State visit to France - program
At the invitation of President François Hollande His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to France on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March 2016. The King and Queen will be accompanied by foreign minister Bert Koenders.
The state visit by the King and Queen will build on the boost given to bilateral relations by President Hollande's official visit to the Netherlands in January 2014. It will focus on deepening economic, cultural and European ties. The state visit will mark the countries' shared past and shared values of freedom and equality.
Coinciding with the visit, Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, will head a broad economic mission to France. Joining the mission will be representatives from the High-Tech Systems and Materials (HTSM), Agri-Food and Energy sectors, with a focus on aerospace, food innovations, the biobased economy, smart cities and offshore wind energy.
Thursday 10 March
The state visit will begin on Thursday morning with a welcome ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. The King will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, after which he and the Queen will sign the Livre d'Or. President Hollande will then receive the King and Queen at the Élysée Palace.
Accompanied by President Hollande, the King and Queen will visit the Louvre Museum to view Rembrandt's wedding portraits of Maerten Soolmans en Oopjen Coppit. These portraits were purchased jointly by the Dutch and French governments to be displayed together for a large international audience, alternating between the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
In the afternoon a reception for the Dutch community in France will take place at the Hôtel Potocki. After this the King and Queen will meet with the President of the Senate in the Petit Luxembourg and the President of the National Assembly at the Hôtel de Lassay.
In the late afternoon the King and Queen will visit the Halle Pajol, a meeting place for young people. Here they will discuss tolerance, freedom and equality with pupils who have participated in educational projects organised by the Anne Frank Foundation. The meeting will be moderated by former football player Lilian Thuram, whose Fondation Thuram works to promote tolerance.
In the evening President Hollande will host a state banquet at the Élysée Palace, at which both heads of state will deliver a speech.
Friday 11 March
The King and Queen will meet the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, in the morning. At the Hôtel de Ville they will discuss Dutch links with Paris. The King and the Mayor will both give a short speech.
To combat air pollution the City of Paris is investing in sustainable urban transport. As part of this effort they have purchased several electric buses from Ebusco, a Dutch company based in Helmond. The King and Queen will hear about sustainable transport solutions during a trip on one of the electric buses.
In Les Docks the royal party will attend several programme events of the economic mission. The King and Queen will be present at the Strategic Business Dialogue between French and Dutch CEOs, chaired by Hans de Boer, president of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), and Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, vice-president of the French employers' organisation MEDEF. The meeting will focus on cooperation in the fields of innovation and sustainability, in the wake of the recent COP21 climate summit in Paris. The King and Queen will also attend an innovation parade, which will showcase examples of partnerships between Dutch and French businesses in the fields of aircraft construction, seed improvement, food innovation and serious gaming. The parade is part of the ongoing Franco-Dutch economic year. As the final programme event at this venue the King and Queen will witness the signing of several MoUs concerning aerospace, smart cities, transport and the establishment of a Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Nantes.
In the afternoon the King and Queen will visit NUMA, a start-up incubator where new entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to evolve their businesses. The King and Queen will be joined by Emmanuel Macron, the French Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, and hear about the Data City project, in which products and services for creating smart cities can be developed.
At the Atelier Néerlandais the King and Queen will attend the final session of a fashion master class for talent Dutch and French designers. The Atelier was set up as a springboard for creative and cultural Dutch businesspeople.
In the context of the Dutch EU Presidency a symposium will be held on peace and security in the European Union in. The King and Queen will attend the symposium's closing session in the Salon de l'Horloge at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr Koenders and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault will both give a speech to students and guests of honour.
In the evening the King and Queen will host a concert and a reception at the Petit Palais, to thank President Hollande for his hospitality during the state visit. The concert will be given by soprano Lenneke Ruiten, accompanied by pianist Thom Janssen and the Ruysdael Quartet.