Queen Maxima of the Netherlands caused a stir on Thursday on a royal visit to Germany when some local commentators said the recurring symbol embroidered on her gray coat resembled a Nazi swastika. The queen, who is 44 and known for her fashion sense, wore the coat on a visit in Nuremberg in the southern German state of Bavaria.
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The monarch also wore the coat on a visit to Denmark a year ago without incident, the DutchNews.nl website reported. It was designed by Danish designer Claes Iverson, who lives in the Netherlands.
Iversen issued a statement saying that it had never been his intention to have the appliques on the coat linked to the Nazi symbol, DutchNews.nl noted, quoting the designer as saying that the decorations were composed of screws and keys and that "the embroidery was created with the idea of being unconventional but in a classical geometric form."
Nuremberg has special significance in the annals of the Nazi regime. It was the city in which in 1935 anti-Semitic legislation was ratified stripping German Jews of German citizenship and prohibiting marriage and sexual relations between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans. The city was also the site of war crimes trials of Nazi officials after World War II.
German media outlets, including Bild and Bavarian-based TZ, reported on the controversy. For her part, Justine Marcella of the Dutch publication Vorsten said the German context created the special sensitivity. “When she wore the cloak in Denmark, nobody cared. But because it is now Germany, suddenly it becomes a thing,” the NLTimes website reported.
The Netherlands was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940 and only completely liberated in 1945. Its Jewish population was decimated in the Holocaust, with 107,000 of 140,000 Jews in the country perishing, according to Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and research center. The Nazi occupation also took its toll on the Dutch population as a whole, and during the winter of 1944 to 1945, large number of residents of the Netherlands starved to death.