Speech by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander at the Diplomatic Corps dinner, Royal Palace Amsterdam
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
A very warm welcome to you all.
This annual dinner with you has a special significance for my wife and me. It is an opportunity for us to show you how much we value your work as diplomats.
We live in a world of high-speed communication. People are connected more closely and in more different ways than ever before.
It has never been easier to make new contacts and it has never been simpler to share information and exchange ideas.
All very positive factors.
Nonetheless, the ‘slow art of diplomacy’ retains its fundamental value.
Moreover, the importance of your work is growing. Diplomacy is the skill of continuing to talk to each other even when the going gets tough and when international tensions increase.
This is a challenging time for us all, in which your professional skills are being put to the test. We know that digging ourselves in means preventing ourselves from making any progress. That is why your efforts to keep the lines of communication open deserve merit and support.
The only way forward is co-operation. We all know in our hearts that we need each other to deal with the pressing issues of today. Issues such as international crime, terrorism, hunger, climate change and armed conflicts are everybody’s business. They affect us all, whether directly or indirectly, and prompt us to join forces and take action.
Combined solutions can be difficult to achieve. They require a lot of hard work and the process can be long, discouraging and even frustrating. But they are the only way of making a real and lasting difference.
In this respect your work is vital.
In a time of growing international uncertainty, we need listeners who can put themselves into someone else’s position. We need go-betweens and mediators to search for common ground. We need explorers to discover a safe way forward.
This is why we depend on you, as diplomats. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is deeply committed to all efforts in strengthening the international legal order and is working actively with many of you to promote peace, justice and development.
As a member of the UN Security Council, we do our utmost to help bridge gaps and keep dialogue alive.
We are joined tonight by many representatives of the Dutch parliament, government, ministries and the public sector.
Their presence emphasizes the great appreciation the Kingdom of the Netherlands has for you as members of the Diplomatic Corps. Partnership is in the Dutch DNA.
The Dutch have always had extensive relations with other countries and continents. The various echelons of the Dutch government and public sector constantly seek collaborations to find the smartest solutions, looking beyond cultural and technological horizons.
It is therefore of great value that so many representatives of the public sector are joining us tonight.
I am confident that there are plenty of interesting topics and ideas to share and discuss.
I do hope this evening offers opportunities for you all to get better acquainted and to reaffirm existing contacts and make new friendships!
And now, would you please join me in raising your glass.
To the slow art of diplomacy!
And to an evening that brings us even closer together.