Dutch Queen visits Belgium

20th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands begins her second state visit to Belgium on Tuesday.

20 June 2006

AMSTERDAM — Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands begins her second state visit to Belgium on Tuesday.

The first visit took place in 1981 when King Baudouin I (Boudewijn in Dutch) was on the Belgian throne. Twenty five years on, Beatrix is visiting the land of Baudouin's brother and successor, King Albert II.

This visit begins at Deurne Airport near Antwerp where Queen Beatrix, Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima will be received by King Albert and Queen Paola. Their son, Prince Filip, and his wife Mathilde will also greet the Dutch royals.

Queen Beatrix and her party will then go to Antwerp and later to Brussels for a banquet.

King Albert and the Dutch Queen will make after-dinner speeches. Reflecting the language divide in Belgium, the speeches will be in both French and Dutch. The King's address will be mostly in French while Queen Beatrix will use more Dutch.

Care has been taken to ensure equal amounts of the visit are divided between the Flemish (Dutch) and French-speaking parts of the country. The Dutch royals will spend most of Wednesday in Ghent and the visit will end on Thursday in Liege.

The neighbours Belgium and the Netherlands have had a long, but not always friendly relationship.

The provinces that make up Belgium were incorporated into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the end of the French Empire in 1815. Belgium gained its independence after the revolution in 1830.

The relationship was cool between the countries for many years after that, but they improved significantly when both then-neutral countries experienced Nazi occupation in World War II.

The Benelux Customs Union Treaty between the monarchies of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg was signed in 1944 by the governments in exile of the three countries in London.

It came into force in 1947 and contributed to the formation of what is now the European Union.

There have been 12 state visits between Belgium and the Netherlands since the parting of the ways in 1830. King Albert and Paola made their last state visit to the Netherlands in 2000.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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