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By Sarah Storkin
Observer Staff Writer 

King of Holland Has a Part Time Job: Airline Pilot on Dutch KLM Airlines

Dutch King Willem-Alexander Sneaks Out of Palace to Fly Passenger Jets Once a Week

 

"I find flying simply fantastic," he told the newspaper, according to a BBC translation. "You can't take your problems with you off the ground. You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else."

What's a bored king of the Pays Bas do on his off hours? Sneak out of the palace to fly jumbo jets, it turns out. The kind with passengers.

King Willem-Alexander was born in Utrecht and is the oldest child of Beatrix of the Netherlands and German diplomat Claus van Amsberg, says Wikipedia.

"Most people don't listen to the announcements) anyway," he told the Guardian Newspaper, when asked if he is recognized. He doesn't give his true name.

The King, who turned 50 last week, has been an avid pilot for years, since serving in the Dutch Air Force. King Willem-Alexander has spent 21 years as a co-pilot for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, working in the cockpit twice a month - even after he took the throne in 2013, after his Mother Beatrix abdicated.

"I find flying simply fantastic," he told the newspaper, according to a BBC translation. "You can't take your problems with you off the ground. You can completely switch off for a while and focus on something else."

Dutch King Willem-Alexande with his wife Queen Maxima and their daughters Princesses

The king used to fly the Fokker 70, a narrow-body regional airliner. Now he's being retrained, so he can fly a Boeing 737. He said it "seemed nice to fly to other destinations one day, with more passengers and bigger distances," according to the BBC.

He told German newspaper De Telegraaf that he's rarely recognized in his second job. He said back before Sept. 11, when the cockpit door was open, he'd sometimes be spotted: "People regularly came to have a look and thought it was nice or surprising that I was sitting there," he said, according to a translation by The Guardian.

But walking through the airport in his uniform, he's rarely identified as the king. Same thing when he gives announcements during flights.

His glamorous wife Queen Maxima is technically an Argentinian commoner, though she does descend from an Austrian king.

 

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