The Dutch King Has Been Living A Secret Double Life As An Airline Pilot

Filed Under: KLM

Breaking news today implicates the leader of one of the world’s most respected democracies in a scandal involving years of deception right underneath the noses of the very people he’s meant to serve.

No — I’m not talking about the orange-skinned man living in the White House, I’m talking about the leader of the House of Orange, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. And as far as “scandals” go, it’s downright adorable.

You see, King Willem-Alexander has been piloting KLM aircraft incognito for the last 21 years. Really. Per Sky News:

The king of the Netherlands has revealed he has been living a secret double life as a co-pilot for a commercial airline.

For 21 years, King Willem-Alexander has taken to the skies twice a month to ferry passengers around on short-haul services for the Dutch airline KLM.

Although travellers may have recognised the monarch’s voice as he updated them on weather conditions and their time of arrival, the royal’s presence was never revealed.

This is your captain (and your King) speaking...

This is your captain (and your King) speaking…

The BBC adds that, prior to ascending to the throne in 2013, it was an open secret that the then-Prince would appear as a so-called “guest pilot” on KLM in order to maintain his pilot’s license, but:

What was not clear was that he was co-piloting passenger flights incognito, twice a month as king, often with KLM Captain Maarten Putman.

The Dutch government said last month that he had flown Fokker 70 aircraft for both the government and KLM Cityhopper service, and that the plane was being replaced this year with a 737. Cityhopper flights are aimed mainly at business travellers in dozens of European destinations, particularly in the UK, Germany and Norway.

Well, if I didn’t love KLM and the Netherlands enough as it is already, this is the cherry on top. How charming, thoughtful, quirky and so thoroughly Dutch of the King, and KLM, to “secretly” fly passengers on short hops around Europe. Best of all, few seem to have been the wiser despite his PA announcements!

I’ve flown with royalty before (well… Motown royalty), but never by royalty!

If you regularly fly on KLM, do you think you might have been flown by the King of the Netherlands before?

  1. Thank for you senselessly injecting politics no less than two sentences into this article.

  2. Unfortunately I think I didn’t fly with the king, although I’m a KLM frequent flyer for a couple of years already. Bytheway; the new dutch government plane will be a 737. Willem-Alexander is now in training at KLM for this airplane and will fly KLM’s 737s within Europe on a regular base as well.

  3. Love the news, your post and the Dutch monarchy. Much better way to start one’s morning than listening about another crazy thing the orange skinned man did 🙂

  4. Yeah, poor choice with the orange man comment. But relax, we won’t flip out, torch any cars or demand you are fired over making an offensive comment.

  5. I don’t see how that comment is a problem. It’s completely factual. You have an orange skinned man who lives in the White House. As long as they’re not colour blind, even his supporters have to agree that the man is indeed orange skinned.

    Nice segue into the House of Orange Nick 🙂 It is indeed adorable.

  6. Thank you for this post, Nick. It’s a very nice story. Unfortunately, I haven’t flown the KLM Fokker 70. Only the 737. So it seems I couldn’t have been flown by him…

    As for the political comment, I found it quite funny. 🙂

  7. The use of “Leader” doesn’t apply well to monarchical systems of governments.

    The correct usage here is not “leader” but “head” – the head of one the world’s… and the head of the House of Orange.

  8. So I’m guessing you liked the black skinned man in the white house better. Can we just stay on topic, please.

  9. I don’t think most of your foreign readers would object to the characterisation of the “orange skinned man”, not least because of the neat contrast for the purposes of a joke with the House of Orange. But unfortunately the joke didn’t really work because most of us don’t think of the USA as “one of the world’s most respected democracies”.

    I’ve flown on CityHopper many times, possibly with him, but my only regret with the forthcoming demise of the 70s is that we’ll no longer be able to crack the joke that “look – here comes one of the Fokkers”.

