King and Queen to visit Bremen – programme

On Wednesday 6 March 2019 His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will pay a working visit to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. They will be accompanied on the visit by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag, who will lead a parallel trade mission focusing on aerospace and offshore wind energy. 

Each year the King and Queen visit one or more German federal states and these visits always devote special attention to Dutch-German economic relations. The aim of the visit to Bremen is to enhance opportunities for economic cooperation, including at international level. The fields of aerospace, wind energy and polar and marine research offer excellent scope for such partnerships. Leading businesses and knowledge institutions in each of these sectors are based in and around Bremen. On Tuesday evening a joint trade dinner, at which Ms Kaag will give a speech, will be held for Dutch and German participants in the trade mission. 

Aerospace - Bremen

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will be welcomed at Bremen Airport on Wednesday morning by President of the Senate and Mayor of Bremen Carsten Sieling and his wife Alexia Sieling. They will then visit Airbus Defence & Space in Bremen, where they will speak with partners from both countries about the importance of aerospace technology for the Dutch and German knowledge economies. One of the topics will be shared satellite data, which can be used to solve cross-border challenges facing societies, such as climate change and air quality. The King and Queen will visit a model of the European module of the International Space Station, where former German astronaut Thomas Reiter will tell them more about working on the ISS. 

Historical ties – Bremen 

This visit will be followed by a meeting with the mayor and his wife at the Town Hall and a lunch at which both Mr Sieling and the King will give a speech. After lunch the King and Queen will walk across the Markplatz square, passing the statue of the Town Musicians of Bremen, the animals from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The square also features a statue of Roland, the protector of the Hanseatic City and a symbol of its freedom. The Roland statue and the fifteenth-century gothic Town Hall have enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage status since 2004. At the Bremen Chamber of Commerce, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will view a historical document from 1705 laying down agreements with merchant vessels from countries and cities which traded in Dutch waters at that time. Due to its favourable position on the River Weser, the Hanseatic City of Bremen has long been an important centre of trade. Dutch ties with Bremen date back 1,200 years. 

Offshore wind energy - Bremerhaven 

In the afternoon the King and Queen will visit the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES) in Bremerhaven, where around 150 Dutch and German partners will be attending the ‘Market Place: Offshore Wind in the Netherlands and Germany’ conference. Dutch and German companies are leading the way in developing offshore wind energy as a cost-efficient technology  that can benefit the European energy transition. The North Sea plays an important part in this. IWES is one of the world’s largest testing facilities for wind turbine rotor blades. The King and Queen will be informed about the testing infrastructure and will speak with representatives of the business community. 

Polar and marine research – Bremerhaven 

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will conclude their working visit at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). They will meet with Dutch and German polar and marine researchers from the Netherlands Polar Programme, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), the AWI and the University of Bremen’s Center for Marine Environmental Science (MARUM) about changes in the polar regions and the direct and indirect global effects of those changes, such as shifts in biodiversity and possible political instability. Topics of discussion will include the effects of climate change on ecosystems, the consequences of melting ice caps and ways of combating microplastics and overfishing, as well as the opportunities that better access to the North Pole could create.