Dutch royal couple on a state visit to Austria
The visit began on Monday with a reception with ongoing honors in the inner courtyard by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and his wife Doris Schmidauer. The Federal President last paid an official visit to the Netherlands in mid-November 2018.
In the afternoon, the royal couple laid a wreath on the Shoah Wall of Names in Vienna-Alsergrund in memory of the Jewish women, children and men who were murdered in the Holocaust in the presence of Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP). They then meet Vienna’s mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) and the city government in the town hall, where they sign the city’s golden book. Then the royal couple, accompanied by the second President of the National Council, Doris Bures (SPÖ), will visit the parliament building, which is currently being renovated.
On Tuesday, Willem-Alexander and Máxima will first visit an integration project in the bread factory (Vienna-Favoriten). After visiting the “Community Cooking” kitchen, a meeting with refugees from the Ukraine is planned, followed by a tour of the Sonnwendviertel near Vienna Central Station. A visit to the National Library is then scheduled, followed by a working discussion with Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). In the evening there is a concert by the Dutch Chamber Choir in the Konzerthaus.
The third day of the visit is mainly dedicated to mobility. Together with the federal presidential couple, they travel to Graz by train, where they visit the headquarters of the mobility group AVL. After a reception by the Mayor of Graz Elke Kahr (KPÖ) and a subsequent lunch with the outgoing Governor of Styria, Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP), the end of the state visit is the presentation of the Graz cycling offensive 2030 on the Murinsel.
Willem-Alexander is the eldest of Queen Beatrix’s three sons and has been King of the Netherlands since his mother’s abdication on 30 April 2013. The royal couple has three daughters: Crown Princess Amalia (18), who came of age last December, and Princesses Alexia – she turned 17 yesterday – and Ariane (15).
The Dutch royal family already has traditionally close ties to Austria and has been spending their annual skiing holiday in Lech am Arlberg (Vorarlberg) since 1959. This is also where one of the most serious strokes of fate of the royal family happened in recent times: Willem-Alexander’s brother Prince Friso was buried by an avalanche in February 2012 while skiing in unsecured terrain. He died in 2013 at the age of 44 as a result of the accident.