The neighbors are coming: The Dutch royal couple visits the capital and says goodbye to the Chancellor. There is a small damper for the fans of the Royals.
The Hague / Berlin – Berlin can dress up for a royal visit from the neighbors. On Monday, the Dutch royal couple Willem-Alexander (54) and Máxima (50) will travel to Germany for a state visit. The popular royal couple will stay in the capital for three days.
It is the king’s first state visit to Germany since he took office in 2013. But it is not the first visit, and the Oranjes are old friends. The Germans are best friends, big trading partners and good neighbors, as the monarch emphasized in a preliminary talk with the German Press Agency in The Hague. He and Máxima are therefore very happy.
No bath in the crowd
On a get-to-know tour since 2013, they had already visited all of the federal states. The highlight should then be the state visit to Berlin in 2020. But then Corona came. In the meantime his German was a bit rusty, the king joked. But there is hardly any noticeable of that. No wonder: after all, Willem-Alexander is closely connected to Germany through his father, the German Prince Claus von Amsberg, and his family.
The orange couple, especially the Máxima from Argentina, are popular in Germany. But a swim in the crowd of thousands of cheering fans – as with previous visits – is unlikely to happen. Because Corona conditions apply. The places Willem-Alexander and Máxima will visit are not announced in advance.
Farewell to Chancellor Merkel
The visit is primarily determined by diplomatic protocol. Reception at the Federal President, state banquet, visits to the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Chancellor and the Mayor. The souvenir of the royal couple is a concert by the famous Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra.
For the king it is also a farewell to Chancellor Angela Merkel. You have played a major role for Europe, the king praised. Most recently, Merkel, as the first German head of government, gave the country’s important freedom speech to commemorate the end of the war.
The focus of the visit is on the ties between the countries. The focus is on joint projects such as the treatment of children with cancer or the development of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source.
And finally, the Second World War and the dark side of their shared history are remembered. Germany occupied the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945. More than 102,000 Jewish citizens were murdered by the German National Socialists at that time.
The enemies became friends and partners in Europe. Germany is also the most important trading partner. But beyond that, the King emphasized, cooperation in overcoming major problems is essential. He referred to climate change, flood protection and, last but not least, the corona pandemic.
The neighborhood has passed the test despite the border closings, said the king. Citizens’ contacts and trade did not stop. German hospitals even admitted corona patients from neighbors. But closing the borders in Europe should only act as an emergency brake.
Now the couple is looking forward to Berlin. The king even showed himself to be a fan. Berlin was hip, great, a super city, as he said. He still regrets that on November 9, 1989 – he was 22 at the time – he did not immediately get into the car and drive to Berlin. The fall of the wall, he said, was a crucial moment for him as a student. dpa