State visit to Vietnam - programme

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, at the invitation of President Vo Van Thuong. The visit will take place from 19 to 22 March 2024. The King and Queen will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot.

Update: this visit will not go ahead.

The state visit reaffirms the two countries’ broad bilateral relationship as a whole, and focuses special attention on sustainable development. In 2023 the Netherlands and Vietnam marked 50 years of diplomatic relations. Both countries are situated in deltas and have a large agricultural sector. In recent decades they have grown to be strong economic and knowledge partners. Vietnam and the Netherlands cooperate in a wide variety of areas, including climate adaptation and water, sustainable agriculture and food production, renewable energy, logistics, hightech and the international legal order.

Our countries are key partners in the area of trade and investment, and in promoting economic security. The Netherlands is Vietnam’s biggest export destination in Europe and the biggest European investor in Vietnam. Parallel to the state visit, two economic missions will be taking place: one focusing on agrifood and horticulture, headed by Minister for Nature and Nitrogen Policy Christianne van der Wal, and the other focusing on water and logistics, headed by Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers. Ingrid Thijssen, chair of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), will lead the business delegation.

Tuesday 19 March - Hanoi


Wreath-laying ceremony

The state visit to Vietnam will begin in Hanoi at the Memorial to National Heroes and Martyrs. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will lay a wreath in commemoration. 

Welcome ceremony

President Vo Van Thuong and his wife Phan Thị Thanh Tâm will officially welcome King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima at a welcome ceremony at the presidential palace. The King and the president will inspect the guard of honour. This will be followed by a tête-à-tête and a delegation meeting, after which documents on cooperation between Dutch and Vietnamese government bodies will be signed. These include agreements on cooperation on horticulture between Westland municipality and Lam Dong province and on electronic certification of plant products between the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Vietnamese Ministries of Agriculture & Rural Development and Finance.

Meeting with the chairman of the National Assembly and the prime minister 

The King and Queen will meet with the chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue, at the National Assembly building. They will then speak with prime minister Phạm Minh Chính at the government headquarters. 


Speech by the King at Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

During a visit to Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics the King will give a speech on international cooperation. The academy is the Vietnamese government’s main training institute. It also serves as an advisory body to the government and the party on a wide range of matters, including international affairs and human rights.

Sustainable food systems  

The Netherlands and Vietnam are strategic partners on sustainable agriculture. The 10th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership Arrangement (SPA) on sustainable agriculture and food security will be marked during an event on the programme of the agrifood and horticulture mission. The King will open the event ‘Working together towards sustainable food systems’. The state visit will coincide with the launch of the Youth4Food campaign, which aims to inspire young people in Vietnam to pursue a career in the agriculture sector. Vietnam aspires to become a regional hub for food innovation, opening up opportunities for Dutch businesses. 

Dragonboat race and school visit

At the invitation of the president, the King will attend a traditional dragonboat race. The president’s wife has invited Queen Máxima to visit a school.

Meeting with the Secretary-General of the Communist Party

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will be received by Secretary-General Nguyễn Phú Trọng for an official meeting. 


State banquet

The president and his wife will host a state banquet at the International Conference Centre. Both heads of state will give a speech.

Wednesday 20 March - Hanoi, Hai Phong and Cat Ba Island


Hightech University Challenge

The morning programme will begin at VinUniversity, where the King and Queen will attend the final of the Hightech Challenge for students from VinUniversity and FPT University. The competing students pitch hightech solutions, converted into prototypes and commercial products. The jury is made up of Dutch and Vietnamese industry experts. The first prize is a study trip to Brainport Eindhoven. Vietnam’s economic growth is partly down to its high-quality education and training programmes.

Damen Song Cam Shipyard 

In 2014 Damen formed a joint venture with Song Cam. Around 40 tugboats are built at the shipyard each year. The company is focusing its growth on sustainable boats, such as electric tugboats. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit the shipyard and speak to staff about the production of sustainable boats.


Visit to mangrove restoration project 

Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve is home to 23 types of mangrove. Mangroves are beneficial in terms of biodiversity, coastal protection and carbon sequestration. A research team from Thuyloi University is working to restore the mangroves. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will speak with students at a mobile living lab (a collaboration with Delft University of Technology), and help replant the mangroves.

Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve

During a boat tour around Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve the royal couple will hear from experts about nature conservation. The archipelago was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its towering limestone pillars and its floating villages where the local population have lived on the water for centuries making a living farming shrimp. The southern part of Cat Ba Island is still being developed, with a focus on a balance between nature conservation and tourism. 

In the evening the King and Queen will fly to Ho Chi Minh City.

Thursday 21 March - Ho Chi Minh City


Mekong Delta Business Forum and exhibition 

The Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam is the world’s third largest delta. The region is comparable to the Netherlands both in terms of its surface area and number of inhabitants. With Dutch support, Vietnam developed a Mekong Delta Master Plan and an Agricultural Transformation Programme; both are long-term visions for a safe, prosperous and sustainable delta. 
The economic mission delegates will meet representatives of Vietnamese businesses, knowledge institutions and NGOs at the Hilton Hotel. The King and Queen will attend selected parts of the programme, including presentations on furthering cooperation. This cooperation centres on an integrated system-based approach: sustainable food production and water management that utilise ecosystems.

Vietnamese contemporary art programme

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit Galerie Quynh, where they will discuss visual arts in Vietnam with Vietnamese artists who have received scholarships or prizes from the Prince Claus Fund and the Han Nefkens Foundation, or who have studied at the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. They will also view the gallery’s current exhibition with installations by Pham Minh Hieu.  


Meeting with Dutch nationals with Vietnamese roots 

Over lunch the King and Queen will meet with Dutch nationals who have Vietnamese roots. The meeting will centre on the participants’ personal experiences in the Netherlands, emigration, cultural differences and similarities, and food culture.

Towards a sustainable and climate-resilient Ho Chi Minh City: water and ports 

Ho Chi Minh City is traversed by the Saigon River, making water management, flood protection, port development and nature conservation important issues for the city. During a boat tour, the King and Queen will discuss challenges and solutions with regard to water management and port development with experts and representatives of the local and port authorities. Mr Harbers and representatives of the municipality of Rotterdam will also take part in these discussions.

Reception for the Dutch community in Vietnam

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will receive Dutch nationals who live or work in Vietnam at the ambassador’s residence. Prior to the reception they will be greeted by children from the Saigon Dutch School and pause at a plaque commemorating Dutch military personnel who lost their lives in Vietnam.


Networking event

The King and Queen will attend a networking event at the Independence Palace for representatives of Dutch and Vietnamese businesses, knowledge institutions, civil society organisations and local authorities. The event will also feature a fashion show, in which a Dutch and a Vietnamese clothing designer will present their designs. The fabrics used are sustainably produced and processed. Following the fashion show the royal couple will speak with authorities, designers and civil society organisations. 

Friday 22 March - Dak Lak


Dialogue with women role models 

In the morning the King and Queen will fly to Buon Ma Thuot in Dak Lak province, where they will be welcomed by the local authorities. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima’s visit will begin with a dialogue with women role models who hold prominent positions in the province. This event will take place at the World Coffee Museum. Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world and Dak Lak is the country’s largest coffee-producing province.


Sustainable agriculture presentation and signing of MoU 

Lunch will be followed by a presentation at Arul House on sustainable agriculture. A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between Nedspice (a Dutch-based company that processes spices sourced in Dak Lak), the Sustainable Trade Initiative and Dak Lak province. The Sustainable Trade Initiative facilitates a landscape programme aimed at fostering sustainability, conservation and diversity. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will discuss sustainable developments in the area with stakeholders. 

Cu Sue Cooperative coffee and pepper plantation 

The royal couple will visit Cu Sue Cooperative coffee and pepper plantation. The cooperative has some 160 members, mainly local farmers who produce sustainable, high-quality coffee and pepper. The King and Queen will speak with a number of these farmers and observe the production process of harvesting and drying the coffee beans and peppercorns.

Dak Lak Museum

The King and Queen will conclude their state visit at Dak Lak Museum, which showcases the culture and development of the province, with exhibits on local life, agriculture and history. The royal couple will view the museum’s highlights, including an exhibition of photos centring on local people. 

Government Information Service, no. 43