  10. Hilarious the people offended by an actual joke that does make fun of someone with a tanning habit.

    And equating that kind of joke with hate speech is so typical. The reason people are fired because of so called jokes is that they’re racial slurs or reveal sexist attitudes. The president does objectively have orange skin.

    My unsolicited advice to anyone who likes the president is Just laugh and smile. Be graceful. Be American. Don’t be so thin skinned. Also save the libtard, burning cars (most protest was very peaceful, if totally misguided) and Obama jokes, doesn’t help the city dwelling, mostly tolerant, economy driving force of our country see the president and his supporters as reasonable. Just makes you look like the angry old white men that the far left perceives you as. As a conservative I’m actually shocked.

  11. Honestly, whats so contriversial here?

    A) There is clearly scandal swirling around him. Not to say that he’s guilty or that it’s fair, but your’re being obtuse if you can’t admit that he’s embroiled in scandal right now, right or wrong. Stating an obvious fact is not political.

    B) The man is orange. See previous point about stating obvious fact…

  12. @David, haha “safe space.” I love how thin (orange)-skinned Trump supporters become when their fearless leader is the subject of a pun attack. Nick, shame on you for orange-skin shaming our president.

    Nick, you said you really like KLM. Have you posted a review of a flight with them? If no, that may be fun and interesting to read. (Or maybe coauthor it with the king 😉 )

  13. Dear Nick –

    Unlike the assorted varieties of hypersensitive snowflake posting above, I have no more problem with calling the current president orange than I do with calling the former president black. Seeing as your statements are completely apolitical (as they refer only to fact, not opinion: 1. the president is orange, 2. he is presently enmired in scandal), please do yourself a favor and ignore the silly comments above.


  14. I think the political comment is fair enough. Who else is top of mind when scandal or deception come to mind, especially if you add in the word orange…

  15. @Nick: what an unhinged person you are. I am sure you are so proud of yourself believing that you are a superior human being with tolerance to other people. What a fake you are….
    @Lucky: can you ban him from posting political opinions? Most of us come here to read about miles and points.

  16. No, it’s fine really, we’re just pointing out it’s cool to make fun of skin color as long as it’s you whose doing it.

  17. Well it does not quite make an airline better that does everything possible to avoid even receiving valid compensation claims (for example not working online forms, social media support ignoring customers) and frequently hold times of up to an hour. I think even if God himself would fly for KLM I would avoid them as much as I can.

  18. In all seriousness though, please stop the politically charged comments. I come here for travel news and tips. Nothing more.

  19. @Chris “Who else is top of mind when scandal or deception come to mind”

    Well, for starters, how about Hillary:
    Took in millions of dollars in “donations” (sic) to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for political favors when she was Sec of State
    Used an illegal and unsecure private server for top secret government emails that ended up being hacked by 4 or 5 foreign governments, then deleted them to keep investigators from using them to indict her
    Failed to send help to our diplomats under fire by al Qaeda in Bengasi, resulting in the death of the Ambassador and the people trying to protect him, then lied about it to both the media and the relatives of those who died
    Allowed Russia to buy 20% of the total US supply of uranium in exchange for a (bribe) donation
    Said she landed in Bosnia under “sniper fire” when of course no such thing happened
    Put together a legal team to intimidate the rape victims of her husband to stop them from pressing charges

    Of course, there is also Obama:
    Under the Fast and Furious program allowed thousands of high powered weapons to be sold directly the Mexican drug cartels in a failed attempt to use negative publicity to advance his anti Second Amendment agenda
    Gave classified information about the Bin Laden operation to Hollywood producers to use in a film about it
    Publically stated dozens of time that everyone who was happy with the health plan they had would be able to keep it under Obamacare, when he knew quite well that was a lie
    Accused Bill Clinton of being a “racist” to gain the support of Black voters who were luck warm about him during his first primary campaign against Hillary
    Told the Russian President, when he didn’t realize his mic was live, to tell Putin that he couldn’t work with him while the election was going on, but once it was over he would be able to help Putin out with whatever he wanted

    Harry Reid:
    He made up a story about Mit Romney not having paid his taxes for the past 10 years in order to taint him as a POTUS candidate

    Rep Maxine Waters:
    She said if Hillary had fired FBI director Comey it would have been fine, but when Trump fired him it was an impeachable offense

    Just the tip of the iceberg, I know, but I’m pressed for time this morning. 😉

  20. Nick, you need to show more respect for President Trump, this great nation’s President. You may not have voted for President Trump, but he is still our President. Unacceptable to call him an “orange skinned” man.

