Dutch royals arrive in India, to focus on technology exchange
New Delhi: The five-day state visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maixima of The Netherlands will focus on areas like water technology and maritime development, healthcare, sustainable agriculture, social initiatives and cultural heritage.
The Dutch royals, who arrived here on Sunday night, begin their state visit from October 14, on the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. The royals will also visit Mumbai and Kochi in Kerala.
On Monday, after the ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the royals will lay the wreath at Raj Ghat. Indian External Affairs Minster S. Jaishankar will call on them at The Oberoi, after which they will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House. At night they will call on President Kovind, who will host them for a banquet.
The state visit will reaffirm the excellent relations between the Netherlands and India. The cooperation between India and the Netherlands and the European Union is strategically important, not least in light of India's emergence as an Asian superpower and its role in the region. The King and Queen will be accompanied on their visit by Stef Blok, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, the Minister for Healthcare, Bruno Bruins, and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer, will head a broad parallel trade mission to India to capitalise on the potential for economic partnership, said a statement from the Netherlands embassy.
On Monday afternoon, the King and Queen will visit the Barapullah drain to mark Dutch-Indian cooperation on water technology and water purification. Indian and Dutch young professionals will give a presentation on addressing water issues in major urban centres.
The King and Queen will then have an audience with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
At the dinner banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Kovind and King Willem-Alexander will both deliver a speech.
On Tuesday, the Dutch royals will visit the India-Netherlands Tech Summit. The Netherlands is India's current partner for the technology and innovation conference/exposition, now in its 25th year. Some 150 Dutch businesses, knowledge institutions and representatives of local authorities that work with India on water, food and health issues will be attending.
Prime Minister Modi and King Willem-Alexander will both speak at the summit. Following the opening there will be a tour of the Experience Zone, where demonstrations will be given. The King and Queen will then have the opportunity to speak with participants.
In the afternoon the royal couple will visit a state school and learn about the 'Go-Girls-Go' project. This project supports girls making the transition between secondary school and vocational education, helping combat violence against women and girls and boosting women's self-reliance. It also educates boys about what they can do to help. The school visit will also focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Indian pupils' commitment to achieving them.
The King and Queen will end the day at the Tomb of Safdarjung, where they will meet approximately 50 alumni who have returned home to India after a study programme in the Netherlands.
On Wednesday, the royals will be in Mumbai where they will visiting Tiny Miracles, an organisation that creates sustainable employment and at the same time provides employees with healthcare and education. Its objective is to lift communities in poor neighbourhoods in Mumbai out of poverty and help them to be self-reliant.
In the afternoon they will attend the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) High-Level Discussion, where leading Indian businesses and investors will be speaking about current and future investments in the Netherlands. They will then attend the 3rd Indo-Dutch Port Forum, which promotes cooperation between Dutch and Indian ports, port authorities and port developments.
The King and Queen will visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum for the opening of 'Indo-Dutch Connections in the Age of Rembrandt'. The exhibition will draw on artworks from the museum as well as miniatures and engravings by Rembrandt on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
In the evening there will be a reception for the Dutch community, after which they will pay a short visit to the Gateway of India, which will be illuminated with a Dutch scene.
On Thursday morning, following a meeting with the Governor of Maharashtra, the couple will proceed to Kerala. In the afternoon they will be visiting the Mattancherry Palace in Kochi, also known as the Dutch Palace. Indian and Dutch cultural heritage specialists will give a presentation on relations between Kerala and the Netherlands in the past, present and future. The King and Queen will be given a tour of the museum and attend the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Dutch National Archives and the Kerala State Archives Department.
After seeing the palace the royal couple will visit Nedspice, a company specialising in sustainable agriculture. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maixima will attend a roundtable meeting of Dutch and Indian businesses, knowledge institutions and government bodies working to achieve the UN SDGs Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being and Clean Water and Sanitation.
The day will close with a dinner hosted by the authorities of the state of Kerala.
On Friday, the last day of the state visit, the royals will tour the backwaters of Alleppey by boat. In 2018 the area, most of which lies a metre below sea level, was hit by major flooding which caused a great deal of human suffering. During the tour the royal couple will learn about the measures being taken to prevent flooding in the future, and how Dutch expertise can help. They will also hear more about agricultural development in the area, the statement said.