in other countries fawn socially on their sovereigns, never think of the Crown as an economic power. Dutch millionaires doubt if any of them is richer than their Queen. Her ancestor, William I, subscribed $1,600,000 to the original $14,900,000 capital of The Netherlands Trading Society for exploitation of his Indies. Few investments have ever been more fabulously profitable or more tightly held. As the profits rolled in, the House of Orange has invested in nearly every good thing in The Netherlands. And Queen Wilhelmina never speculates but holds. Last week, therefore, Wilhelmina viewed with no airy royal detachment the appalling fact that one-fifth of The Netherlands Bank gold reserve had been withdrawn in the frantic scramble for gold produced by fear that Catholic Party Leader Professor Petrus Josephus Mattheus Aalberse might succeed in forming a Cabinet and might then take the guilder off the gold standard.

Catholics, Bolsheviks & Calvinist. The moneyed Queen was credited by many of her subjects with taking Professor Aalberse neatly into camp and preserving her money on gold by the following maneuver: Her favorite statesman, ruthless, eagle-beaked Premier Hendrikus Colijn, who speaks English with a crusty Scottish accent, suddenly announced that he was not receiving adequate support from the Catholic members of his coalition, abruptly resigned. Thus ambitious Professor Aalberse was confronted with a surprise opportunity to form a Cabinet before his Catholics had time to organize a coalition. It turned out that Professor Aalberse would have to take five Communist Deputies into coalition to get a majority, and from such Bolsheviks the Catholics instinctively recoiled. Back in as Premier popped Calvinist Colijn. Last week aroused Dutch opinion was branding the Catholic Party as a pack of villains or fools responsible for the flight of 131,000,000 hard, heavy, gold guilders from The Netherlands Bank.

Such a maneuver may be "neat," but Dutchmen fearfully wondered last week how often the Queen & Colijn may have to repeat a master stroke involving one-fifth of the nation's gold reserve. Amid Depression's typhoon, as the Dutch guilder is threatened in crisis after crisis, The Netherlands Bank frantically hoists its discount rate to 6% during the storms to attract as much gold as possible, then hastily reefs it down to 2½% during the lulls to give Dutch business the benefit of "cheap money." Inevitably such desperate sailing scares the passengers half out of their wits. Last week Premier Colijn, as Captain of the gold standard galleon of The Netherlands, stepped to the microphone and cried with more courage than veracity: "Conditions in our country are much better than in most other countries!"

Yellow Emperor v. White Queen. Conditions in The Netherlands are sane, as that term is understood by Queen Wilhelmina, who said in her last Speech from the Throne, "This country stands for sanity!"

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4