    With Christian values finally taking shape in this country after year’s of President Obama’s anti-Christian policies, this country is on the path to becoming great again.

  21. Trump is a tool that is ruining our country! You hypocritical, low IQ, Republicans who put this man in office are going to have to listen to the educated make quips about the man until he is in jail or he kills us all!

    Furthermore, you are reading a travel blog. Most people who have been out of Arkansas have the cultural experience to know that TRUMP is crazy. If you are reading this blog and don’t have the intellect to know that, you should probably move on.

  22. Really stupid comments about the President – as if your better. Your writing to an audience that consumes news about points and travel. Your not writing to your friends in a bar.

  23. @Vinod Trump is mixed with so many scandals, especially as of late. Does he really deserve any kind of respect at all?

    Why must Christian values take shape in this country and not values from other religions? There are great values to be had from each and every religion out there with an equal amount of poor values from each religion.

  24. It’s so good to see the Russian troll community out in full force. I hope Putin pays you by the keystroke because you’re doing great!

    As for anyone who isn’t a paid-by-the-comment troll farmer whining about “injecting liberal politics” into the site, may I gently tell you that I simply don’t care. Your manufactured outrage makes me laugh (and to the commenter who added a “but Hillary and Benghazi!” comment congratulations for achieving today’s self-parody award).

  25. @Robert Hanson: I’d have pointed out that you spelled “Benghazi” wrong (you wrote, “Bengasi”) but then I realized “Bengasi” is the preferred Cyrillic transliteration. Not sure if you’re personally a Russian troll, or if you simply only get your “news” from Breitbart, which gets its news from Russian trolls. Either way, Dasvidanya!

  26. I have flown 3 times on KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70’s, so I might have had him in the copilot’s seat once… (I understand that’s the only type he’s currently rated on)

    If I may speculate, I suspect he could have been flying AMS-BRU. An almost ridiculously short flight (less than 100 nm, no more than 25-30 minutes, and I doubt the planes flying it ever venture above 15,000 ft), but very convenient if you can only afford to “disappear” for a few hours at a time.

  27. @Nick..The fact that “Robert Hanssen” is the name of one of the most notorious Russian spies in US history is not lost on me. This guy is always spouting right wing propaganda.

  28. The “Ben L.” comment at 9:57 AM (between Thom and Robert Hanson) was not posted by me. I think the political comments are just fine.

    Also, the triggered snowflake count has reached double digits.

  29. @AdamW So now Russia is “right wing”? I don’t think that term means what you think it means. 😉

    And how conceited to proclaim that anyone with views that differ from your own should not be allowed to read this blog. Sheesh….

  30. This news about the Dutch King is awesome!

    I wish we had a better president. This current administration is such a $#!tshow. Lowest approval ratings ever and so many scandals. I’m glad to hear that impeachment is being discussed.

    This is a free blog and I think writes should be able to write whatever they want and voice whatever opinions they want to, travel related or otherwise. No one is forcing you to read or click sponsor links. If you disagree with the views expressed here, gtfo.

  31. Wow. Holland has a king who can fly a plane.
    We in the US have a president who has almost no skills.

  32. Nick, check your own article’s spelling before you trash others. Specifically, “travellers, recognised, and travellers” again are all misspelled. Sure, you took this article from a U.K. publishing company, but using your logic…? Didn’t you claim that ‘Robert’ was a “Russian troll” because he posted a misspelled word? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, because “when they go low, we go high!” – Michelle Obama

  33. @Jon M “travellers” and “recognised” are the British spellings of the word so it’s not an error.

