King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will embark on their most challenging trip of their fresh reign yet as they travel to the Dutch Caribbean in November. They will visit all 6 islands, spending 4 days on 4 of them and 2 days each on the bigger islands Curaçao and Aruba. The gruelling tour will be followed by short visits to Colombia and Venezuela.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima have already visited Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain, Norway and Sweden since Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother Queen Beatrix on April 30, 2013.
As retiring member of the International Olympic Committee the King also travelled to Argentina for the IOC's meeting in September and Queen Máxima made several foreign trips in her capacity as the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA). Earlier this month she was in Washington DC for talks with the World Bank and the IMF.
The trip to the Dutch Caribbean - 3 islands which are independent countries within the Kingdom, and 3 islands with a special status in The Netherlands - duplicates the tour of the 12 mainland provinces shortly after the investiture. The royal couple will meet with governors, island councils and governments, and will try to meet as many of the inhabitants as possible.
The Dutch Government Information Service on Friday published an outline of the royal schedule. Some highlights:
Tuesday 12 November: Saint Maarten
• arrival at Princess Juliana Airport, Saint Maarten.
Wednesday 13 November: Saint Maarten
• welcome ceremony with honour guard on Clem Labega Square in Philipsburg;
• talks with governor, Speaker and members of the States of St Maarten, prime minister and members of government;
• visit Milton Peters college;
• visit Raoul Illidge sporting ground;
• walk about in Frontstreet, Philipsburg;
• festive evening Festival Village.
Thursday 14 November: Saba
• official welcome at J.E. Yrausquin Airport;
• play by children, at the airport;
• visit Spring Bay Heritage trail;
• visit Organoponics Farm;
• visit Juliana Sports Field;
• lunch with members of council;
• visit The Bottom, with parade of flags representing the 40 nationalisties represented on the tiny island.
Friday 15 November: Statia/Saint Eustatius
• official welcome at F.D. Roosevelt Airport;
• visit ‘science fair’ with presentation by school children;
• visit day care centre Buzzy Bees;
• visit Hazels Plantation;
• visit Historical Foundation Museum, which has an exhibit to mark the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery (in 1863);
• cultural festival in Wilhelminapark.
Saturday 16 November: Bonaire
• official welcome at Flamingo International Airport;
• visit Wilhelminaplein with sporting activities of youth;
• visit Cocari, day care for the elderly in Rincon;
• visit Youth Home and opening of photo exhibition ‘Dare to Share’;
• reception and meeting with administrator, members of island council in Kralendijk.
Monday 18 November: Curaçao
• welcoming ceremony with guard of honour at Government Square in Willemstad;
• talks and meetings with interim governor, prime minister, council of ministers, Speaker and members of the States (parliament) of Curaçao;
• visit Marnix College;
• walk about in Otrobanda;
• visit Techno Future School;
• visit University of Curaçao;
• festive evening at Brion square in Willemstad.
Tuesday 19 November: Curaçao
• visit Banda Abou (western Curaçao) with various stops;
• visit Banda Ariba (eastern Curaçao);
• visit Fortress Church in Fort Amsterdam in Punda with exposition of Curaçao goldsmiths;
• reception hosted by interim governor.
Wednesday 20 November: Aruba
• welcoming ceremony with honour guard on L.G. Smith Boulevard, in front of parliament;
• talks and meetings with governor, Speaker, members of the States of Aruba, prime minister and ministers;
• attend youth debate about future of Aruba in San Nicolas;
• attend festive evening near Bushiribana (old gold melting ovens on north coast).
Thursday 21 November: Aruba
• attend sporting event for all grammar school children in Guillermo Trinidad Stadium;
• attend luncheon;
• reception hosted by governor.