The 'Tweede Kamer', the second chamber of the Dutch parliament has serious doubts about the planned visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima to Russia on November 9. A string of recent incidents in the relations between both countries has led to the visit being questioned.
Russia and the Netherlands this year celebrate 300 years of 'friendly relations'. President Vladimir Putin came to Amsterdam in March to inaugurate, in the presence of Queen Beatrix, the special year. With a string of exhibitions, concerts, cultural and business exchanges, both countries were meant to 'celebrate' their good relations.
Recently though these relations have gone sour. The Dutch protested against Russia's anti-gay laws - with Russia countering by pointing out the lax attitude of the Dutch towards it paedophile party -, and were angry about the arrest of Greenpeace activists in the Arctic - pirates according to the Russians.
When Dutch police apprehended a high ranking Russian diplomat and his wife, for alleged child abuse and drunken driving, President Vladimir Putin brought out the guns and lambasted the Dutch, demanding retribution and apologies. In Moscow there were even calls for a boycott of the Netherlands and Dutch products.
Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs, Russian speaking Frans Timmermans, had to issue a formal apology as the police was not within its rights to enter the appartment of the diplomat. This week however the appartment of the nr 2 in the Dutch embassy in Moscow was vandalised and the Dutch diplomat beaten - with little doubt of it being a retribution, leading to uproar in the Dutch parliament.
Mr Timmermans adviced against cancelling the royal one day visit, planned as the closing act of the special year. The King and Queen are to attend a concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; a meeting with President Vladimir Putin has still not been confirmed. © RB; Photo by © DPP