The Hague: A transgender woman has won the Miss Netherlands beauty pageant for the first time in the history of the tournament, saying she wanted to be a "voice and role model" for others.
Rikkie Kolle, 22, from the southern town of Breda, was crowned at a ceremony on Saturday and will now take part in the Miss Universe contest in El Salvador, the organisers said.
"I DID IT," Kolle posted on Instagram after winning. "Yes I'm trans and I want to share my story, but I'm also Rikkie, and that is what matters to me."
She will become only the second trans Miss Universe contestant, after Angela Ponce as Miss Spain in 2018.
The Miss Netherlands organisers said it was the "first time in Dutch history that a trans woman has won this competition".
Kolle had "radiated throughout the show" and had "strong story with a clear mission," they said on their website.
Kolle herself said she wanted to use her win to bring about "change in society".
"As Miss Netherlands 2023 I want to be a voice and role model for all young women and queer people," she said in a statement on the contest's website.
"I know better than anyone what it's like to feel alone and not be surrounded by only positive thoughts.
"When I was little Rik and came out as transgender, it wasn't easy for everyone. I, too, went through it. Today I am stronger than ever before."
The only previous Dutch winner of the Miss Universe competition was Angela Visser, in 1989.