Official visit to the United States of America (2)

24 April, 2015

Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will pay an official visit to the United States of America from Monday 1 June to Wednesday 3 June 2015 (see Government Information Service no. 79). The King and Queen will visit Washington, D.C. - where they will have a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House -
Grand Rapids and Chicago. They will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders.

The Netherlands is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its liberation in 2015, so time will be set aside during the visit to reflect on the major role played by the US in restoring the country's independence. The visit will be an opportunity to thank the US for its contribution to 70 years of peace and freedom in the Netherlands and Europe.

The visit will also focus on the economic ties between the two countries. An economic mission on the themes 'Feeding the City' and 'Healthy Ageing' will take place at the same time as the official visit. Representatives will join the mission from the top sectors agri-food, horticulture & propagation materials, life sciences & health, chemicals, and high-tech systems & materials. The mission will visit Chicago under the leadership of Edith Schippers, the Netherlands' Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport. In Grand Rapids Simon Smits, Director-General for Foreign Economic Relations, will take over the mission leadership.

In the week preceding this visit to the US, the King and Queen will pay a state visit to Canada, focusing there on Canada's great contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands. Alongside the state visit, there will be a Dutch economic mission and higher education mission to Canada.

Monday 1 June

The visit to the US will begin Monday morning in the Washington area, at Arlington National Cemetery, where the King and Queen will pay tribute to the American war dead. King Willem-Alexander will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Several US veterans who took part in the liberation of the Netherlands will attend the ceremony.

The royal couple will then be received by President Obama in the Oval Office.

On Monday afternoon the King and Queen will attend an event on innovative and sustainable forms of urban renewal. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is organising this Global City Teams Challenge. About 30 smart city projects will showcase their technologies and the progress they have made in developing efficient, sustainable ways of keeping cities liveable. A joint initiative will be presented that afternoon by Amsterdam, The Hague and a number of US and Asian cities. The royal couple will view all the Dutch and US smart city projects.

Later that afternoon the King and Queen will be present at a round table discussion on sustainable development and best practices on the smaller islands of the Caribbean, including the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The gathering will be held at the World Bank.

The King and Queen will then visit Congress (on Capitol Hill), for talks with House and Senate leaders, a reception with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a meeting with the 'Dutch Caucus', a group of legislators with a political interest in or personal ties to the Netherlands.

On Monday evening the King and Queen and Mr Koenders will dine at the Dutch Ambassador's Residence, where prominent policymakers and think-tank staffers will join in discussions of current issues, particularly concerning security and the economy.

Tuesday 2 June

On Tuesday morning the royal party will fly in the Dutch government aircraft to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where many Dutch immigrants live. The party will be welcomed at Gerald Ford Airport by Michigan governor Rick Snyder, who will be their host in the state. A children's choir will greet the King and Queen. 

The governor will host the party at a reception and lunch in Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, where the King will give a speech. After lunch the King and Queen will walk in the garden, plant a tree to commemorate their visit, and unveil a plaque honouring volunteers. They will then take part in a brief gathering in the park's amphitheatre with the Dutch communities of Holland, Zeeland and other Michigan towns.

They will then proceed to the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids' Medical Mile, where they will be given a tour of this facility specialised in paediatric oncology. They will also visit the Van Andel Research Institute, where research is being done on neurodegenerative illnesses like Parkinson's disease. These visits will include a focus on closer partnerships being developed with Dutch institutes and hospitals like the ParkinsonNet care network of the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen.

The Meijer, De Vos and Van Andel families are all of Dutch origin.

Later Tuesday afternoon the King and Queen will leave for Chicago, where mayor Emanuel Rahm will welcome them at the Chicago Cultural Center. There will be a reception followed by a business dinner, where people from about a hundred Dutch companies will meet US corporate representatives and the King will give a speech.

Wednesday 3 June

On Wednesday morning the King and Queen will visit the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, one of the foremost institutes in the US in the field of clinical research into motor impairments caused by brain damage and spinal cord lesions and the treatment of such patients. The institute's patients include many veterans. The royal couple will speak with patients who have regained movement thanks to advanced technology and prostheses. They will then attend a seminar where new Dutch-US partnerships will be launched.

At the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, a meeting will be held for the economic mission focusing on healthy ageing. Northwestern University will join with Dutch partners to show the King and Queen several pioneering innovations, and several Dutch researchers will be offered adjunct positions at Northwestern.

A tour for the King and Queen of the newly opened Gotham Greens rooftop greenhouse will highlight advances in urban farming: greenhouse cultivation of vegetables for local delivery. Urban farming is being done on a steadily increasing scale in US cities. The new Chicago greenhouse, the largest in North America, is located above a factory, thus saving both energy and land. Climate control in the greenhouse is done by the Dutch company HortiMaX, some of the seeds are supplied by Rijk Zwaan, and Koppert is providing biological pest control.

