Why the Dutch King Works as a Pilot for KLM


This video was made possible by Curiosity
Stream. When you sign up at the link in the description
you’ll also get access to Nebula—the streaming video platform that HAI is a part of. This is Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. He’s king of the 17.2 million bike-riding,
windmill building, Stroopwaffle eating, clog wearing people of the Netherlands, in addition
to the 300,000 people of the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba,
Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Martin. Now, despite the fact that barely anyone outside
of the country even knows the Netherlands is a monarchy, the King is a pretty important
job. Willem-Alexander is the head of state and
has far-reaching powers into different branches of the Dutch government. In practice, though, sort of like the Queen
of the UK, he largely stays out of politics. You see, the monarchy of the Netherlands is
pretty low-key. In his youth, Willem-Alexander was known in
the media as, “Prince Pils.” That’s pils with one “l,” in reference
for his affinity for Pilsner beer, in addition to other large quantities of alcohol consumed
during his time at the University of Leiden. Eventually, though, he graduated and got interested
in the best beverage of all—water. Seriously, everything you read on him mentions
his keen interest in water management which sounds like an innuendo for bladder control
but it’s actually not. Eventually, though, in 2013, his mom quit
her job and thanks to nepotism, he, of course, walked his way in to the exact same position. They even threw this big party for him on
his first day. Now-King Willem-Alexander is known for his
casual style of monarchy—he never wears his crown; nobody calls him “his majesty”;
his daughters, who are princesses, go to public school; he has his own Instagram account;
and he even turns his throne around and sits in it backwards in order to seem cool and
approachable to the kids. Since long before his current job, though,
Willem-Alexander has held another job—as an airline pilot. You see, back in 1985, slightly concerningly
before being dubbed Prince Pils, he earned his private pilots license, followed two years
later by his commercial pilot’s license. He first used this to work as a volunteer
pilot for some organizations in Kenya in addition to just recreational flying. He got his license to fly multi-engine jet
aircraft in 1989, his military pilot’s license in 1994, then in 2001, he got the crown jewel
of pilots licenses—the airline transport pilot license. That’s the license you need to fly big boy
airplanes with passengers in the back, and so, soon after, Willem-Alexander started doing
just that. Now, how or why exactly this arrangement started
is a bit unclear, but sometime in the early 2000s, somehow, then-Prince Willem-Alexander
strutted over to KLM and cashed in his, “I’m a prince,” card to negotiate a deal to work
for them as a part-time pilot. This made sense for two reasons. One was that KLM’s full name literally translates
to Royal Aviation Company, Inc, so having a little royal in the company, despite the
fact it was then and is now a fully private company, would keep it honest to its name. That way they wouldn’t have to switch to
being called Aviation Company, Inc. Two was that KLM operated the Dutch government
airplane. At the time it was a Fokker 70 which would
be used the royals or politicians to go where they needed to go, and so, once certified,
Willem-Alexander would regularly fly this airplane, especially when it was the royals
using it. The hours of flying he got from the government
airplane alone, though, weren’t enough to maintain his pilot’s license so eventually
he started flying regular passenger flights too. He worked for KLM Cityhopper, the airline’s
subsidiary, flying the Fokker 70 to glamorous places all around the wor… all around Euro…
all around north-western Europe like Humberside, Darlington, and Norwich. Nobody really ever knew he was working as
copilot for these flights, aside from the rest of the crew, as he would never introduce
himself by name when making announcements and, even in the airport, he was rarely recognized
in his KLM uniform. He flew a few times a month all throughout
the 2000’s, and continued to do so even after he became King. In 2017, though, he ran into a bit of a problem. KLM was retiring all of their Fokker aircraft
in favor of newer, more efficient Embraer jets, and these Fokkers were the only aircraft
that the king was certified to fly commercially. This was an even bigger issue for the Dutch
government whose plane, the Fokker 70, could no longer be operated by KLM as they would
no longer have pilots or mechanics for the plane. They therefore made the decision to buy a
Boeing 737 Business Jet, which was better equipped for longer trips, which it turns
out the Dutch have to do a lot to catch up with all the places they accidentally colonized
back in the day. So, Willem-Alexander made the decision to
go through the long, expensive process of getting type rated for the 737 and, once done,
started flying 737’s for KLM. This would take him to much further-flung
destinations all around Europe and sometimes further. While it was always a sort of open secret,
he revealed this side-gig of his to the press in 2017, which resulted in quite a lot of
attention. While he apparently flies about twice-monthly,
his last confirmed sighting was in late 2018 when he worked as co-pilot on a KLM flight
to and from Istanbul, or, as the cool kids call it, Constantinople. Speaking of which, if you want to learn more
cool kid words, it’s not called the Battle of Normandy, it’s called Operation Overlord,
at least in the allies’ codename system. The logistics of landing a fighting force
strong enough to take back Europe on a few French beaches were immense, but that’s
exactly what Brian from Real Engineering’s new Nebula original is about—the logistics
of D-Day. This is just one of many original series’
available on Nebula, which is, of course, the streaming site built by myself and plenty
of other creators. Nebula is now available for free when you
sign up for a subscription at Curiosity Stream—the streaming site home to thousands of top quality
documentaries, non-fiction shows, and more. Curiosity Stream has long been recognized
as a top streaming site for those who love learning, and now the addition of Nebula with
their subscription makes it a fantastic deal. By signing up for a yearly subscription at
CuriosityStream.com/HAI, which is just $20, you’ll also get a free Nebula subscription,
and you’ll also be doing your part in supporting independent creators.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. Good news everyone! HAI is now releasing six videos a month! (Every week on Thursdays, every other week on Tuesdays)
    What this means is we need topic suggestions… or else we'll have to make a video about baskets. Suggest your topic here and, if we use it, we'll send you a free HAI t-shirt: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfUdlvw6YgU44J8AnM2U_ZvRMyvh_CUM51LYSqF5nYJB9d1-w/viewform?usp=sf_link

