State visit to Lithuania - program
At the invitation of President Dalia Grybauskaitė, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima* will be paying a state visit to the Republic of Lithuania on the evening of Wednesday 13 and on Friday 15 June 2018. The royal couple will be accompanied by foreign minister Stef Blok.
The state visit to Lithuania will follow on from the state visits to the Republic of Latvia (11 and 12 June) and to the Republic of Estonia (12 and 13 June).
The programme will focus on the long-standing historical ties between the Netherlands and Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, which date back to the fourteenth century – with mutual trade peaking in the Golden Age – and on the close bilateral ties they enjoy today. The Netherlands’ relationship with all three countries today is characterised by strong partnerships in peace, security and prosperity, within the framework of the European Union and NATO in particular.
Parallel to the state visits, separate economic programmes will explore potential for expanding economic partnership. In Lithuania the focus will be on partnerships in energy, with Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag attending the parallel economic programme. Another theme will be military cooperation within NATO.
The state visits are taking place in the year in which Latvia and Estonia celebrate 100 years of independence, and Lithuania 100 years of regained independence. The independence celebrations and the importance of independence for the three host countries will feature on all three visits. The state visit to Lithuania will be suspended on Thursday 14 June, when the three countries commemorate the victims of the first mass Soviet deportations of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to Siberia in 1941, and will resume on Friday 15 June.
Wednesday 13 June
The state visit to Lithuania will begin with a welcome ceremony at the presidential palace. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will then meet with President Dalia Grybauskaitė, and attend a state banquet at the president’s invitation in the evening.
Friday 15 June
The second day of the state visit will begin with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Antakalnis Cemetery, to commemorate those who fell in the Wars of Independence. The royal couple will then attend the opening of the Bilateral Forum on Sustainable Energy at Vilnius Tech Park, where Dutch and Lithuanian companies will share knowledge on liquefied natural gas (LNG), biomass, wind energy and energy startups and explore opportunities for cooperation. Ms Kaag and the Lithuanian Minister for Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas will both be speaking at the event.
The King and Queen will then meet with the Speaker of the Seimas (or the Lithuanian parliament), Viktoras Pranckietis, and with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.
Following a reception with representatives of the Dutch community in Lithuania, the royal couple will travel to Kaunas where they and President Grybauskaitė will attend the unveiling of the light monument to Dutch diplomat Jan Zwartendijk, who helped thousands of Jews to flee the city in the summer of 1940. The King and Queen will then meet descendants of Jan Zwartendijk and family members of the people he helped. The monument was designed by Dutch artist Giny Vos.
The state visit will end in Rukla, where the King and Queen and President Grybauskaitė will visit NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) Battle Group. The Battle Group, which is headed by German troops, demonstrates member states’ commitment to NATO and the collective defence task. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will also meet the 270 Dutch soldiers who have been part of the Battle Group since March 2017 and speak with some of them about their experiences.
* Following the death of her sister Inés Zorreguieta, Queen Máxima will not be accompanying King Willem-Alexander on the state visits to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.