Speech by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander at a dinner to mark the official visit by Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Noordeinde Palace, The Hague

Your Majesties,

A very warm welcome to Noordeinde Palace. It is a great pleasure to have both of you with us this evening.

As you know, it was our parents who laid the foundations for the close friendship that unites our families. Your father, King Hussein – may his soul rest in peace – held a special place in my mother’s heart. When we think of him, it is with great warmth and gratitude. Almost 20 years after his passing, our fond memories of him remain.

We consider ourselves very fortunate, Your Majesty, that you continue to value Jordan’s special relationship with the Netherlands and with our family. Together with Queen Rania, you are committed to strengthening this bond. And so, this visit serves to highlight our mutual affection and friendship.

Your Majesty, Jordan is a beacon of stability in a region fraught with conflict. With God’s grace, it provides shelter in a turbulent neighbourhood.

You are doing vital work to support the region.

Where tensions threaten to boil over, you work to reduce them.

Your voice calls for calm.

Your eyes see all the people in your kingdom.

Your hands reach out to everyone willing to contribute to peace and progress.

You are also reaching out to people in need. More than one million refugees from Syria and two-and-a-half million from other countries have sought sanctuary within your borders. And they have found it.

The impact on daily life for the Jordanian people has been enormous. They are sharing what they have. Food and shelter. Water and electricity. Schools and jobs.

This requires great sacrifice. For many years now, it has placed great demands on the people of Jordan.

The international community will be forever grateful to Jordan in this regard. The Jordanian people may be modest in number, but their humanity is immense. You are right to be proud of that.

Your Majesty, three years ago, in your speech at the European Parliament, you summed up your beliefs:

‘People thrive where there is mutual respect. Civilization is built on it. Futures are better for it.’

You have made it a personal priority to combat hate and violence. Not only in your own country, but throughout the Middle East and surrounding regions. In your role as initiator of the Aqaba Meetings, you bring leaders together in the name of peace.

Your message of understanding and tolerance deserves to be heard and upheld everywhere.

Peace demands more than moral support. It demands concrete action too. A lack of economic and social prospects will threaten the stability of any society. However good people’s intentions are.

That’s why we must work together to promote growth and development. And indeed, this is the focus of your visit. Jordan needs jobs. And it’s easier to find work when the business climate is good and the education system prepares students well for the labour market. You are working hard to make this a reality. And the Netherlands is pleased to share our knowledge and experience with you.

The same goes for sectors like logistics and agriculture. In Jordan, not one drop of water can be wasted. Dutch experts are ready to work with you on using natural resources as smartly and sustainably as possible.

Jordan and the Netherlands are also working together to enhance security in the region. One example is the Dutch F-16 detachment in your country. The question of how security measures at home can infringe on social freedoms is relevant throughout the world, including in the Netherlands and Jordan. It’s important that we always bear in mind the vital role of freedom and fundamental rights in improving people’s happiness and quality of life.

Your Majesty, like most people in your country, you have heard and used the words of the traditional Arabic greeting Assalamu aleikum from a young age.

But for you and Queen Rania these words are more than a simple pleasantry.

They are a personal motivation and mission. Both in your own country and beyond it.

Your visit offers us the opportunity to show how much we appreciate your efforts. And how much we value the bonds we share.

May I now ask you to join me in a toast.

Your Majesties: to your good health.

To the happiness of your family and your House.

And to the friendship between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.