Speech by Princess Máxima

27 mei 2011

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 27 May 2011

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, dear family, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,

What can I say after this wonderful concert? Being a patron of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is for me a source of joy, and I think that tonight you have shown us all how a world-class orchestra performs and how you prove you are world class every time you play. In these uncertain times, I think it is good to say, and I believe I speak for all of us, that we are very proud of you. I really cannot thank you enough for allowing me to share this superb music with hundreds of people who have meant a lot to me in the last ten years.

I say ten years because today we are not only celebrating that I have reached the respectable age of forty, but also my arrival in the Netherlands ten years ago. So for me this is an evening to thank all of you who have played such an important part in my life in the Netherlands and as wife of our Crown Prince.

It is indeed ten years ago that my fiancé officially introduced me to the Netherlands. On that day, I started a long journey through the country, both literally and metaphorically. Twelve provinces, four big cities and the other countries of the Kingdom, religion, constitutional law, even more language, a wedding, the creation of a fund and a long introduction programme - from policy to execution. Nothing was left out. I enjoyed the process very much, as I had the privilege to be guided by very vigilant people who were extremely generous and shared their knowledge with me without hesitation. 

Then our daughters were born. And talking about acculturation, nothing beats having your own children! Doctors, nurses, teachers, the other parents, nannies… everybody plays a part in making sure that our three daughters, our biggest treasure, can grow up in a safe and normal way. For that I say: many thanks! 

This all makes it easier to do our job properly. And if I look at my work, it is always oriented towards developing one's own perspective, from young entrepreneurs and small businesses to women, elderly people and  children! I am fully convinced that to develop a good perspective, it is good to work together with others.

And that is precisely what we do at the 'Orange Fund', but also with microfinance in the Netherlands and the financial awareness programmes, or for example with the 'Children make music' project. By the way, I am very grateful to all of you for your generous contribution to this project. I can assure you this will be an unforgettable gift for those children who will make music thanks to you.

I am fortunate enough to be able to engage in all these activities, but this is only possible thanks to the efforts and dedication of many other people.

And that is exactly what we are celebrating together this evening!

You do not really become a Princess from one day to the next. The same probably applies to becoming a mother. A lot of careful trial and error is involved. But each time one grows stronger and wiser, hoping that all the lessons learnt will help me become a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better human being.

But one certainly does not do that alone and I am very happy to have many friends here tonight. Friendship has always been very important to me and if I look at the people around us, I can only say, what wealth! I am so happy that some of you have come from so far to be with us tonight!

But what would one be without family? With my husband I inherited quite a large one, all friends and supporters. And of course, la familia argentina, always unconditionally there for me - priceless. I hope we can be as good parents to our children as you have been to me.

And then, my mother-in-law, thank you for letting me into your team with Alexander, and for being, together with him, my best teachers. Your wholehearted backing and support show what a good mother you have been to me!

And last but certainly not least, Alexander, I really cannot find the words to do you enough justice. You know very well, all this is actually your fault! So it is also you we should be celebrating tonight.

These ten years have flown past, but you know what they say: time flies when you're having fun. And that is exactly what we are going to do now. I hope to be able to see all of you in the foyers, but if I don't, I hope we will meet soon elsewhere!