Incoming state visits

An incoming state visit is a visit to the Netherlands by a foreign head of state. Following his or her investiture, a new monarch starts by visiting the country of a head of state of longer standing. Like an incoming visit, an outward state visit includes a number of set elements, some of which the King attends, as do other members of the Royal House if their diary permits.

Incoming state visits to King Willem-Alexander

Incoming state visit programme

On the first day of an incoming state visit, the visiting head of state is usually welcomed with military ceremonial in Amsterdam. He or she inspects the guard of honour, lays a wreath at the National Monument in Dam Square and pays a visit to the mayor of Amsterdam. In the evening, the King hosts a state banquet at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, at which both heads of state deliver a speech.

On the second day of the state visit, the visiting head of state has a short private meeting with the Dutch prime minister in The Hague. The prime minister also hosts a government lunch. The visiting head of state can then meet his or her compatriots living in the Netherlands, at a reception organised by their country’s embassy. In the evening the visiting head of state hosts some form of return hospitality, traditionally another state banquet but nowadays often a cultural event or performance.

On the third day the head of state often sees some characteristic economic or cultural aspect of the Netherlands.

The guests generally stay in the Royal Palace, Amsterdam. The Order of the Lion of the Netherlands is usually conferred on a visiting head of state, while his or her spouse is usually made a Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of the House of Orange. The insignia of the orders are presented and gifts exchanged before the state banquet.

State banquet

A state banquet forms part of every state visit. Official photographs are taken before the banquet. The heads of state and the guests wear evening dress: the gentlemen black tie and the ladies an evening dress.

The visiting head of state sits on the monarch’s right, with other family members and the most distinguished guests at the same table. Both heads of state deliver a speech at the beginning of the banquet.

Incoming state visits to Queen Beatrix 1980-2013

  • 6-8 February 1984: President and Mrs Mitterrand, France
  • 30 May-1 June 1985: President and Mrs Von Weizsäcker, West Germany
  • 4-6 November 1986: President and Mrs Hillery, Ireland
  • 12-14 September 1988: President and Mrs Venkataraman, India
  • 17-19 April 1989: President and Mrs Sartzetakis, Greece
  •  2-4 October 1989: President Mário Soares, Portugal
  • 15-17 May 1990: President and Mrs Koivisto, Finland
  • 28-30 May 1991: President and Mrs Pérez, Venezuela
  • 25-27 May 1992: Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Luxembourg
  • 4-6 October 1994: President and Mrs Wałęsa, Poland
  • 20-22 March 1996: Governor-General and Mrs LeBlanc, Canada
  • 15-17 April 1996: King Harald V and Queen Sonja, Norway
  • 11-12 March 1999: President and Mrs Mandela, South Africa
  • 28-29 February 2000: President and Mrs Chirac, France
  • 4-6 April 2000: King Albert II and Queen Paola, Belgium
  • 23-26 May 2000: Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Japan
  • 3-5 April 2001: President and Mrs Sezer, Turkey
  • 23-25 October 2001: King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, Spain
  • 13-14 November 2002 (postponed because of the Moscow theatre hostage crisis): President and Mrs Putin, Russia
  • 24-25 May 2004: President and Mrs Deiss, Switzerland
  • 14 -16 June 2005 (postponed because of an earthquake in Chile): visit of President Lagos Escobar and Mrs Durán de Escobar, Chile
  • 1-2 November 2005: President and Mrs Putin, Russia
  • 24-26 April 2006: Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Luxembourg
  • 30 October-1 November 2006: King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, Jordan
  • 8-10 October 2007: President and Mrs Köhler, Germany
  • 10-11 April 2008: President and Mrs Lula da Silva, Brazil
  • 21-23 October 2008: President and Mrs Kufuor, Ghana
  • 21-23 April 2009: King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Sweden
  • 25-27 May 2009: President Michelle Bachelet, Chile
  • 6-8 October 2010 (cancelled): President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Mrs Ani Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia
  • 17-19 April 2012: President and Mrs Gül, Turkey
  • 26-28 June 2012 (postponed at Italy’s request, because of unforeseen circumstances): President and Mrs Napolitano, Italy
  • 23-25 October 2012: President and Mrs Napolitano, Italy
  • 20-22 November 2012: President Gašparovič and Mrs Gašparovičová, Slovakia