King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima attended a State Banquet on Monday evening during their tour of India and, in a speech, the King shared he inherited his love of the country from his parents, Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus.
“My father and mother had a warm place in their hearts for this country,” he said. “That fascination is more than understandable. India is overwhelming: a galaxy of peoples, cultures, languages and philosophies of life. “
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind hosted the banquet for the royal couple in New Delhi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the presidential palace, and King Willem-Alexander touched on the longstanding friendship between their two countries.
“‘Eternal friendship, as long as the sun and moon are in the sky.’ That is what our forefathers wished each other in the very first treaty between our two countries, over four centuries ago,” King Willem-Alexander said. “My wife and I are delighted to see that our friendship today is more vibrant than ever.”
“The last few decades have shown us what this great country is capable of,” he continued. “Millions of people have been able to climb out of poverty through resourcefulness and hard work. India is conquering the world with optimism and talent. Your country has built a reputation as a pioneer in IT and as a proving ground for innovations with a high social yield at low cost.”
“Indian entrepreneurs, professionals, scientists and students are making their mark all over the world, including in the Netherlands. They are distinguished by their drive and expertise, and they are more than welcome in our country.”
“‘All of us live on each other’s doorstep.’ These words were spoken by Prime Minister Nehru during his first official visit to the Netherlands in 1957, ten years before I was born. The truth of his insight has only become more obvious.”
“We are awed by the richness of your history, from the Indus Valley civilisation to the present day. India exceeds our comprehension. Whoever seeks to understand it, must abandon preconceived ideas and dare to be open to new experiences. And that is how we have come here today: with an open heart and an open mind.”
The Dutch State Visit to India continues until October 18th 2019.