Brief statement by King Willem-Alexander after his meeting with the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina

Mr Mayor,

Thank you for honouring me with the key to your city. Lisbon is regarded as a pearl among European capitals. My wife and I are delighted to see this age-old gem gleaming more brightly than ever.

The past few years have not been easy for the people of this city. Many were hit hard by the economic crisis. So our admiration for those who are finding new opportunities for themselves and their neighbourhoods is all the greater. We look forward to meeting some of them and talking about their concerns, their hopes and their dreams. We will soon get our first chance to do so, when we visit Mouraria.

This city has an elegance that attracts visitors from all over the world. Here they can marvel not only at monuments of the past, but also at icons of the future. Take the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, which we will visit tomorrow to learn more about the state-of-the-art research being carried out there. Dutch businesses and knowledge institutions are proud to be contributing to these efforts.

We also look forward to our meeting with students at the University of Lisbon. How do they see their country? How do they see Europe? How do they picture their future? For our part, we want to convey what an essential role Portugal plays in European partnerships. And how many interests our two countries share. Our countries enjoy bonds we perhaps don’t yet fully appreciate, and which we could utilise more effectively.

Mr Mayor, for centuries your city has captivated the world, and its appeal only continues to grow. Thank you for your hospitality. Muito obrigado!