Speech by King Willem-Alexander at a gala dinner for international organisations based in the Netherlands, Royal Palace Amsterdam

Ladies and gentlemen,

A very warm welcome to Amsterdam’s Royal Palace. The Queen and I are delighted to have you here as our guests this evening.

The Netherlands is proud to serve as host nation to so many international organisations dedicated to peace, security, justice, innovation and development. 
It’s a role that’s in keeping with the responsibility we feel for fostering cooperation beyond borders. And it’s in keeping with our history, too. 

This has long been a place where people from all corners of the globe have come together in freedom to share ideas and viewpoints, and to seek consensus. For the common good!

It would be easy for anyone who follows world news today – as we all do – to lose hope. 
There is so much violence, so much pain and sorrow. So many places where brazen self-interest seems to be winning out over simple solidarity. Is it possible that international cooperation has had its day?

The answer to that question is: ‘absolutely not’. Displays of power at the expense of others have never led to lasting solutions. 
It is international relationships that make the world safer. 
It is international agreements that offer countries and people the certainties they need. 
And it is international organisations that foster a sense of justice and help create solutions that improve people’s lives.

That conviction is part of my country’s DNA. It’s no accident that the Dutch constitution provides that the government must actively work to promote the development of the international legal order.

You make international cooperation visible and tangible. Your work is important. 
It is often complex and sometimes thankless. But together you represent humanity’s hope for a better future.

That is why the Netherlands supports your work, and that’s why we are honoured to host you in our country.

Tonight we are privileged to have a wide variety of organisations here with us. A total of 37, in fact.

The oldest of them was founded 130 years ago: The Hague Conference on Private International Law.
The youngest was established just a few months ago: the Register of Damage for Ukraine.

Some organisations have thousands of staff. Others are very small, with teams of only five or six people.

The fields in which you work are equally diverse. From the international legal order to space technology. From security issues to oversight of medicines. And from migration to innovation.

The Netherlands works hard to be a good host to you all. We are well aware that some of your wishes have not been fully fulfilled. And we are working hard, in close consultation with you, to find the solutions you need.

In fact, with that in mind, tonight we have also invited representatives of the agencies with which you work, as well as mayors of the towns and cities in which you are based.

I hope that this evening’s dinner will help you feel even more at home in the Netherlands. 

In recent years, I have visited several of your organisations, and I’m always impressed by the incredible care and dedication you show in your work. 

Each of you believes in the power of international cooperation. A power that ultimately triumphs. It is that conviction which unites us all.

May I now ask you all to raise your glasses.

To international cooperation. May all your efforts be most fruitful!