Queen Beatrix visits Dutch Caribbean

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Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has started a 10-day state visit to the six Dutch Caribbean islands. She is being accompanied by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Crown Princess Máxima and Kingdom Relations Minister Piet-Hein Donner.

Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten are constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have the status of special Dutch municipalities.

The developments which have followed the break-up of the Netherlands Antilles, to which the islands belonged until 10 October 2010, will dominate the state visit.

Dissatisfaction Many people on the islands are far from satisfied with the changes which have taken place. Queen Beatrix will need all her diplomatic skills to deal with the disappointment and anger she is likely to face on some of the islands.

A demonstration on Bonaire is planned to coincide with her visit there. “The queen is above politics,” says one of the organisers, “she can say and do everything, and change the laws.”

Cool reception The queen’s reception on Curaçao is likely to be especially cool given that the island’s government has taken a negative position relating to the change in its status. There has been a lot of anti-Dutch rhetoric in Curaçao recently.

Dutch MPs have even suggested she might be better not to go to there. However, her visit to Curaçao will go ahead as planned.

While on the state visit to the Dutch Caribbean islands, the queen is scheduled to inspect projects including many involving education, culture and sport.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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