Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to abdicate for son
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has announced she is abdicating in favour of her son, Prince Willem-Alexander.
In a pre-recorded address broadcast on TV, she said she would formally stand down on 30 April.
The queen, who is approaching her 75th birthday, said she had been thinking about this moment for several years and that now was "the moment to lay down my crown".
Queen Beatrix has been head of state since 1980, when her mother abdicated.
In the short statement, she said it was time for the throne to be held by "a new generation".
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is also due to address the nation.
Queen Beatrix is the sixth monarch from the House of Orange-Nassau, which has ruled the Netherlands since the early 19th Century.
Correspondents say her abdication will not provoke a constitutional crisis. Under Dutch law, the monarch has few powers and the role is considered ceremonial.
In recent decades it has become the tradition for the monarch to abdicate.
Queen Beatrix's mother Juliana resigned the throne in 1980 on her 70th birthday, and her grandmother Wilhelmina abdicated in 1948 at the age of 68.
Queen Beatrix will be 75 on Thursday.