  2. The video is slightly incorrect. 'Royal' in the name of the KLM, does not have a direct link to the royal family. Companies get a royal status by being at least one hundred years old. Apart from that the company, association or institution must be of great importance in its field and enjoy national recognition.

  3. This was actually really inspiring. I got screwed over on taxes really badly this year so I've had to push back starting on my PPL. It's been a really disheartening year since that tax appointment but several months prior to that, I'd realized that I'd known my entire life that I needed to do this. This video has inspired me to just keep on working my ass off and keep saving!

  4. what Dutch people DON'T know is that Beatrix was queen from 1980 – 2013 = 33 years, and Willem married on the 33rd day of the year ( 02-02 ) also they have connections to the freemasons ( 33 ) and are members of the Bilderberg group.
    the name Beatrix comes from star Bellatrix. from there you can find out many more….
    the word KING is in numbers 11 09 2001.
    they won't tell this shit in mainstream media. ( 9/11/2001 truck explodes on KINGSstreet New Amsterdam ( New York ) U.S.A. )

  5. Yall know they are going to let yall put in all the work on nebula then just buy it outright? Why else would they allow trafficking educational stuff to other sites they won't benefit from?…… they aren't stupid …if it fails they lose nothing….. if it does well they buy it out before its peak letting it keep its course and in the end, make a hefty profit in the end with nearly no risk. BUT … that's my opinion…. I AM calling it now tho….ill revisit this when it happens and see if I was right or wrong 😛 <3

  6. Dutch King lets passenger on overbooked flight sit in cockpit
    https://royalcentral.co.uk/europe/netherlands/dutch-king-lets-passenger-on-overbooked-flight-sit-in-cockpit-133376/

  7. The Dutch king really doesn't have any power. His ancestor gave it pretty much all up in order to not end up like the tsar of Russia.

  8. Both you and Real Engineering doing plane videos in the same week? Are you two teaming up to intimidate Wendover on his own turf?

  9. This is His Majesty King Willem-Alexander van Oranje-Nassau King of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

    He's the Monarch of alot of people, and when we talk about His Majesty we do so with respect.

    Groeten uit Nederland, Greetings from the Netherlands.

  10. “Despite the fact that barely anyone outside the country even knows the Netherlands is a monarchy…”
    That’s a very American assumption to make.

  11. wtf they did not throw a party for his first day its every year and we did the same with his mom birthday get the facts correct

  12. Due the the fact he is likely the royal that's traveled the most by air, his average altitude higher than other monarchs, meaning he must be reffered to as "his highestness" as he is, the highest highness.

  13. An American calling a monarchy "nepotism". That's rich coming from the country where government is run my FAMILIES. The Bushes, the Kennedys, the Clintons etc

  14. I like how, back with the Nuclear Security Summit in 2014, world leaders arrived with all the fancy overprotected parades, while our prime minister just arrived, alone, on his bicycle.

    And the royals actually partake in society like everyone else, safe for the few symbolic moments they represent the Netherlands.

  15. I love this channel, but there is an inaccuracy. The ‘Royal’ in KLM is given for a totally different reason than suggested. It is given to Dutch companies that exist for a minimum of 100 years, operate nationally, and are of great importance in their field. It has nothing to do with a royal working there or royal consumption.

  16. It would feel weird having the King as a co-worker. Calling him by his first name would be incredible awkward. I'd call him sir. lol

  17. My dad usd to fly a lot for his job (he is Anesthesiologist and used to pick up patients in foreign territory) and once Willem Alexander was his pilot

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