Saturday, 5 April 2014

400 years of friendship

It's easy to take old friends for granted but there's no chance of that in Amsterdam this weekend where the Dutch Royal Family has given a big welcome to the King and Queen of Sweden on a visit that celebrates 400 years of diplomatic relations between their two countries.

The king and queen who popped in for tea - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima welcome King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to Amsterdam

In 1614, Sweden signed a treaty with the States General establishing cordial relations between the two countries and allowing Swedish diplomats to set up an embassy in what is now the Netherlands.  It was Sweden's first overseas embassy and the royal visit, which lasts two days, marks the beginning of a fifth century of friendship between the two coutries.


The King and Queen of Sweden were met by the Dutch monarchs on their arrival in Amsterdam

After a reception at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, the two kings went to a seminar about the role of Sweden and the Netherlands in the global economy while the two queens visited a complex of homes in Hogeweyk for older people who have dementia.

Queen Silvia of Sweden meets some of the residents of a complex of homes in Hogeweyk for people with dementia

There was also a stroll through the streets of Amsterdam for the royals with a chance to chat to wellwishers while King Willem-Alexander pointed out some of the highlights of the city.

A spring walk in Amsterdam for the monarchs of Sweden and the Netherlands

After a brief break, there was a state banquet where the group was joined by Princess Beatrix with a photo call ahead of the meal.

A royal quintet as the Dutch and Swedish families pose ahead of a state banquet

And just to show that, even after 400 years, the two countries are still friends there were plenty of toasts and warm words exchanged as the banquet progressed.  Just proving that long lasting friendships are among the most valuable.

Friendship among the splendour - King Willem-Alexander gives a speech at a state banquet for the King and Queen of Sweden

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