State visit to Belgium – programme
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will be paying a state visit to Belgium at the invitation of His Majesty the King of the Belgians. The visit will start in Brussels on the morning of Tuesday 20 June and end in Antwerp on the evening of Thursday 22 June. The King and Queen will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra on the first and third days of their visit. Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf will accompany them on the second day. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Piet Adema, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers, Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren, Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Karien van Gennip and Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Micky Adriaansens will each be attending separate parts of the programme.
The state visit will reaffirm the excellent ties between the two neighbouring countries, which have strong historical, social and economic links. Key common themes during the visit will be improving social and physical liveability, combating climate change, maintaining and promoting a safe society and working towards a sustainable future in which energy is green and affordable. The visit will further deepen the close collaboration between the Netherlands and Belgium, as they both work towards a safer, cleaner and more sustainable future.
Tuesday 20 June – Brussels
Arrival at Brussels Midi train station
The state visit will begin in Brussels, with the King and Queen arriving by royal train at Brussel Midi station where they will be welcomed by the Belgian foreign minister.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will receive King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima at a welcome ceremony at the Royal Palace.
Following the welcome ceremony at the palace, the King and Queen of the Netherlands will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This monument commemorates all unidentified Belgian soldiers who fell during the First World War.
Following a lunch at the Royal Palace, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit the Federal Parliament of Belgium. They will speak with members of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate before being given a tour of the building.
Meeting with the Prime Minister
The King and Queen will then meet with Prime Minister Alexander de Croo at Lambermont, his official residence.
Meeting with the mayor of Brussels and walkabout in Grand-Place
Later that afternoon both royal couples will be received by the mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, at the town hall. During a walkabout in Grand-Place square the royal party will then have the opportunity to meet inhabitants of Brussels and tourists.
In the evening King Philippe will host a state banquet at the Castle of Laeken, at which both heads of state will give a speech.
Wednesday 21 June – Brussels, Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Waterloo and Charleroi
Climate Tech Forum
The second day of the visit will begin at the Climate Tech Forum, part of the parallel economic mission headed by foreign trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher. The event will be attended by some 500 representatives of Belgian and Dutch knowledge institutions, businesses and public sector bodies. They will be exchanging knowledge and exploring opportunities for cooperation on green hydrogen, climate neutral construction, future-proof agriculture and horticulture, and smart, sustainable mobility. The royal party will also visit an innovation market highlighting Belgian-Dutch collaborations and attend part of the plenary programme. King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander will each give a short speech.
King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander will visit Aerospacelab in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve which specialises in satellite data, and in designing, testing and producing satellites. They will be given a tour, visit the cleanroom and meet members of staff.
Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel
Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima will visit the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo. Each year the institution hosts approximately 70 international young musicians, who follow a programme of lessons, concerts and recitals, work with orchestras and participate in festivals. Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima will meet several of the musicians, attend performances and be given a tour.
Lunch meeting on water management
The royal party will attend a lunch in the orangery at the Castle of Seneffe, at which Belgian and Dutch experts will give presentations on addressing the risks of drought and flooding.
In the afternoon the party will visit BioPark Charleroi, a biotech ecosystem where businesses and knowledge institutions conduct research on life sciences and develop solutions to challenges in healthcare.
Unveiling of comic mural and comic strip workshop
On arrival in Charleroi the royal party will walk to the Institut Saint-André school, while greeting the public. Outside the school they, and a number of pupils, will unveil a mural designed by the Dutch comic book artist Dido Drachman and Belgian graphic novel artist Christian Durieux. They will then participate in a comic strip workshop together with pupils from the school. The unveiling of the mural and the comic strip workshop will mark the end of a cultural festival involving Belgian and Dutch artists.
In the evening King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will host a concert by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta string orchestra at the Flagey culture house in Brussels to thank their hosts for their hospitality.
Thursday 22 June – Leuven and Antwerp
The third day of the state visit will begin in Leuven, where King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit Imec, a research centre specialising in chip technology that supports companies developing digital applications. The royal party will attend a roundtable meeting with the CEOs of Imec’s Belgian and Dutch partners.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will start their visit to Antwerp with a walk to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA). They will have the opportunity to meet the people of Antwerp along the way. The royal party will be given a tour of the museum, which boasts a collection representing seven centuries of art. The museum’s recent renovation was overseen by Dutch architect Dikkie Scipio. Its collection includes highlights of Flemish Baroque as well as examples of primitivism and expressionism, and features works by Peter Paul Rubens, James Ensor and Rik Wouters.
Lunch meeting on early school leavers and youth unemployment
After the museum tour the royal party will attend a lunch meeting on the theme of tackling youth unemployment. Many young people in Antwerp leave school without a qualification, while at the same time there are a large number of unfilled job vacancies at secondary vocational level. At the lunch young people will be sharing their experiences and speaking with researchers about the role of educational institutions and employers in guiding vulnerable young people and their development.
Port Authority Building
After the lunch meeting the royal party will be given a short tour of the Port Authority Building and will speak with CEOs and participants of the Belgian-Dutch Port Open Day being held in the Port of Antwerp. They will look at how ports and their industrial clusters can work together to achieve shared ambitions relating to the energy transition, and the infrastructure this requires.
Belgian and Dutch frigates
In the Port of Antwerp King Philippe and King Willem-Alexander will visit the Belgian frigate Louise-Marie, while Queen Mathilde and Queen Máxima visit the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter. There will be various demonstrations on board and on shore. This part of the programme will focus on the partnership between the Belgian and Dutch navies. The Royal Netherlands Navy and the Belgian Navy operate the same types of ships and helicopters, cooperate on maintenance and carry out joint exercises. Following the visit to the frigates, a farewell ceremony will be held on shore.
Reception for the Dutch community
At the end of the afternoon a reception for the Dutch community in Belgium will be held in the historic Handelsbeurs, Antwerp’s former stock exchange.
Government Information Service, no. 145
Allocution de Sa Majesté le roi Willem-Alexander pour l’ouverture du Forum sur les technologies climatiques, Gare Maritime, Bruxelles
Allocution de Sa Majesté le roi Willem-Alexander à l’occasion du dîner d’État dans le cadre de la visite d’État à l’invitation de Leurs Majestés le roi Philippe et la reine Mathilde des Belges, Bruxelles
Tischrede Seiner Majestät König Willem-Alexander beim Staatsbesuch bei Ihren Majestäten König Philippe und Königin Mathilde der Belgier, Brüssel