Concluding a regional visit to the Eemland region on Tuesday, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands gave an emotional speech on Tuesday in Spakenburg, saying of the area in which he grew up: “Here are my roots, that made it very special”.
The memory-filled day began in the province of Utrecht on Tuesday morning where the royal couple visited the medieval gate at the Koppelpoort in Amersfoort. Enthusiastic crowds greeted the couple, cheering happily as the pair embarked on a short walk along the banks of the Eem before visiting the Eemhuis, a cultural centre which houses four different institutions, including a library. The King and Queen spoke with Amersfoort residents about the quickly evolving population on the identity of the city. They also enjoyed performances from the Amersfoort Youth Orchestra and School of Arts students.
Following the visit to Amersfoort, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited the Paardenkamp – a large farm in Soest which houses older horses and ponies. There the couple had the opportunity to speak with farm volunteers and learn more about the program which enables people with disabilities to gain farming experience as part of their care program. They also met with local farmers, with whom they discussed the challenges of nature management and sustainability.
The busy day of engagements followed with a ferry trip across to Eem to the municipality of Bunschoten-Spakenburg where thousands turned out to meet the royals. During a visit to Bunschoten’s care and living centre, ‘De Haven’, the King was reunited with former staff members from Soestdijk Palace, who worked for his grandparents, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard. He also warmly greeted a former classmate from kindergarten in Baarn, whom he had not seen in decades.
The visit comes near the end of a series of twelve regional and provincial visits which saw the royal couple conduct a series of engagements and walkabouts throughout the Netherlands, meeting their people and supporting various causes throughout.