State visit to Slovakia - programme

From Tuesday 7 March to Thursday 9 March 2023 His Majesty the King and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to the Slovak Republic at the invitation of President Zuzana Čaputová. They will be accompanied during the visit by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra and Vice Minister for Culture and Media Gunay Uslu.

The Slovak Republic is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its establishment this year. The Netherlands and Slovakia work together both at bilateral level and within the European Union and NATO. Both countries promote an open and inclusive society and democratic values and freedoms. Key shared themes are the rule of law, education, press freedom, emancipation and support for Ukraine. Both Slovakia and the Netherlands attach great important to the transition to a circular economy, combating climate change and preserving biodiversity. During the visit the two countries will explore how they can strengthen each other’s efforts in these areas. The state visit will also reinforce the bond of friendship between the two countries.

7 and 8 March: Bratislava

At the start of the visit, the King and Queen will be welcomed at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava by President Čaputová. After this the royal couple will lay a wreath at the Gate of Freedom in Devín, a memorial to those killed between 1948 and 1989 attempting to cross the Iron Curtain. Later in the afternoon, President Čaputová and the mayor of Bratislava Matúš Vallo will accompany King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on a walk through the city’s historical centre. The walk will end at the memorial in memory of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová who were murdered in 2018. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will then meet with representatives of the Slovak press, government and police at the Primate’s Palace. In the evening President Čaputová will host a state banquet at the Reduta concert hall. King Willem-Alexander and President Čaputová will each give a speech during the state banquet.

The second day coincides with International Women’s Day and will start with the royal couple meeting young Slovaks to discuss gender equality and empowering women. Participants will speak about their own experiences and future outlook. After this King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will meet with the speaker of the National Council Boris Kollár at Bratislava Castle. Later that morning the royal couple will visit the ‘The Future is Now’ business forum, where innovative Dutch and Slovak entrepreneurs will exchange ideas and opportunities in the areas of sustainability, health and the circular economy. Several agreements will be signed to further enhance cooperation between companies and organisations from both countries. The royal couple will then see the principle of the circular economy being put into practice at a collection point for PET bottles and cans. Recycling in Slovakia has been given a considerable boost by a new deposit system designed using innovative sensor technology and artificial intelligence. After this Prime Minister Eduard Heger will receive the King and Queen for a government lunch. In the afternoon the royal couple will visit LGBTIQ+ bar Tepláreň, where two people were shot dead on 12 October 2022 because of their sexual orientation. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will speak to the victims’ friends and relatives and a survivor of the attack. At the end of the afternoon a reception will be held for the Dutch community in Slovakia. In the evening, to thank President Čaputová for her hospitality, the royal couple will host a concert at the Slovak National Theatre put together by trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and performed by Juan Pablo Dobal, Oliver’s Cinema and Holland Baroque.

9 March: Tatra region

On the final day of the state visit the King and Queen will visit the region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains in northeastern Slovakia together with President Čaputová. In the town of Poprad they will visit a centre for Ukrainian refugees. Slovakia borders Ukraine in the east; since the start of the war over one million Ukrainians have crossed the border. Refugees have been welcomed and supported with the help of a large number of volunteers and aid organisations. After this the royal couple will visit the historical Spišská Sobota district of Poprad, a testament to the cultural heritage of Slovakia and of the Carpathian Germans, a recognised minority in the country. In Liptovský Mikuláš King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and President Čaputová will visit a school where they will talk to pupils about democracy and disinformation. The school uses a special learning module to teach children about democratic values and how to recognise fake news. The state visit will conclude at Tatra National Park. On the banks of the river Belá a guide will talk about nature conservation in the area, the challenges that exist and the measures in place to preserve and improve biodiversity.

Government information Service, no. 21