King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands are undertaking an historic three-day state visit to Canada this week which will highlight the close relationship and strong ties which have existed between the two countries since the Second World War.
Their arrival in Ottawa on Wednesday marks the first official state visit to Canada for King Williem-Alexander, who became monarch in 2013 after the abdication his mother, Queen Beatrix. The couple are visiting the country after receiving an official invitation of the Governor General David Johnston.
The visit is taking place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Holland, where in 1945 at the end of World War II, Canadian troops helped drive the Nazis out of the country.
On Wednesday, the King and Queen toured Parliament Hill, where they had a meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and placed a wreath at the National War Memorial.
On Thursday, the Dutch Royals visited the University of Waterloo, where they took a look at the research labs at the Institute for Quantum computing and watched the first 70 Canadian students receive scholarships to study in the Netherlands.
According to the Dutch government, the 70 scholarships were created together with several Dutch & Canadian companies to symbolize the 70 years since the end of the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands.
On the final day of the tour, King Williem and Queen Maxima will travel to Toronto where they will take a tour of Queen’s Park, before heading south to the United States.
The Canada-Netherlands diplomatic relationship goes back to the early days of the Second World War, when Willem-Alexander’s mother and grandmother, Beatrix and Juliana, fled the German invasion of the Netherlands and moved to Ottawa for their safety. The royals spent five years in Canada, during which time they resided at Stornoway.
The Canadians made the Dutch royals feel welcome to their country and because of this, Canada is remembered in the Netherlands for their efforts to eradicate Nazis from the country.
King Willem-Alexander’s state visit to Canada is the first to take place by a Dutch monarch since May 1988, when Queen Beatrix came to Ottawa for the Canadian Tulip Festival. Prior to this, Queen Juliana visited Canada in May of 1967.
Photo Credit: Stijn Nieuwendijk