Speech by Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Austin FC dinner, Texas
Mr. Haas, Secretary Scott, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a privilege to be your guest in the Lone Star State. Of course, I would rather have been here with my husband, who was not able to join me. He sends you all his best wishes.
Tonight, our thoughts are with the Royal Family in the United Kingdom and with the British people. We share their grief and we are grateful for everything Queen Elizabeth has done. We honour Queen Elizabeth best by following her example. By continuing our work for the common good and by strengthening bonds of friendship as best as we can.
So far, I’ve had an inspiring day here in Austin. And what better way to conclude it than with this visit to the new Q2 Stadium and Austin FC. The club that has rocked Major League Soccer since its debut last season.
Compliments to our honorary consul Marius Haas, to coach Josh Wolff and his players, and to all those who’ve helped make Austin FC a success. You’ve made the impossible happen – almost topping the Major League despite being the new kid on the block.
Before I joined you here, I had a walk around the pitch and met the staff and players. What I find really striking is how many connections there are between Austin FC and the Netherlands. Not only in the team, but also in the stadium. Your indestructible turf is the result of a collaboration with SGL. A Dutch company that started out growing roses, but discovered that its knowledge of lighting used for growing plants could be applied in the sports world too. A fine example of innovative thinking that fits right in here in Austin.
I also spoke to members of the Austin youth team who were just back from a clinic at PSV’s Youth Academy in the Dutch city of Eindhoven. For many of them, it was their first trip to Europe.
Sport unites people. And it’s great to see such close collaboration and friendship between Austin FC and PSV.
With its flair, Austin FC is typical for this city and Texas as a whole. And you can see the strong ties with the Netherlands everywhere.
Did you know, for instance, that we’re your biggest export partner in the European Union?
That you’re our main economic partner in the US?
And that Dutch investments now account for more than 100,000 jobs in Texas?
And did you know that, geographically speaking, we’re actually not that far away from each other?
The Caribbean is home to three countries that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten. In fact, the economic affairs ministers of Aruba and Curaçao are here with us this evening.
I was surprised to discover that our special bond goes back as far as 1840. When Texas and the Netherlands signed a Treaty of Friendship, Trade and Navigation. It's wonderful that our relationship is still flourishing after more than 180 years.
Texas is a magnet for talented Dutch people. Dutch tech companies like to do business and invest here. Companies like NXP, ASML, Philips and others. They know from experience the special ecosystem you have, and feel right at home. Conversely, there are many successful Texas companies operating in the Netherlands.
I hope that this visit will help strengthen our ties even more, and will perhaps also alter the image that some Dutch people have of Texas. Of cowboy hats and Cadillacs. Because just look at Texas today. Your state is now the biggest producer of renewable energy in the US.
Houston is aiming to take the lead in the energy transition. And Austin is fast becoming a real cycling city, based on the Dutch model. This morning Mayor Adler updated me on how this is coming along.
It is precisely this new orientation that offers opportunities to strengthen our collaboration even more. The Netherlands is keen to help you in your ambition in pursuing a leading approach that’s fit for the future.
We all know that a bright future depends on the extent to which we succeed in making our cities and communities resilient. Renewable energy, health, an attractive living environment, water management, innovative strength: that’s what it’s all about.
And of course, teamwork and team spirit!
In all these areas, Texas and the Netherlands are a perfect match.
Good luck to Austin FC in its away game in Seattle this Sunday.
I wish you all a great evening!