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The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Margriet to honour Olympic medal winners

It has been announced in the Netherlands, that the medal winners from both the Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be presented to King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Margriet on the 23rd March at the Noordeinde Palace. This will be the culmination of celebrations on the day, prior to the presentation there will be a festive programme of events at the Great Church in The Hague.

This event will be arranged as a celebration for all those who went to Pyeongchang, not only the competitors but their trainers and coaches as well. The group will be addressed by Deputy Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge and Sport’s Minister Bruno Bao, and they will be answered on behalf of the athletes by the Chefs de Mission, Jeroen Bijl and Esther Vergeer who will also no doubt thank the athletes as well for their efforts in Pyeongchang also the hard-work and dedication that took them there.

The Netherlands finished fifth in the medal table for the Winter Olympics, with twenty medals; eight gold and six each for silver and bronze, not bad for a country not renowned for snow and especially hills! This equals their ranking from Sochi, though with a slightly reduced team and medal count. In fact, most of the medals in this competition and all Winter Olympics come from the various skating disciplines, racing rather than figure or ice-dance.

This is a land of many canals and ditches, which freeze in the winter, and what better way to get about than skate over the frozen water. In fact, despite its small size, the Netherlands is the leading nation in speed-skating and of the 130 medals it has won at Winter Olympics through the years 126 have been in long or short-track skating.

King Willem-Alexander is a former member of the International Olympic Committee, and it is understood he is keen for the summer games to come back to Amsterdam in 2028, the centenary of the last time they hosted the games.