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State visit from the Netherlands: His Majesty The King's speech

Speech given by His Majesty King Harald during the gala dinner at Oslo Royal Palace in honour of the state visit from the Netherlands 9 - 11. November 2021.

Your Majesties,
Ladies and gentlemen,

The Queen and I are very happy to welcome Your Majesties back to Norway and to the Royal Palace. Eight years ago, we had the pleasure of receiving you for a friendship visit just after your accession to the throne. That visit underlined the close relations between our monarchies and our families.

This time, Your Majesties have come for a state visit. This highlights the strong ties between our two countries.

We are impressed by the way that you, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, have defined your own role as Majesties. It was no easy task to be the successors to a beloved Queen, my dear friend Princess Beatrix. You have formed a genuinely modern monarchy based on who you are – with warmth and wisdom, a sense of humour and a deep devotion to your country and to your people.

I am grateful that the bonds between our monarchies are still strong – through the close friendship between Your Majesties, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. And also between members of your family and Princess Märtha Louise.

I wish you all the best as you continue your service to your country.

Your Majesties,
Norwegian-Dutch relations extend back many centuries. In the beginning, our relations revolved primarily around trade.

But our cooperation today is based on far more than economic interests. It is built on shared values and mutual understanding. Norway and the Netherlands are close partners in the many multilateral forums where we both take part – such as the UN, NATO, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. 

We are partners in the European Economic Area. We are longstanding allies in defence and security matters. Norway greatly values its close cooperation with the Netherlands in all of these areas.

Our countries are both maritime nations. For hundreds of years, the oceans have provided us with food, employment and access to goods. Today, we are working together to reduce emissions from the shipping industry. In Trondheim, you will see cutting-edge research that will help promote the green transition – both at sea and on land.

Our countries also have much in common when it comes to culture and sports activities. Dutch DJ Tiësto has a big following in Norway, and Kygo is popular in the Netherlands.

For many years, we have enjoyed hard competition in speed skating – a sport that has been dominated by the Dutch for decades. And next week, the Netherlands and Norway will be facing off in a crucial world cup qualifying match.

When they last competed in September, many Dutch supporters thought the Norwegian fans were chanting Holland. In fact, they were chanting Haaland - the striker of the Norwegian team. So just to be clear: I wish the Dutch good luck in the game next week – but not too much good luck…

Your Majesties,
We live in a complex world, and people must show respect for each other’s differences. It is essential that we learn how to express our differences openly in discussions, using words, not violence. I know that Your Majesties do impressive work in this respect. On several occasions you have sat down with disputing parties – and just listened.

You give people the opportunity to share their innermost concerns and anxieties. Trying to understand each other’s views is key. Respect for each other’s differences is the foundation for peaceful coexistence. But it requires hard work – and perseverance – as I am sure you have experienced.

Your Majesties,
As open, modern democracies, we share core values and interests. On this note, let me wish you welcome once again.

It is a great pleasure for the Queen and I to ask you all to join us in a toast to Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, to the people of the Netherlands and to the close and friendly relations between our two countries.




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King Harald's speech in honour of the state visit from the Netherlands. Photo: NRK