The King and Queen will then attend the concluding session of a seminar at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy on horticulture and agribusiness, with feeding the city and healthier foods as themes. The royal couple will also be given a tour of this secondary school, whose pupils will show them projects on healthy lifestyles. Finally, the King and Queen will attend an urban picnic where civil society organisations based in the Pullman Historic District will brief them about Chicago's strategies for revitalising depressed neighbourhoods.


State visit to Canada (2)

24 April 2015

Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to Canada from Wednesday 27 May to Friday 29 May 2015, at the invitation of Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and Mrs Sharon Johnston. The King and Queen will be accompanied on their visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders.

The state visit will focus in part on the important role played by Canada in the liberation of the Netherlands. In 2015 the Netherlands is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its liberation. The state visit will be an opportunity to thank Canada for its contribution to 70 years of peace and freedom in the Netherlands and Europe. It will also be an opportunity for the royal couple to meet Dutch emigrants. Over 1 million of Canada's 34 million inhabitants have Dutch roots, making the Dutch one of the largest and most integrated groups of immigrants.

Two missions will take place parallel to the state visit. Lilianne Ploumen, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, will head an economic mission and Jet Bussemaker, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, will head an academic mission. The economic mission will provide opportunities for representatives of Dutch businesses in the sectors agri-food, horticulture, water, soil and urban planning to make new business contacts and exchange knowledge. The accompanying academic mission will give Dutch universities the chance to set up or intensify international partnerships with Canadian educational institutions.

Wednesday 27 May

The state visit will begin at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General, in Ottawa, where the royal couple will be officially welcomed. After inspecting the guard of honour and speaking to the Governor General and his wife, the King and Queen will plant a tree in the gardens of Rideau Hall.

They will then visit the parliament. After signing the guestbook, the royal couple will visit the library, the oldest part of the parliament building. The King and Queen will be shown archive material relating to the shared history of Canada and the Netherlands. After the visit the speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons will host a lunch.

In the afternoon the King and Queen will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War. The Royal Netherlands Air Force Band will play the Canadian and Dutch national anthems to mark the occasion. After the wreath-laying ceremony the King and Queen will meet Canadian veterans who liberated the Netherlands 70 years ago. They will share their stories and the King and Queen will have the chance to thank them in person.

Following a CEO roundtable discussion with representatives of Dutch and Canadian businesses, a meeting will take place with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This second visit to Parliament will round off with a meeting with the 'Dutch Causus', a group of twenty Canadian members of parliament with ties to the Netherlands. Some are of Dutch descent, others have a specific political interest in the Netherlands. In the evening a state banquet will be held at Rideau Hall.

Thursday 28 May

In the morning the royal couple will join the academic mission at the University of Waterloo. As a mark of gratitude for the liberation of the Netherlands 70 years ago, 70 scholarships have been established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, businesses and educational institutions.

Minister Bert Koenders and Minister Jet Bussemaker will launch the Liberation Scholarship Programme. The first Canadian students will be awarded a scholarship in the presence of the King and Queen. This will be followed by a presentation and visit to the Institute for Quantum Computing, where researchers are working on the development of a quantum computer. Renowned Professor Leo Kouwenhoven of the QuTech research centre  will also be present. QuTech will be working together more intensively with the Institute for Quantum Computing on developing the quantum computer.

After leaving the university the royal couple will travel to Beamsville to visit CosMic Plants, an orchid farm owned by two brothers of Dutch descent. The King and Queen will be shown round and will meet representatives of Dutch agricultural businesses who are part of the economic mission. Over high tea in the greenhouses, the King and Queen will speak to the owners of CosMic Plants and other horticultural entrepreneurs of Dutch origin about their experiences in Canada.

The royal couple will then return to Ottawa to attend the conclusion of the #HackingConflict #Diplohack challenge. Teams of diplomats, students, journalists and IT specialists will have spent two days discussing possible solutions for conflicts, for instance in Iraq. At the end of the second day the teams will present their solution - how they 'hacked' the problem - and Minister Koenders will announce the winner.

In the evening the King and the Queen, by way of a reciprocal gesture, will host a concert for the Governor General and his wife. The concert will bring together different musical genres and musicians, featuring a performance by the Holland Baroque Society and jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, and extracts from Canto Ostinato by harpist Gwyneth Wentink, composer Wouter Snoei and video artist Arnout Hulskamp.

Friday 29 May

In the morning the royal couple will fly from Ottawa to Toronto. They will visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, where they will first meet the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and then Ms Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario. After a short meeting with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mr Dave Levac, the royal couple will leave for the MaRS Discovery District, an important innovation hub in Canada.

