Speech by Queen Máxima at the reception hosted by the Netherlands at San Francisco City Hall, California
Mayor Breed, Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis, ladies and gentlemen,
What a pleasure it is to be here in San Francisco. It’s great to be able to share this occasion with you in this beautiful City Hall. My husband, who is recovering from pneumonia, unfortunately couldn’t join us. He is, however, very committed to sustaining the excellent relationship between California and the Netherlands and sends you all his best wishes.
This morning, Mayor Breed accompanied me on a walk through the Castro District, and I was struck by the atmosphere of openness, freedom and creativity.
This positive vibe can be felt across California.
It’s one of the reasons I am so happy to be here, together with a large delegation of Dutch business leaders, entrepreneurs and government representatives.
There’s a kind of natural attraction between the state of California and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Hundreds of thousands of Californians have Dutch roots. But it goes deeper than that. It’s all about mentality. We are soulmates, bursting with so much creative energy and ambition.
It’s no coincidence that I am meeting so many passionate fellow countrymen here who work in business, science and the arts.
This afternoon at UCSF, for example, I spoke to Dutch men and women who are doing groundbreaking research in life sciences and health.
You encounter these close, successful partnerships everywhere. And that makes me proud, because I know how high you set the bar.
What struck me during several conversations and encounters today is that California and the Netherlands are pioneers in many areas together. Like in the battle against climate change, and in efforts to make our economies cleaner and greener. We’ve been working together successfully on this for more than ten years now.
We admire and respect the attitude of the Californian people: not idly waiting for circumstances to force you into action, but taking matters into your own hands. That might seem risky at first. But ultimately it makes you stronger. The Dutch recognize that attitude. And we’re happy to work with you on reaching your goals.
We have a solid foundation on which we can build further. Almost 1 million American jobs are supported by Dutch-US trade and over 75,000 of these jobs are located in this state, most of them quality jobs. And our country is the European base for many Californian businesses.
I have every confidence that together we can achieve even more. Not only in terms of economic benefits, but certainly also in working toward a bright future for everyone. This visit is a tribute to our collective strength. California and the Netherlands: a partnership that works!
I’m delighted that Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis is with us this evening and will briefly give us her perspective on that partnership. I will then have the opportunity to meet some of you. But for now, I wish you all a pleasant evening, every success in your endeavors and, above all, many promising encounters.