    Also, Nick does note that it could be a different spelling of the word, not a misspelling…

  34. Jon M – is it fair to assume that you are a low-information voter?
    Your post would suggest that intelligence just isn’t your thing.

  35. *Headdesk*
    Really enjoyed reading a nice article @ OMAAT about our King ( Yes I have been on a flight where he was the co-pilot)
    But once I started reading the comments….Pfffffffff You know that you can measure the level of civilization in people by how easily offended they are?
    If you are truly a fan of the Orange todler in the White house.. don’t get so upset about an innocent joke, makes you look angry, shortsighted and intolerant…
    Oh wait…

  36. Nick, you’re damaging the OMAAT brand. The joke in your post wasn’t a big deal but your subsequent comments in this thread are beneath the standards set by this blog’s contributors.

  37. Mr. Trump is MY President, as was Mr. Obama, regardless if I agree with any or all of their political positions.

    A little respect, please.

  38. @RobertHanson..You use the name of a Russian spy and always tout a right leaning agenda. It is clear that you and the GOP does not have an issue with our great country becoming modeled after Russia.

    The left has had to listen to the GOP attack Obama, Clinton, et. al for the last 8 plus years. Most of what was said was unsubstantiated and rooted in a racist, homophobic, conservative agenda in the name of protecting “our religion.” Now that it is becoming clear that TRUMP is unhinged (he always has been), it is becoming more difficult for you all to hide your true agenda.

    In the end, this is a travel site! Travel encourages people to experience other cultures and views…the exact opposite of the of everything the GOP stands for.

    Finally, this entire site is centered around a GAY man and others who generally have liberal views. If you don’t like that fact, maybe you should spend your time on Brietbart. Let the travel discussions be undertaken by the people who actually appreciate other peoples viewpoints and do not want to make the entire world like “Merica!”

  39. @Ron..the same respect that TRUMP shows women? Remember what YOUR president said about women and their genitalia! Please have a little insight.

  40. Mr. Trump is MY President, as was Mr. Obama, regardless if I agree with any or all of their political positions.

    A little respect, please.

    If you said “there is a chocolate colored person in the white house a year ago ” it would be just as disrespectfull

  41. @ Endre & Ron
    The day your president starts showing respect for women, the LBGT community, muslims, Mexicans …etc etc….
    The day he starts showing respect for people in general I might consider your suggestion.


    Offended Trumpanzees give me the lols. But what do you expect from fans of the Whiner in Chief?

    And for all those who say Trump deserves our respect because he’s president… um, no, that’s not how respect works. Respect must be earned. But he has earned quite the opposite from me and about 60,000,000,000 other people. Everything he has ever done earns my scorn.

  43. People get offended over everything in 2017, it’s so funny to read some comments here.

    – “Respect Trump! he’s your President”. No, i don’t think you understand how democracy works. He’s not the Emperor of some kingdom exist 2000 years ago.

  44. It’s interesting how much debate this one comment has generated. I had great difficulty understanding the viewpoint of the “other side,” and now I understand why. Check out this comic by TheOatmeal: Republican or Democrat, at least it will help you understand why the other side is so strongly set in their beliefs (spelling??), and why no amount of rational reasoning or fact will change it… and it will help you understand the same about yourself. Not looking to change anybody’s viewpoint here; rather, to recognize that different viewpoints can be deeply held… that it’s okay… and that debate is good. Hopefully that will raise the level of discourse. (But not too much… still love the jokes)

  45. But seriously, asking for respect to be shown to Trump is like asking respect to be shown to Humpty Dumpty. It just does not make any sense. I didn’t realise he actually had literate supporters that owned passports.

