It will not be a big party today. Her husband (Prince) Constantijn is today present at Startupfest and the children will have to go to school. The Princess also said she will celebrate her birthday in private, but the 50th anniversary of Princess Laurentien is a good reason to put her in the spotlight
Princess Laurentien was born 50 years ago (on 25 May 1966) in Leiden as Petra Laurentien Brinkhorst. She is the second child and first daughter of mr. Laurens Jan Brinkhorst (D66 politician / old Minister of agriculture and Economic Affairs) and drs. Jantien Brinkhorst-Heringa. The Princess has an older brother, Marius. Because her father’s work she has lived in Japan for some years.
Training and career
She attended her high school partly in the Hague and later in Tokyo (Japan) where her father was working at that time. After high school, Princess Laurentien studied history at the University of Groningen. After she finished her foundation year in 1986 she go studied political science in London. When she had received her Bachelor of Arts of this study she went to the University of California, Berkeley to study further. There she obtained her Master of Journalism in 1991.
After an internship at CNN in Atlanta and work for the Haagsche Courant she switch from journalism to communication functions. From 1992 to 2003 Princess Laurentien fulfilled communication and PR functions for different international organizations. Since May 2003 she has been active as an independent communications consultant.
Marriage and family
The first meeting with Prince Constantijn that Laurentien can remember was in 1985 on the Green Draeck. Probably that was that not even the first time, the mother of Laurentien knows Princess Beatrix from her student days. Anyway only several years later, in 1995, they learned to know each other well and get a relationship.
The official engagement was announced in 2000. On 17 May 2001 the couple married before the law in the Hague Town Hall and two days later the church wedding took place in the Grote of St. Jacobs’ Church of the Hague.
On 8 June 2002, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien become parents for the first time with the birth of daughter (Countess) Eloise.
On 21 March 2004 son (count) Claus-Casimir follows
On 3 June 2006 the second daughter (and the third child) countess Leonore was born
The first period after the marriage, the couple lived ( with their daughter Eloise), in London. Then the family moved to Brussels. Since the summer of 2015, the family lives in the Hague.
When we talk about her work , The most people think at her commitment against illiteracy. During her studies she came in contact with the subject when she was making a reporting. Later she give training to illiteracy as a volunteer. In May 2004 the Foundation Read and Write (Stichting Lezen en Schrijven) was founded on her inititieve. The Foundation aims to prevent and reduce functional illiteracy in Netherlands and wordwide. The Princess stopped as chair on 1 January 2014, but is still involved as Honorary-chair. In this position she focuses especially on international efforts of the Foundation in, for example, the European Literacy Policy Network (ELINET) and the program Public Libraries by 2020.
Her commitment against functional illiteracy go beyond her involvement in the Foundation read and write, for example the princess is Special Envoy of Literacy for UNESCO since 2009. In 2011 she was President of the High Level Group of experts on Literacy (HLG) of the European Commission, which presents its final report with recommendations for a European approach to structural and functional illiteracy in 2012. Further she has various honorary functions in this area. She is the patron of the Association Read Unlimited (formerly the NLBB, Association of Read disabled), patron of the Genootschap Onze Taal (society our language) and Honorary President of the Association of public libraries
The Princess also writes books. She wrote the children’s book series Mr Finney, about sustainability and climate change. The first book appeared in 2009, the second in February 2011, and the third in november 2013. Together with Paul van Loon, she made a storybook ‘Sprookjessprokelaar’ wich was presented in October 2014. Last month, a new book by Princess Laurentien called’ happily ever after ‘ was presented. In this book children react on dilemmas of leadership.
This book reconnect with the spirit of the ‘Missing Chapter Foundation. This foundation (wich was founded by Princess Laurentien in 2009) want to encourage children and adults to go in conversation about nature and about the way we treat each other on an equal way .
The Foundation also brings us to the second topic which can count on a lot of attention from Princess Laurentien: sustainability and nature conservation. Also in this area the Princess is active for several years. She is Advisor to the WWF and since 2003 involved by Flora Founa International (FFI), an international nature conservation organization that focuses on the global protection of endangered species and ecosystems, first as a member of the Executive Committee and thereafter as Vice President and since 2012 as president. As a Fellow at the European Climate Foundation, Special Advisor for Rewilding Europe, Senior Advisor at the port of Rotterdam also have to deal with the topic.