The Royal House of the Netherlands has announced King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will visit the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania between the 11th and 15th June, as the countries celebrate one hundred years of independence or renewed independence. They will be accompanied on their visit by the Foreign Minister, Stefan Blok.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will begin their tour as guests of President Raimonds Vējonis in the Republic of Latvia, where they will be keen to focus on transport and logistics and topics which hark back to historical links between the Netherlands and all the Baltic States. On the morning of 12th June, the party will move on to Estonia where their host will be President Kersti Kaljulaid. Whereas in Latvia discussions were very much set in history, in Estonia it is likely to be subjects on the cutting edge of modern technology – digital government and innovation in agriculture – and the issue that spreads fear in many countries, cybersecurity.
The visit finishes with a trip to Lithuania between the 13th and 15th June as guests of Dalia Grybauskaitė. The state visit will pause on the 14th June, as all three states remember the beginning of the mass deportations of Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian citizens to Siberia during the Soviet occupation. It is perhaps pertinent that discussions here will centre around military co-operation as well as bilateral cooperation in energy.
The Netherlands has current links with all three Baltic states due to mutual membership of both NATO and the European Community, but as alluded to earlier, links, especially trading links, go back many centuries. In fact, they go all the way back to the fourteenth century. The Hanseatic League was a trading agreement between ports bordering the North Sea and Baltic which was centred around Lubeck. This league negotiated beneficial trading rights with countries, even sometimes not paying import duties; it was at its height in the fourteenth century. Riga and Tallinn were very strong Hanseatic ports, and even to this day, Dutch cities such as Groningen and Zwolle refer to themselves as Hansa Cities.
Royal Central will, of course, cover the visit to all three countries, please watch the website for updates.