Prince Willem-Alexander attended Nieuwe Baarnse Elementary School in Baarn from 1973 to 1979. He went to three different high schools: the Baarns Lyceum in Baarn from 1979 to 1981, the Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum in The Hague from 1981 to 1983, and the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales near Llantwit Major (1983 to 1985), where he received his International Baccalaureate. After high school he performed military service in the Royal Netherlands Navy from August 1985 to January 1987. He received his training at the Royal Netherlands Naval College and the frigates HNLMS Tromp and HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, where he was an ensign. In 1988, he received additional training at the ship HNLMS Van Kinsbergen and became a lieutenant (junior grade).
From 1987-1993, the heir to the Dutch throne attended Leiden University, where he studied history.
He hold several national and international positions, including honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century and patron of the Global Water Partnership,Chairperson of the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, Raad van State, he holds commissions in the Dutch Army (as brigadier), Navy (as commandeur) and Air Force (as commodore), patron of the Dutch Olympic Games Committee until 1998 until he was inducted as a member of the International Olympic Committee.
He is an avid sportsman. Using the name "W.A. van Buren", one of the less well-known titles of the House of Orange-Nassau, he has participated in the New York City Marathon, where his aunt, Princess Christina, and several cousins live. In the Netherlands, he was a participant in the Frisian Eleven Cities ice skating marathon, aka the Elfstedentocht. The Prince was seen cheering on the Netherlands' national football team during their hosting year, at Euro 2000, always wearing an orange vest. Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife travelled to South Africa to support the national team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
He married Argentine Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (1971) at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 2 February 2002. Together, they have three daughters:
- HRH Princess Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria (2003)
- HRH Princess Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien (2005)
- HRH Princess Ariane Wilhelmina Máxima Inés (2007)