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King and Queen of the Netherlands to undertake state visit to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania

It was announced by the Dutch Government Information Service (RVD) that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will undertake state visits to Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania next month.

The visit will start in Latvia on 11 June. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will be officially welcomed at the Presidential Palace in Riga by the President. They will then lay flowers at the Freedom Monument before meeting with the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament.

The royal couple and the President will then go to the National Library where King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will gift a book to the President. This is a fixed event for all official visit to Latvia this year as the books will be exhibited before being made available to the public. The King and Queen have chosen to gift a copy of ‘Rijks, Masters of the Golden Age’ by Marcel Wanders. Afterwards, the couple will visit a temporary exhibition about Rembrandt.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will then attend the closing ceremony of the ‘Get Started!’ seminar before attending the state banquet at the Presidential Palace.

On 12 June, the couple will visit the exhibition ‘Latvia’s Century’ which celebrates 100 years of independence before meeting with members of the Dutch community in Riga. They will then depart for Estonia.

Upon their arrival in Tallinn, Estonia, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will follow a very similar programme to those of the day before. They will be officially welcomed at the Presidental Palace before laying a wreath at the War of Independence Victory Column and planting an oak tree. They will then meet with the Prime Minister and visit the Parliament. They will end their day with a state banquet.

On 13 June, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit the e-Estonia Showroom and learn more about digitisation. They will then meet with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The King and Queen will be joined by the Estonian president for a short walk through Tallinn’s historic centre before attending a seminar on agro innovation.

Afterwards, the royal couple will meet with members of the Dutch community before visiting the exhibition ‘Michel Sittow. Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe’ where two items from Dutch collections are exhibited. In the evening, they will attend a farewell ceremony at the Presidential Palace before departing for Vilnius.

Upon their arrival in Vilnius, Lithuania, they will be officially welcomed at the Presidential Palace, meet the President and attend a state banquet.

There will be no events on 14 June as the three countries will commemorate the victims of the first mass Soviet deportations of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to Siberia in 1941.

For the last day of their trip to the Baltic states, on 15 June, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will lay a wreath at the Antakalnis Cemetery to commemorate those who fell in the Wars of Independence. They will then attend the opening ceremony of the Bilateral Forum on Sustainable Energy.

The royal couple will also meet with the Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister as well as members of the Dutch community in Vilnius.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will travel to Kaunas with the President as they will attend the unveiling of the light monument to Dutch diplomat Jan Zwartendijk, who helped thousands of Jews to flee the city in the summer of 1940. They will meet descendants of Jan Zwartendijk and family members of the people he helped. The monument was designed by Dutch artist Giny Vos.

To end their state visit, the royal couple and the President will then travel to Rukla where they will visit NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) Battle Group. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will also meet the 270 Dutch soldiers who have been part of the Battle Group since March 2017 and speak with some of them about their experiences.

The visits are taking place in the year in which Latvia and Estonia celebrate 100 years of independence and Lithuania 100 years of regained independence. The independence celebrations were the main feature of several royal visits this year. Just recently, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway undertook similar official tours to the three Baltic states to celebrate these milestones. Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden also visited Lithuania and Latvia earlier this year, and they will visit Estonia in August.

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