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SpainThe Netherlands

Two Kings, history and a common goal: sustainability and diplomacy at the centre of friendly visit

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is undertaking a two-day working visit to Spain, focused on celebrating the 375th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries and their cooperation in the green transition. 

For this, he was joined for some events by King Felipe of Spain, and the two of them showed the deep bond that is shared not only by the two countries but also by the two of them personally. 

On Tuesday, 13 June, King Willem-Alexander landed in Puertollano, about an hour south of Madrid. He visited the National Hydrogen Centre and the hydrogen plant in Iberdrola. 

Meanwhile, King Felipe had arrived at the Royal Botanical Garden in the capital for the celebration of the monumental anniversary, where he was welcomed, among others, by the Minister for the Green Transition, Teresa Ribera, the President of the Superior Council for Scientific Research María Eloísa del Pino, and the Director of the Royal Botanical Garden María Paz Martín Esteban.

It was then King Felipe’s turn to welcome his Dutch homologue, and the two monarchs were photographed greeting each other with a hug. 

Once inside, the two Kings sat at the main table and listened to the speech offered by the Dutch Ambassador to Spain before both took the time to offer a few words. 

King Felipe went first and began by remembering the other anniversary being celebrated in 2023: “It is also a special occasion, as this year marks the 375th anniversary since our kingdoms, Spain and the Netherlands, established diplomatic relations. Ok, but there is another anniversary: a few days ago, it was your tenth as head of state and monarch (symbol of unity and continuity).”

He then highlighted the ties that bind the two nations together in their transition towards green energy, especially when it comes to hydrogen: “Its versatility, decarbonisation potential and ability to drive the development of key sectors make it a significant part of our energy future.”

King Willem-Alexander’s speech had the same tone: he began by highlighting the fact that “It’s gratifying that two countries that were engaged in fierce conflict in the distant past now feel such a close kinship. Today we’re celebrating 375 years of excellent relations,” before moving on to the topic of hydrogen production, and the potential this has to make Europe less energy-dependent on other countries and territories. 

The next day, the two Kings travelled to Cádiz for the presentation of Europe’s first green hydrogen maritime corridor, which will run between Algeciras in Spain and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. 

The day saw the two heads of state preside over the signature of the accords for the creation and management of this corridor, as well as a visit to an exhibition dedicated to maritime transportation of green hydrogen.

Before leaving the port, the two monarchs posed for a photograph with all delegations involved in the day’s activities, including the Dutch Minister for Energy Transition, who was travelling with King Willem-Alexander.