State visit to Canada - program

Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to Canada from Wednesday 27 May to Friday 29 May 2015, at the invitation of Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and Mrs Sharon Johnston. The King and Queen will be accompanied on their visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders.

The state visit will focus in part on the important role played by Canada in the liberation of the Netherlands. In 2015 the Netherlands is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its liberation. The state visit will be an opportunity to thank Canada for its contribution to 70 years of peace and freedom in the Netherlands and Europe. It will also be an opportunity for the royal couple to meet Dutch emigrants. Over 1 million of Canada’s 34 million inhabitants have Dutch roots, making the Dutch one of the largest and most integrated groups of immigrants.

Two missions will take place parallel to the state visit. Lilianne Ploumen, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, will head an economic mission and Jet Bussemaker, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, will head an academic mission. The economic mission will provide opportunities for representatives of Dutch businesses in the sectors agri-food, horticulture, water, soil and urban planning to make new business contacts and exchange knowledge. The accompanying academic mission will give Dutch universities the chance to set up or intensify international partnerships with Canadian educational institutions.

Wednesday 27 May

The state visit will begin at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General, in Ottawa, where the royal couple will be officially welcomed. After inspecting the guard of honour and speaking to the Governor General and his wife, the King and Queen will plant a tree in the gardens of Rideau Hall.

They will then visit the parliament. After signing the guestbook, the royal couple will visit the library, the oldest part of the parliament building. The King and Queen will be shown archive material relating to the shared history of Canada and the Netherlands. After the visit the speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons will host a lunch.

In the afternoon the King and Queen will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War. The Royal Netherlands Air Force Band will play the Canadian and Dutch national anthems to mark the occasion. After the wreath-laying ceremony the King and Queen will meet Canadian veterans who liberated the Netherlands 70 years ago. They will share their stories and the King and Queen will have the chance to thank them in person.

Following a CEO roundtable discussion with representatives of Dutch and Canadian businesses, a meeting will take place with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This second visit to Parliament will round off with a meeting with the ‘Dutch Causus’, a group of twenty Canadian members of parliament with ties to the Netherlands. Some are of Dutch descent, others have a specific political interest in the Netherlands. In the evening a state banquet will be held at Rideau Hall.

Thursday 28 May

In the morning the royal couple will join the academic mission at the University of Waterloo. As a mark of gratitude for the liberation of the Netherlands 70 years ago, 70 scholarships have been established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, businesses and educational institutions.

Minister Bert Koenders and Minister Jet Bussemaker will launch the Liberation Scholarship Programme. The first Canadian students will be awarded a scholarship in the presence of the King and Queen. This will be followed by a presentation and visit to the Institute for Quantum Computing, where researchers are working on the development of a quantum computer. Renowned Professor Leo Kouwenhoven of the QuTech research centre will also be present. QuTech will be working together more intensively with the Institute for Quantum Computing on developing the quantum computer.

After leaving the university the royal couple will travel to Beamsville to visit CosMic Plants, an orchid farm owned by two brothers of Dutch descent. The King and Queen will be shown round and will meet representatives of Dutch agricultural businesses who are part of the economic mission. Over high tea in the greenhouses, the King and Queen will speak to the owners of CosMic Plants and other horticultural entrepreneurs of Dutch origin about their experiences in Canada.

The royal couple will then return to Ottawa to attend the conclusion of the #HackingConflict #Diplohack challenge. Teams of diplomats, students, journalists and IT specialists will have spent two days discussing possible solutions for conflicts, for instance in Iraq. At the end of the second day the teams will present their solution – how they ‘hacked’ the problem – and Minister Koenders will announce the winner.

In the evening the King and the Queen, by way of a reciprocal gesture, will host a concert for the Governor General and his wife. The concert will bring together different musical genres and musicians, featuring a performance by the Holland Baroque Society and jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, and extracts from Canto Ostinato by harpist Gwyneth Wentink, composer Wouter Snoei and video artist Arnout Hulskamp.

Friday 29 May

In the morning the royal couple will fly from Ottawa to Toronto. They will visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, where they will first meet the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and then Ms Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario. After a short meeting with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mr Dave Levac, the royal couple will leave for the MaRS Discovery District, an important innovation hub in Canada.

MaRS is a platform for startup ventures and established businesses and research laboratories in the life sciences & health, ICT and energy sectors. The platform helps technology startups and facilitates partnerships between knowledge institutions and businesses. Its aim is to improve the innovation climate in Canada.

The King and Queen will tour several startup companies and witness the signing of MoUs relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. This will be followed by a lunch at MaRS with representatives of educational institutions and the business community.

In the afternoon the King will hold a speech at a Canadian-Dutch seminar on resilient cities. At the seminar, Dutch businesses and public authorities will speak to their Canadian counterparts about the challenges and solutions connected with urbanisation and the economic development of waterside cities. Climate change makes it necessary to reflect on these issues. The next part of the programme will take place on the Toronto Islands – a chain of recreational islands off the Toronto coast – where the King and Queen will unveil one of the seven Tulpi seats that will be presented to the city of Toronto. The seats have been placed looking out over the city’s waterfront and skyline. The state visit to Canada will conclude with a reception for the Dutch community at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

After the state visit the royal couple will travel to the United States of America. Between 1 and 3 June they will visit Washington D.C., Grand Rapids and Chicago. During this official visit the important contribution by the US to the liberation of the Netherlands will also be commemorated.