It is an exiting year for the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix has announced that she will abdicate on 30 April, on Koninginnedag or Queen's Day. Succeeding her is eldest son Willem-Alexander, the heir apparent to the throne; he will be the first King of the Netherlands in 123 years. On an equally important scale is the 400th anniversary of the extension of the canals in Amsterdam. With the booming economy, population and the spice trade, Amsterdam ran out of space. The canal ring area was created which included Herengracht, Keizergracht and Prinsengracht. Spacious canal side houses and gardens were built to accommodate the wealthy Merchants, Mayors and Bankers. Today the city seems unchanged with its canals, towers, bridges and churches and the ring of canals has just recently been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.