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The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima end State Visit to Germany

On the 6th and 7th of July, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands carried out engagements for the second and third day of their State Visit to Germany. 

On Tuesday, Their Majesties started the day with a visit to the Bundestag, the German Parliament, where, after a meeting with the Bundestag President, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, they received a tour of the facility, and their visit was closed by a meeting with the BeNeLux parliamentary group. 

Afterwards, they visited “Gropius Bau,” a museum of modern art in Berlin, where they were introduced to the theme of new materials and sustainable circular design, as well as seeing projects realised under this concept and touring the exhibition titled “Kosmos Weben.” 

They then visited the other branch of the German Parliament, the Federal Council, which hosts representatives from all 16 federal states that make up the Federal Republic of Germany. There, King Willem-Alexander delivered a speech in which he highlighted his commitment to exploring Germany in its entirety and the strong bonds that unite Germany and the individual states that make up Germany, as well as underscoring the importance of cooperation in different fields, which include health and climate change. 

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The royal couple then held a meeting with outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will be leaving the post after the next election and has been trying to visit with all heads of state and government in Europe before this happens. 

Their Majesties then took part in a symposium on hydrogen, of which Germany and the Netherlands are two of the main producers in Europe. Hydrogen is a key component of the green revolution and will be key in the conversion of power plants to renewable energy sources. 

The second day of the visit ended with a cultural evening offered by the King to thank the Germans for their hospitality. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra performed in the Berlin Konzerthaus. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is an ensemble based in Amsterdam that takes its name from the place where they rehearse and mainly perform. In 1988, they were given the title of “Royal” by Queen Beatrix. 

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The day took a turn for the worse when Their Majesties received news of the attempted murder of renowned investigative journalist Peter R. De Vries; they promptly released a written statement expressing their shock at the event and their support to Mr De Vries and all journalists. 

The third and final day started at an exhibition on photonics, which has been organised in the context of Berlin, having declared 2021 to be the year of science. Photonics, specifically, are a key component of many pieces of technology, and a memorandum has been signed by both German and Dutch authorities to establish cooperation between the two countries in the field of photonics and quantum mechanics. 

The royal couple then visited Park Herzberge, a nature conservation area in East Berlin, where they witnessed a meeting on teaching children, stakeholders and initiators, as well as the general public, about nature, environmental conservation and the history of the park. Before this, they briefly spoke to the press about the previous night’s incident in Amsterdam.

Their Majesties then visited the Berlin Global exhibition, which focuses on the evolution the city of Berlin went through and its citizens’ connection to the rest of the globe. 

The state visit was then concluded with a lunch on the theme of the Year of the Volunteer in Berlin. 

Their Majesties and all the ministers that accompanied them during this visit then flew back to the Netherlands. Their Majesties then released a short thank you statement on their social media accounts:

“Many thanks for the hospitable reception. This state visit was not a conclusion but the beginning of something new. In the coming years, we will closely monitor developments and support German-Dutch initiatives and innovations. We hope that we will meet again. We will continue to cherish our multifaceted relationship with the Federal Republic of Germany!” – WA and Máxima. 

This state visit is the first one that the Dutch royal couple undertook in 16 months and has been seen as a sign of the slow return to some sense of normalcy after the huge global changes the world went through.