March State Visits: smiles and hugs for #NLARG


The smiles say it all as the Argentinian State Visit to the Netherlands comes to an end
(photo koninklijkhuis Twitter)

There was a lot of attention on Queen Maxima and Argentinian First Lady, Juliana Awada, ahead of the two day State Visit to the Netherlands this week.  But in the end what we'll remember is King Willem-Alexander. The Dutch monarch stole the show by paying a love filled tribute to his wife during his State Dinner speech and not even Maxima's decision to roll with some vintage rocks last seen four decades ago could divert attention from that. The whole visit was marked by friendship (Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and his wife do seem to be able to put their hosts at ease, we saw the same in Spain just weeks ago) and happiness. Here's a look back at the highlights of the Argentinian State Visit to the Netherlands.



The State Visit got under way on March 27th with an official welcome in Dam Square in Amsterdam. President Macri and Juliana Awada already know their hosts and there were plenty of smiles as they said hello. Mauricio Macri then inspected the guard of honour before laying a wreath at the National Monument of the Netherlands.



Queen Maxima accompanied her guests on a visit to Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam as the State Visit got under way. 



The afternoon of day one saw the King and Queen of the Netherlands and the President and First Lady of Argentina head to a business forum to discuss economic co-operation between their two countries. And then it was time to get sporty as the foursome headed to the Beurs van Berlage to see a demonstration by the Dutch Football Association and Dutch Hockey Association on the impact of sport on co-operation and social development.



This had already been a glamourous and good humoured visit before the State Dinner gong was sounded and the diamonds came out to play. Queen Maxima wore the Dutch Diamond Bandeau, which we've seen her in plenty of times before, and a huge necklace not worn in public by the country's royals since the 1970s. It's part of the House Diamond set and it's pretty fantastic.





But despite doing the whole surprise diamond thing, Maxima was about to be outsparkled by her husband. There had been a lot of excitement in Argentina about this State Visit given that Queen Maxima has been welcoming the president of her home country but when Willem-Alexander praised the nation for giving him his 'most precious gift', you could almost hear the sigh in the room in Buenos Aires. Everyone was still hearts in eyes the following morning.



By then. Maxima had put the heirloom jewels away and got out a purple coat with sparkles as she and Juliana Awada headed out for engagements in Amsterdam.




Their first visit was to the Orange House to hear about its work with people affected by domestic violence. President Macri's first port of call was in The Hague where he visited the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. 



Queen Maxima and Juliana Awada's next engagement was also in The Hague where they spent time at the Centre for Youth and Family to find out about its work in health and education.  Then it was off to the Mauritshuis for a tour of its famous paintings.  And that was all before lunch.



The official lunch, complete with speeches, is as much a part of a State Visit as the sparkle of the gala night out and this one was held in the Parliament Buildings where King Willem-Alexander and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, joined the party.  There were more hugs as the Dutch PM welcomed the First Lady of Argentina - no one is looking awkward here in the slightest.



They needed to cuddle up as the afternoon was spent on a chilly visit to Rotterdam before a co-operation agreement between its port and the one in Buenos Aires was signed.  So they did. This is one big happy party here.





And there were yet more cuddles as the State Visit came to an end - Mauricio Macri and Juliana Awada treated their hosts to a night at the ballet to say thank you for their stay. Cue the hugs and kisses. In fact, this lot got so chummy there were arms around each other and hugs galore. But despite the cosy ending, the one thing we'll remember from this State Visit is the charm of the Dutch king as he complemented his wife and his guests all at the same time. That's what you call sparkling.

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