Daily Image

Click here or on the picture for a full size image.

Royal Patronage

Submitter: Jan Noordam
Description: Today marks the coronation of our new King Willem Alexander and his much-admired Queen Maxima. The sister institutes ASTRON and JIVE feel particularly favoured by the House of Orange, having enjoyed many a royal visit over the years. They range from the opening by Queen Juliana of the famous Dwingeloo and Westerbork telescopes in 1956 and 1970, to the opening by Queen Beatrix of our new laboratory in Dwingeloo in 1996, and the LOFAR telescope in 2010. And of course the splendorous gathering of European Monarchs to open the La Palma observatory in 1985.

The picture shows the visit of the crown-princely couple(*) in 2001, as part of the introduction of the young bride to the "Peaks in the Polder" of her new country. The party is captured on our very own "bridge to the 21st century". Behind them is a suitably orange radio image of our Galaxy.

In the absence of ASTRON Director Prof Harvey Butcher, the honours were done by a delighted deputy director, who can be seen on the right, busily networking with the Mayor of Dwingeloo and a possibly influential soldier. On the left, the highly placed couple is being captivated by Prof Richard Schilizzi, the founding Director of JIVE. Hovering nearby is Relus ter Beek, the Queen's Commissioner for Drenthe province, casting a beady eye at a rather pushy white-haired individual who has not been identified.

As part of a carefully prepared program, some of our most interesting employees had been selected to give presentations: A fresh-faced role-model female ingenieur for Willem Alexander, and a philosophe with lilting accents for Maxima. They were a big success.

We wish the Royal Couple a prosperous reign, and are keenly looking forward to the next visit. If not to anoint yet another technical marvel, then perhaps to emphasize our prodigious scientific output.

(*) They were not the first to favour us with crown-princessly condescension. Bea and Claus visited the WSRT in 1974, just as the cream was being skimmed, and the discoveries were rolling in.
Copyright: Harm-Jan Stiepel
  Follow us on Twitter
Please feel free to submit an image using the Submit page.