Koehler on first official visit to Netherlands

8th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

8 October 2007, Amsterdam (dpa) - German president Horst Koehler and his wife Eva Luise arrived at Rotterdam Airport Monday morning for what was Koehler's first state visit to the Netherlands since he took office in 2004.

8 October 2007

Amsterdam (dpa) - German president Horst Koehler and his wife Eva Luise arrived at Rotterdam Airport Monday morning for what was Koehler's first state visit to the Netherlands since he took office in 2004.

Much of the visit will be spent broadening all aspects of Dutch-German cooperation - political, scientific and economical.

Among others, the German president is due to visit the so-called Euregion.

In recent years, the province of Twente in the Eastern Netherlands bordering with Germany has increasingly become a role model for far-reaching Dutch-German cooperation and integration.

In this sense, the state visit's programme follows the German president's expertise on the subject of European integration and development.

Previously, Koehler was director of the International Monetary Fund and one of the top negotiators in the talks on the German reunification and the single European currency.

Monday morning, the Koehlers were greeted at Rotterdam airport by Dutch Queen Beatrix, who had invited the German president.

From there, the officials travelled to the Noordeinde Palace, the Queen's office in The Hague, for a reception. Among the invited guests were Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, several government officials, Chief-of-staff General Dick Berlijn and Mayor of The Hague, Wim Deetman.

Monday's lunch, also at the palace, was also attended by Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander, his wife princess Maxima and the queen's brother-in-law Pieter van Vollenhoven.

Later that day, Koehler was due to speak with Balkenende and the chairmen of the upper and lower houses of parliament.

The presidential couple was also expected at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for talks with the court president, the clerk and the prosecutor.

Monday's official programme would be closed with a state banquet at Noordeinde Palace.

Koehler's day Tuesday is to start with a memorial ceremony for the victims of German bombing of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940, which resulted in the Dutch capitulation to the Germans in World War II.

Not coincidentally, the ceremony about a darker Dutch-German past will be followed by talks between the president and policy makers, entrepreneurs and scientists on deepening Dutch-German relations and cooperation.

Following years of strong anti-German feelings in the Netherlands after World War II, Germany has become the Netherlands' single most important trade partner. The Netherlands, meanwhile is Germany's second biggest import country and the fifth biggest export country.

The close economic cooperation between both countries can be explained, among others, by the important role of the Rotterdam port in the distribution and transport of trade in Germany.

After a government lunch at the Dutch parliament on Tuesday, Koehler will spent most afternoon at the Crowne Plaza Promenade Hotel debating sustainable development with entrepreneurs.

A special concert by the choir Carmina Mundi, based in Aachen, will mark the end of the second day of the state visit.

On Wednesday, Queen Beatrix accompanies the German president to Enschede, a city in the eastern Netherlands. The officials are due to visit the University of Twente.

The entrepreneurial research university, established in 1961, is one of the key players in the development of the Euregion, the Dutch-German border area where economic, academic and political integration has been advancing rapidly in recent years.

The president is due to leave the Netherlands following a lunch at the prestigious Twickel Castle on Wednesday afternoon.

DPA

Subject: German news

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