King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited the Betuwe region in the Netherlands this week. The visit is part of their so-called regional visits and is the 14th regional visit in the country and the second visit to the province of Gelderland.
The King and Queen were welcomed by the King’s Commissioner John Berends and went with him to visit the cities of Opheusden, Tiel, Geldermalsen and Culemborg – all in the space of five hours. With so little time, the King and Queen were told of the most important issues in the Betuwe region, such as the lack of suitable labourers for the cultivation of fruit, the problems that can occur with labour migration and durability.
The visit began in Opheusden, where they visited the Tree Centre Opheusden (TCO) and the Volentis plantation. In Tiel, the King and Queen visited the transport company Vonk, a family business that began with the transport of fruit but now focusses on the transportation and storage of appliances. The King and Queen learned all about how the company recycles and how it tries to be more durable. Afterwards, they spoke with the Logistieke Hotspot Rivierenland and students of the ROC Rivor about education, innovation and entrepreneurship.
In Geldermalsen, the King and Queen visited the tasting garden of the Koninklijke FruitMasters. This is a fruit cooperation with over 400 fruit growers. In the garden, the King and Queen were informed about the future of the fruit growing business and new initiatives. Their last stop was in Culemborg, where they were welcomed at the City Hall. Here they met with young people, their mentors from the city, police and youth services. They talked about the problems the young people face today and the approach the city of Culemborg takes to help them back on track.
The King’s Commissioner kept a close eye on his watch. After the regional visit, King Willem-Alexander headed to The Hague for a meeting with the Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan, while Queen Máxima headed to Amsterdam for the opening of the Holland Festival.