Speech by King Willem-Alexander at a lunch on the occasion of the official visit by The Emir of Qatar and his wife, Noordeinde Palace, The Hague

Your Highnesses,

It’s a great pleasure to receive you today during your official visit to the Netherlands. The Queen and I are delighted to welcome you to Noordeinde Palace. 

While your nation and its population may be modest in size, Qatar is anything but a small country. It has an enormous presence. One that’s visible and palpable around the world.

Your global standing is not the result of flashy displays of power. In fact, the opposite is true. I’m impressed by your ability to identify and protect common interests.

That ability is recognised and valued by many here in the Netherlands. And it makes your visit to The Hague ─ the international city of peace and justice ─ all the more significant. 

Qatar has shown itself to be a mainstay of the international legal order and a dedicated partner within the multilateral institutions. As a mediator, your country has an impressive track record. Not only in your own region, but also in Latin America, Africa and Europe. 

When international tensions arise you swing into action, working to bring parties together. In the bitter conflict between Israel and Hamas, which is so rife with horrors, you have been tireless in your search for ways to end the violence. Qatar and the Netherlands share the same goal: peace in the region.

We look back with gratitude on the assistance you provided during the evacuation of Kabul in 2021. The ‘Doha route’ was a lifeline for many hundreds of Dutch nationals and Afghanis with ties to the Netherlands. All told, Qatar facilitated the evacuation of tens of thousands of people of many different nationalities. When the world needs you, you are there.

Qatar is not just active in the global arena. The country also has major ambitions within its own borders. And you yourself are a driving force in that regard. The Qatar National Vision 2030 lays out the course you plan to navigate. It outlines the ideal picture of ‘a just and caring society based on high moral standards’.

The Netherlands values our dialogue with Qatar on a broad range of issues, including subjects that may be sensitive. Our collaboration on the position of labour migrants, for example, has been constructive and valuable. 

Your Highness, as a representative of a new generation, you have developed your own perspective on the future of your country. Under your father and grandfather, Qatar achieved great things that are worthy of respect. Now we see that, under your leadership, Qatar continues to build on that solid foundation and formulate responses to the challenges we face today. Prosperity remains important, but climate change, health and the quality of life also require attention.

You advocate diversifying the economy and balancing economic growth with environmental protection. Sustainability is an important issue that unites us. 

As we know from experience in the Netherlands, making the leap from ideas to action is often difficult. I am sure that we can help each other and further enhance our cooperation, making use of  commercial and academic expertise. 

As your visit confirms, the ties between our countries are growing ever broader and deeper. These ties are precious to us. And we are grateful for your personal engagement!

Together, Qatar and the Netherlands have so much to offer the world. Global politics is a lot like horse racing. It all comes down to speed, interaction and endurance. All things that we excel at!

Your Highnesses, I would like to conclude by wishing you, your family and all the people of Qatar peace, health, prosperity and happiness!