MaRS is a platform for startup ventures and established businesses and research laboratories in the life sciences & health, ICT and energy sectors. The platform helps technology startups and facilitates partnerships between knowledge institutions and businesses. Its aim is to improve the innovation climate in Canada.

The King and Queen will tour several startup companies and witness the signing of MoUs relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. This will be followed by a lunch at MaRS with representatives of educational institutions and the business community.

In the afternoon the King will hold a speech at a Canadian-Dutch seminar on resilient cities. At the seminar, Dutch businesses and public authorities will speak to their Canadian counterparts about the challenges and solutions connected with urbanisation and the economic development of waterside cities. Climate change makes it necessary to reflect on these issues. The next part of the programme will take place on the Toronto Islands - a chain of recreational islands off the Toronto coast - where the King and Queen will unveil one of the seven Tulpi seats that will be presented to the city of Toronto. The seats have been placed looking out over the city's waterfront and skyline. The state visit to Canada will conclude with a reception for the Dutch community at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

After the state visit the royal couple will travel to the United States of America. Between 1 and 3 June they will visit Washington D.C., Grand Rapids and Chicago. During this official visit the important contribution by the US to the liberation of the Netherlands will also be commemorated.


Queen Máxima to attend World Bank Group and IMF spring meetings

15 April 2015

On the afternoon of Thursday 16 and on Friday 17 April, Her Majesty Queen Máxima will attend the spring meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC in her role as the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.

On Friday 17 April, Queen Máxima will participate in the seminar 'Universal Financial Access 2020: Toward the Last Mile'. Together with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, she will take part in a panel discussion on the steps needed to ensure all the world's adults have access to financial services by 2020. During the seminar, the World Bank Group will also introduce the latest edition of the Global Findex. This is a global database containing up-to-date information on access to financial services in 143 economies.

At the World Bank Group annual meeting in 2013, Mr Kim and Queen Máxima called
for the acceleration of inclusive finance efforts and voiced their ambitions for 2020. World Bank Group research shows that people have a greater chance of economic development if they have access to a current account or savings account. These form the foundation for further access to financial services like insurance, pension schemes and loans. In emerging and developing countries, those living below the poverty line, sole proprietors and women still have very limited access to the formal financial system.

'The Little Data Book on Financial Inclusion' is a pocket editionof the Global Findex, published triennially by the World Bank Group. It gives information on the extent to which people in 143 economies make use of financial services. In her capacity as the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Queen Máxima places particular emphasis on the importance of detailed, harmonised and comparable data. These are essential for policymaking and developing innovative products, as well as for strategic planning and monitoring.

In addition to participating in the seminar, Queen Máxima will also meet with various governors of central banks and representatives from governments and regulatory bodies.

Queen Máxima was appointed to serve as the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development in 2009. In this role she advises the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on universal access to financial services and works globally to make this a reality. Such access is crucial for the further development of lower income groups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

In June 2011 Queen Máxima also became honorary chair of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion.


Independent provenance inquiry on the Royal Collections completed

31 March 2015

On 14 November 2013, the House of Orange-Nassau Historical Collections Trust, which is chaired by Her Majesty Queen Máxima, announced that it was ordering an independent inquiry to establish the provenance of art objects that have become part of the Royal Collections since 1933. The inquiry, which was conducted on the initiative of the King and Queen, has now been completed, and its report was published today.

The Royal Collections contain tens of thousands of objects. One painting was identified whose provenance, in the view of the supervisory committee, indicates that it was acquired as a result of involuntary loss of property during the German occupation. The work in question is The Hague Forest with a View of Huis ten Bosch Palace, by Joris van der Haagen, which was purchased from a Dutch art dealer by Queen Juliana in 1960, without any knowledge of its provenance.

The report presents the findings of the provenance inquiry. The results of the inquiry relating to the painting Landscape with St Hubert, by Paul Bril, are included in the annexe. The inquiry revealed that no involuntary loss of property was involved in the case of this painting.

The King and Queen consider it of great importance that an independent provenance inquiry has been carried out, and they stated in advance that it was essential for the Trust to act in accordance with the criteria drawn up by the government in relation to restitution. The heirs of the original owner of the painting by Van der Haagen have since been contacted, with a view to arranging its restitution. At the request of the heirs, no further information will be forthcoming, in the interests of safeguarding their privacy.


Official visit to the United States

31 March 2015

From Monday 1 June to Wednesday 3 June 2015 Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will make an official visit to the United States, travelling to Washington DC, Grand Rapids and Chicago. The visit will include a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. Their Majesties will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders.

The visit will be an opportunity to recognise the major role played by the US in liberating the occupied Netherlands. In 2015 the Netherlands is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its liberation.

Economic cooperation will also be on the agenda, and an economic mission will run parallel to the official visit.