The US press agency last month released four shots of Willem-Alexander, princess Maximá and one of their three daughters while they were on a ski vacation in Argentina. The court ruled this has put "an unacceptable pressure" on their family life.
"They should not have to constantly be prepared that private photographs will be offered to media," the court ruled. Only if the images have news value or contribute to the public debate about a social topic, can an exception be made, it said.
AP had argued that it should be able to distribute photos of a public figure made in a public place, claiming the images were taken from a "respectful" distance" and outside the Netherlands.
Dutch media have agreed to a so-called media code, which says that only pictures of Willem-Alexander and Maximá taken while they are "in function" may be published. In exchange, the royals regularly pose for pre-arranged "photo ops".Several Dutch newspapers published the AP photos. Dutch public broadcaster NOS said it only showed the pictures after they had become a topic of public debate in their own right.