Speech by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander at the Diplomatic Corps dinner, Royal Palace Amsterdam
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Tonight, our thoughts are with the victims in Manchester and their families. We are profoundly saddened by the horrific attack which has claimed the lives of so many young people. We sympathise deeply with all the parents who have received the dreadful news that their child has died and with those who are injured or anxiously awaiting news about the fate of their loved ones.
This annual dinner with you has a special significance for us. It is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the essential role you play as diplomats and representatives of international organisations.
Where there is division, you promote mutual understanding. Where interests diverge, you try to find common ground. Where there are borders, you make connections. And when people start losing hope, you keep seeking solutions. The world cannot do without you!
The importance of your work is growing in a time of increasing international tensions and uncertainty. We feel deeply for the families that have been affected by acts of terrorism and for those fleeing violence, poverty and oppression. We all have a responsibility to contribute to solutions in whatever way we can.
Lack of trust between countries and peoples has an adverse impact on the lives of ordinary people. It shrinks the world we live in, limits our opportunities and makes our future more uncertain.
Isolation cannot be the answer. Pressing issues that affect us all – international crime, terrorism, refugee flows and climate change – can be tackled successfully only if we work together. That’s why we must continue to pool our strengths!
The Kingdom of the Netherlands sees it as a constant duty to actively contribute to international cooperation, as a reliable partner for peace, justice and development.
Our efforts in this respect are not just focused on governments and international organisations. The importance of the role that the private sector plays is becoming more and more evident. It is our ally in striving to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Companies, both large and small, are developing new ideas to make our healthcare better and more humane. They are providing solutions to make our energy supply more sustainable. They are transforming our food production, making it more efficient. They are helping to make our cities ‘smarter’, our communications faster and our infrastructure safer. Thanks to creative companies, we are keeping our feet dry, our living environment clean and our bodies as healthy as possible.
That’s why some sixty representatives of the Dutch business community are our guests here this evening. Many of them have taken part in economic delegations. Some of these companies have a history that goes back more than a century. Others have just begun. But what they all have in common is their special expertise and their international outlook. We are happy that they’re here tonight!
We hope that this evening will contribute to the exchange of ideas that our world so desperately needs. Only by meeting face to face and talking to one another can we create greater understanding, break deadlocks and exploit opportunities for sustainable development.
Thank you for everything you are doing to achieve these goals!
I’d like to end by thanking you sincerely for your good wishes on the occasion of my 50th birthday last month. And for the special gift – a beautiful antique silver dish – that the Dean presented to me on behalf of the Diplomatic Corps.
And now, would you please join me in raising your glass. To all the builders of bridges, both big and small. And to our partnership, in all its facets!