Toespraak van Koning Willem-Alexander bij de lunch ‘375 years of Diplomatic Relations between Spain and the Netherlands and the development of the Hydrogen Corridor’ in Madrid, Spanje

De toespraak is uitgesproken in het Engels.

Your Majesty,

It is a great pleasure to be your guest today, along with a broad delegation from the Netherlands. Thank you for your warm words. We feel very welcome here.

I believe I speak for all Dutch people when I say that we cherish our special relationship with Spain. We stand at the threshold of an even closer partnership with you. 

I see a great deal of enthusiasm among the public administrators, business people and scientists from both our countries. Your Majesty, we’re delighted with your personal commitment to this as well.

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.

Our relationship is stronger than ever. The Netherlands admires the leading role Spain is playing in the transition to clean energy. You are a frontrunner in the production of green hydrogen. During my visits to Iberdrola and the Centro Nacional de Hidrógeno this morning, I saw how ambitiously you are chasing this goal. 

Thanks also to Spain’s efforts, we are on the cusp of a fundamental transition. One that will make Europe stronger and less dependent on others. Make our economies cleaner. Help us achieve our climate goals. And create a natural connection between southern and northern Europe. 
‘El sol español’ will soon warm the cool north and help our industry and transport sector go green.

In fact, we’re drawing a new energy map of Europe. As we all know, European cooperation began with energy. Back then, the focus was on coal and steel. It’s fascinating to see that energy is once again playing a key role. Only now the energy sources are solar and wind. 

For the first time in the EU, we’re going to produce, transport and trade sustainable energy via a ‘corredor verde’. 
We’re creating the first European ecosystem for sustainable energy trade and consumption.

Like Spain, the Netherlands saw the incredible potential of green hydrogen early on. Not only as an energy carrier but also as a driver for industry and employment. And we also saw what’s needed to develop that potential. To make it possible, government, business and science need to join forces and shape a common vision. And then have the courage to make that vision a reality.

The Netherlands is working hard to create a clear framework of rules, standards and financial instruments to provide investors with as much certainty as possible. We will be one of the first countries to have infrastructure in place for the transport and storage of green hydrogen. And we’re working hard on transport links with Germany, in close cooperation with our neighbours to the east. This will strengthen our position as the gateway to Northwest Europe, one of the world’s largest hydrogen markets.

I’m proud that so many prominent hydrogen partners from the Netherlands are represented here, together with their Spanish counterparts. Some relationships are already firmly established, such as the partnership between Cepsa, the Port of Rotterdam, Gasunie and Vopak. Others are relatively new. 

During our visit, partners like the Centro Nacional de Hidrógeno, the Dutch research organisation TNO and Delft University of Technology, will further strengthen their ties by signing additional partnership agreements. 
The aviation sector is following the trend and demonstrating ambition by developing sustainable aviation fuels.

On a day like today, I think we can indulge in some future-gazing, and look ahead to a Europe that is no longer dependent on energy from Russia. To a strong, autonomous and open Europe that runs on sustainable energy. In that Europe, Spain and the Netherlands will provide a green lifeline together.

And that’s not all. Together we’ll connect Europe with the rest of the world via hydrogen trade routes. First with North Africa, but also with Latin America, the US, the Middle East and Australia. 

By setting an inspiring example, Europe will persuade others to join in.

That future need not be far away. Around 2030, large-scale transport of green hydrogen could be a daily reality. Today and tomorrow we’ll be taking crucial steps in that direction.

As they have for centuries, once again it’s our seaports that connect us. We seafaring nations have a great advantage, but also a great responsibility to accelerate this revolution.

Soon it will no longer be fossil fuels that dominate the scene on the world’s oceans. For the first time in history, we’ll be shipping solar and wind power!

You are all part of this big, fascinating adventure. Like you, I’m excited about the extraordinary opportunities that lie ahead. 
I wish you every success in your endeavours.

Thank you.