Dutch Royal Couple Visits Austria

Lifestyle & TravelCulture ♦ Published: June 27, 2022; 19:20 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Dutch royal couple, His Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, and Her Majesty Máxima, Queen of the Netherlands traveled to Vienna for a state visit. The three-day visit is mainly about strengthening bilateral relations between Austria and the Netherlands and the effects of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Europe.

His Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, and Her Majesty Máxima, Queen of the Netherlands with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Austria's First Lady Doris Schmidauer. (from left to right) / Picture: © Österreichische Präsidentschaftskanzlei / Peter Lechner/HBF

The King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, arrived in Austria together with his wife Máxima on a state visit on Monday. Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra traveled to Vienna together with the royal couple.

The dignitaries met with Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen.

Meeting with Foreign Minister Schallenberg

The royal couple was received by Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg at Vienna's Schwechat Airport on Monday morning. The Foreign Minister accompanied the royal couple to the Hofburg Palace, where host Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen received them. Following a joint delegation meeting, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg received the Dutch Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, for additional working talks.

"Austria and the Netherlands share close human, historical and economic ties and we pursue similar foreign policy goals. The state visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima is a strong and visible expression of our friendly relations.," said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

The subsequent exchange with Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, focused on the strengthening of bilateral relations between Austria and the Netherlands.

An additional topic was the impact of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on the European security architecture as well as on the energy supply.

Another topic of the meeting was the EU enlargement and the candidate status of Ukraine and Moldova. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg hailed the European Council's decision as a powerful signal at the European level but emphasized that the EU and the Western Balkans should also "make progress." Schallenberg stressed to his counterpart the importance of the European integration of the Western Balkans.

Meeting with President Van der Bellen

President Alexander Van der Bellen and his wife Doris Schmidauer welcomed Willem-Alexander and Máxima with a reception with military honors in Vienna's Inner Burghof to the strains of the Dutch national anthem and the Austrian federal anthem and to the gaze of numerous cheering onlookers.

After the welcome, King Willem-Alexander, together with the Federal President, walked down the guard of honor formation. Federal President Van der Bellen had last paid an official visit to the Netherlands in mid-November 2018.

The Dutch royal family traditionally has close ties with Austria and has been spending its annual skiing vacation in Lech am Arlberg since 1959.

Meeting with other political ignitaries from Austria

In the afternoon, the royal couple layed a wreath at the Shoah Name Wall in Vienna-Alsergrund in memory of the Jewish women, children and men murdered in the Holocaust in the presence of Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler.

They then met Vienna's Mayor Michael Ludwig and the city government at Vienna's City Hall, where they will sign the city's Golden Book.

"Vienna is a city to fall in love with and a place where you quickly feel at home," Willem-Alexander emphasized, according to ORF. Here, he said, beats the heart of Europe. "This is the moment to come together with our European friends." Together, he said, they believe in freedom, in humanity and in peaceful cooperation.

Then the royal couple, accompanied by the Second President of the National Council Doris Bures, visited the parliament building, which is currently under renovation.

The Dutch parliament is currently being refurbished just like the Austrian one. King Willem-Alexander was therefore interested in the experiences and logistics of the refurbishment. Bures reported on the challenge of maintaining self-confident and strong parliamentarism even in an alternative venue.

Second National Council President Doris Bures also underlined the close cooperation within the framework of international parliamentary cooperation. She had listened with great interest to King Willem-Alexander's speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg last week, in which he had emphasized the importance of the rule of law and human rights.

Other destinations of the visit

On Monday evening the Dutch royal couple was received by a state banquet at Belvedere Palace. The venue also has a current cultural Dutch connection: from February to May 2023, the Belvedere Museum will present the show "Klimt. Inspired by Rodin, Van Gogh, Matisse..." in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, exploring the connections between Gustav Klimt's paintings and the works of other artists of his time, such as Vincent Van Gogh.

On Tuesday, Willem-Alexander and Máxima will first visit an integration project at the Brotfabrik in Vienna-Favoriten. After visiting the "community cooking" kitchen, a meeting with refugees from Ukraine is planned, followed by a tour of the Sonnwendviertel district near Vienna's main train station. Afterward, a visit to the National Library is scheduled, and in the evening, a concert by the Dutch Chamber Choir at the Konzerthaus is planed.

Other destinations are planed too for the trip of the Dutch Royal Couple thorugh Austria. In addition to the federal capital Vienna, where they will spend two days, the visit will also take the royal couple to the Styrian capital Graz.

The third day of the visit will be devoted primarily to mobility. The Dutch Royal couple will travel by train together with President Van der Bellen and his wife to Graz, where they will visit the headquarters of the mobility company AVL. After a reception with the mayor of Graz, Elke Kahr, and a subsequent lunch with the outgoing governor of Styria, Hermann Schützenhöfer, the presentation of the Graz Cycling Initiative 2030 on the Mur Island is on the agenda to conclude the state visit.

Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs

Presidential Chancellery of Austria