King and Queen to pay state visit to Greece – programme
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will be paying a state visit to Greece from Wednesday 16 to Friday 18 March 2022, at the invitation of President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
The King and Queen will be accompanied by Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Migration Eric van der Burg and State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport Maarten van Ooijen will attend selected parts of the programme. The state visit was initially expected to take place in late 2021 but was postponed, after consultations between King Willem-Alexander and President Sakellaropoulou, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state visit reaffirms the good bilateral relations between Greece and the Netherlands. For more than 40 years now, the two countries have been closely connected as partners in the European Union. The state visit will focus on issues including cooperation on innovation, sustainability, migration and human rights, and the countries’ partnership within the European Union.
Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 March: Athens
To mark the start of the state visit on Wednesday morning, the King and Queen will lay a wreath at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square in Athens. They will then be welcomed to the Presidential Palace by President Sakellaropoulou. After this they will meet the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Mansion.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will then meet with representatives of the Greek Ombudsman and Dutch Ombudsman at the Netherlands Institute in Athens. Since its inception, the Greek Ombudsman has worked closely with its Dutch counterpart to protect the fundamental rights of citizens and migrants. In the afternoon the King and Queen will visit the Acropolis, where they will take a walking tour of the Erechtheion and Parthenon.
Later in the afternoon the King and Queen will attend the opening of the SDG House Greece, which was set up with the help of the SDG House Amsterdam, where local businesses and institutions can get inspired and share ideas about applying the principles of sustainable development in practice. On Wednesday evening, President Sakellaropoulou will host a state banquet at the Presidential Palace, at which both heads of state will give a speech.
On Thursday morning the King and Queen will open the Parallel Economic Session on sustainability and agriculture at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC). The King will deliver a speech on the theme of sustainable agriculture and water use. This will be followed by a pitch competition in the SNFCC’s Book Tower, organised by Orange Grove, the Dutch embassy’s initiative offering support to young Greek entrepreneurs and startups.
In the afternoon King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit the Elpida oncology clinic in the Paidon children’s hospital, where attention will be paid to the clinic’s partnership with the Princess Máxima Centre for Pediatric Oncology. They will receive a tour that includes the clinic’s stem cell laboratory and will speak with former patients about their experiences. They will then attend a roundtable meeting on violence against women and the prevention of domestic violence at the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre. The Greek president will also participate in the meeting, as will Greek and Dutch policymakers and representatives of human rights organisations and implementing agencies. King Willem-Alexander will then visit a shelter for young boys, and Queen Máxima a shelter for girls. These two locations for unaccompanied minor refugees were opened in 2020 with the Netherlands’ support.
The second day of the state visit will conclude with a performance by the Nederlands Danstheater in the Megaron Mousikis, hosted by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. Representatives of the Dutch community in Greece will also be in attendance.
Friday 18 March: Lesbos
The last day of the visit will take place on the island of Lesbos and will focus on the themes of migration and sustainability. In the morning the King and Queen will visit the Reception and Identification Centre in Mavrovouni. They will be speaking with residents, field workers from Dutch aid organisations, childcare staff and Greek government officials. There will also be focus on the work of Dutch nationals within the migration system. The state visit will conclude at the University of the Aegean, where the King and Queen will visit a number of faculties, and there will be presentations exploring the themes of sustainability and innovation from different perspectives.
During the state visit all COVID-19-related measures currently applicable in Greece will be observed. The programme is subject to change and may at any point be amended to reflect changes to the restrictions.