The Japanese Imperial Family will look forward to the upcoming State Visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. For years there have been very strong and cordial ties between the House of Orange and the Imperial House.
Queen Beatrix mentioned it specifically during her historic State Visit to Japan in 1991, and the presence of the Japanese Crown Princely couple Naruhito and Masako at the inauguration of Willem-Alexander last year underlined that the special relationship is continued into the next generation.
That Crown Princess Masako made the trip to Amsterdam was very special. The much plagued Princess had not made an official foreign trip since 2002. Her only overseas trip during that period was a vacation of two weeks ... in the Netherlands.
This was also exceptional because the Japanese Imperial Household Agency and government rarely give approval for foreign holidays. Both times Masako returned from the Netherlands in better health and spirits than when she left, even the suspicious Japanese media had to concede.
That Masako's parents live in the Netherlands - her father Hisashi Owada (81) is a judge at the International Court of Justice - also played a role. The Crown Princess for instance skipped the celebratory dinner Queen Beatrix offered in the Rijksmuseum to spend the evening with her parents.
Willem-Alexander - and when she travelled with him, Máxima too - visited the Imperial Family regularly during his many visits to Japan. With Crown Prince Naruhito he shares an interest in water and sanitation. Naruhito was patron of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Group on Water and Sanitation, which Willem-Alexander chaired until last year.
Other members of the Imperial Family, notably Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, have visited the Netherlands on various occasions, and have been hosted by Queen Beatrix and her family.
© Royalblog, Hans Jacobs