Speech by King Willem-Alexander at the closing reception in The Spiral, New York, United States

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we come to the end of our visit, I would like to express our enormous gratitude to Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams. Not only for offering us such warm hospitality, but also for making us feel that the special bond between New York and the Netherlands is stronger than ever.

In 2009, the Queen and I were here to celebrate Hudson Year, which marked the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Dutch ship to these shores – the Halve Maen.

Now we’re reflecting on another key milestone: the establishment of the Dutch colony on Governors Island, in 1624.

The 15 years that have passed between those visits have further deepened our insight into that shared history. 
Today there is far more focus, for example, on the stories of the original inhabitants of this land. And that is especially valuable.

A hallmark of free societies – like yours and ours – is that there is always room for new perspectives and dialogue. For self-reflection and reconciliation. That is one of the most treasured values of a free society. 

So let us cherish our core values. Because therein lies our strength.

New York and the Netherlands have shared a bond for four centuries. We are grateful for this friendship, which grows stronger with each new visit. So, from the bottom of our hearts, we would like to say thank you, and see you next time!