  46. But is he a competent pilot?

    That would be my concern. Flying only a few times a month is not great for keeping one’s skills up. And given his statute, I could see some serious cockpit resource management issues, with the other pilot possibly being less likely to correct His Royal Highness if he made a mistake.

    It is now officially a blizzard!
    Perhaps we need to establish some rules going forward!
    perhaps he is referred to #45 as there seems to be a problem agreeing on a title. We go with one size fits.
    To avoid becoming racist by referring to color, we refer to #45 as “person of undetermined color”? It appears that orange has been the color most noted but the shading varies from day to day.
    Nick! Thanks for the report! Just viewed a report on ABC news tonight on the same subject! As to worry about his competence? He has not dropped one yet!

  48. “@RobertHanson..You use the name of a Russian spy and always tout a right leaning agenda. It is clear that you and the GOP does not have an issue with our great country becoming modeled after Russia.”

    Such a lame comment. I’m not using the name of a Russian spy, his name is spelled differently, and even if it wasn’t why should I change my name because someone with that name was a spy? And besides, if I was trying to secretly promote Russia, why would a choose a name that brings up that connotation?

    But even more lame is your inability to even tell the difference between left wing and right wing. Putin is an (ex?) communist KGB agent, running Russia the way the Soviets ran things ie by dictatorial decree, murdering political opponents, and impoverishing the ordinary folks while enriching the top party members. That is in no way “right wing”. If you want to understand what “right wing’ actually means, you might want to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program.

    As for your Russia fixation, I remember when Mitt Romney said in a debate that “Russia is our greatest geo-political foe” and leftists like you mocked it. Obama even said “the 80’s are calling, they want their foreign policy back”.

    Hillary as Sec of State went to Moscow with a ‘reset button”, intending to normalize US-Russia relations. Obama himself was caught on a live mic whispering to the Russian President “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama implored. Obama assured the departing Russian President he will have the “flexibility” required to deal with missile defense issues after the 2012 presidential election.” Here is actual Russian collusion, which you can listen to on YouTube, using the title “Obama Mic Slip”.

    So in typical Soviet style ‘revisionism’, the moment Trump won the election, the entire left turned their blathering 180 degrees, and went from being pro-Russia to claiming Trump is a Russian “puppet”. If you expect to influence anyone’s view, you might want to try an argument that is less transparently hypocritical. 😉

  49. Thanks for confirming, Ben L. I had a suspicion that was the case.

    Talk about a storm in a teacup! Not sure how saying someone is orange is a political comment. Is it also political to say he’s a man? What characteristics are permitted, and which ones aren’t?

    Definitely a lot of overt sensitivity on display…

  50. Nick, bravo in disrespecting the President just to get more buzz on your article. I understand, you rarely post anything so you need to remind people you’re alive like a 12 year old craving attention by spilling food all over the kitchen floor.
    So unnecessary to bring politics into this.

  51. Nick,

    Stop blogging crap.

    Your first paragraph was utterly ridiculous. I didn’t even continue reading.

    Please have respect for this site and only blog/report well.

  52. Nick, you do what you want to do, and don’t tell others how you should blog. It’s ridiculous — it’s YOUR blog! If I wrote a blog, and others didn’t like what I wrote, they could simply decide not to read it. I can and should be able to write whatever I want in my own blog post.

    And wow, the ignorance… Someone telling you you’re spelling wrong because you use British English ‘traveller’, is just simply an ignorant thing to say.

    And yes, I enjoyed the joke. I live abroad ATM (Denmark), and the US’s reputation is being greatly destroyed by 45 and the current administration.

  53. Maybe a better segue to the article than “orange-skinned man” would be to refer to the Fokker in the White House

  54. @Robert Hanson..Thank you for proving all of my points. You quickly come to the defense of a nationalist agenda similar to RUSSIA! Are you going to try to argue that your idol Trump was not touting pure nationalism?

    It is clear to everyone but you that you are falling in line with the GOP right behind Trump. Last I checked the GOP was the right leaning please educate me on the difference between the right and left.

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