"Royals should exhibit the gifts they receive"

Paul Van Den Driessche, a Senator for the Flemish nationalist party N-VA, urges the Belgian royal family to shed more light on the gifts they receive. Van Den Driessche says that nobody really knows what happens to these gifts. Van Den Driessche wants to kill two birds with one stone: the gifts should be made available to the public at large through an exhibition, which would also bring more clarity.

"I wrote a letter to the king's chief secretary asking him to stage an annual exhibition about these gifts, in order to have the public enjoy them. You have to know that there are very beautiful gifts among the items they receive."

Van Den Driessche wants to open the discussion about who the gifts belong to. "In my vision, they are state property, since the king receives them in his function as head of state and not as a private person." At present, there is no clarity. "I hear stories that the most precious pieces are being considered as private property  by the royal family, but I don't have any proof."

Van Den Driessche got inspiration abroad. "I was in a museum about François Mitterand, where you have a whole wing dedicated to all kinds of presents the former French presidents received as head of state."

The Netherlands also have a good approach, explains Van Den Driessche. "There, you even have a foundation taking care of the gifts the royals receive. These are considered as state property."

Van Den Driessche adds that gifts received by the federal PM also end up on a list, after which they are donated to museums.