European RoyalsThe Netherlands

Queen Máxima meets a parrot on trip to Southwest Drenthe


King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima paid a visit to Southwest Drenthe on Wednesday to meet with the residents, as well as to support entrepreneurs and their business initiatives – and the Queen got to meet a parrot, as well.

Their visit to Southwest Drenthe saw them visiting the municipalities of Hoogeveen, Westerveld, De Wolden and Meppel. According to the Dutch Royal House’s website, “In addition to a large number of villages, the region has two urban centres: Hoogeveen and historic Meppel. Together they form the economic engine of the region. Southwest Drenthe is also characterized by high technology from, among others, GKN Fokker and ASTRON and many small companies. In addition, nature plays an important role in this region.”

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At Hoogeveen, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima met with the founders of the ‘De Smederijen’ and ‘Jong Hoogeveen’ initiatives, as well as participants in both. The initiatives encourage residents to support their own neighbourhoods, and to help children “grow up in a healthy, safe, debt-free and successful way so that they can find their way in society and on the labour market.”

Following this, the King and Queen toured GKN Fokker, one of the largest employers in Hoogeveen, to learn about their stealth technology production.

In Westerveld, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited Dwingelderveld, which is the largest wet heathland area in Western Europe, to hear about the work the volunteers do in support of conservation and biodiversity.

Following this, the King and Queen paid a visit to ASTRON, the Dutch Institute for Radio Astronomy, which is one of the top three in the world for radio astronomy. There, they took a tour and learned how ASTRON is recruiting new employees.

In De Wolden, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited the village of Veeningen to learn about the ‘De Wolden Rich In Initiative” which “reinforces the ‘we-feeling’ in the village and leads to more living pleasure.”

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The King and Queen also visited residents who benefit from the ‘t Groene Hart’ initiative to learn how it works to attract young families to the area and to see the play areas for young children developed by ‘t Groene Hart.’

Finally, in Meppel, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited Haveltermade to learn how social housing and public spaces have been improved by and for the residents.

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Queen Máxima also had a chance meeting with a parrot named Amalia – named in honour of her eldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia, according to the bird’s owner.

Speaking to a reporter from the Dutch newspaper De Stentor afterwards, Trees Ballhuis said that Amalia also knew how to sing the Dutch national anthem, Wilhelmus, although it didn’t sing when it landed on Queen Máxima’s hand.



About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, with an emphasis on the British, Danish, and Swedish Royal Families.