HM The King's speech at the state banquet in connection with the state visit from the Netherlands
The Royal Palace, Stockholm
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Royal Highnesses,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for Her Majesty the Queen and me to welcome Your Majesties to Sweden.
This state visit is an opportunity to celebrate, reaffirm and expand the close bonds that Sweden and the Netherlands have developed through the years. By celebrating our common history and our similarities, we can cultivate an even closer partnership to meet today’s challenges.
As partners since the 17th century, we have a long history together. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to host a permanent diplomatic mission from Sweden. This special relationship was confirmed through a bilateral treaty in 1614, when our countries joined forces on defence cooperation, trade and maritime affairs.
The bond between our two countries is also reflected in the friendship between our two families:
The first state visit that the Queen and I made together, in October 1976, was to the Netherlands. I remember with fondness and warmth your grandmother – my godmother – Queen Juliana, who received us with such hospitality.
I remember vividly your parents Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus’ state visit to Sweden in 1987, and we have since visited your country officially on several occasions.
Like myself, my daughter and my grand-daughter have been fortunate to have godparents in the Dutch Royal Family. And of course, my daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, is very proud to be a godmother to your daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia.
But the ties between our families also go further back in time:
In 1850, Princess Louise of the Netherlands married Sweden’s crown prince, my great grandfather’s uncle, Carl. Nine years later, he became King Carl XV, and Louise became Queen Lovisa of Sweden and Norway. Today, her portrait hangs in the Bernadotte Gallery here at the Royal palace, reminding me every time I pass it of the link between our Houses.
Your Majesty, you and I are both men of the navy. This year marks the 500 year anniversary of the Swedish navy. Yours has an even longer history. As coastal nations, both our countries have a special relationship with the sea and maritime environments:
Ports and shipping laid the foundations for our bilateral relations.
Earlier today, we visited the Vasa ship, whose master shipbuilder came from the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the Swedes took over the construction of the ship – we all know what happened after that…
And, still today, through well-known maritime terms, Dutch is present in the Swedish language with words like kajuta, durk, reling, babord and styrbord.
Through the centuries, Dutch soldiers, industrialists, merchants and craftsmen have made important contributions to Sweden. During this state visit, we will pay homage to them. For example, we will visit the city of Gothenburg, whose construction was made possible by Dutch architects.
But, just as importantly, we will also look to the future. We will discuss how to achieve a greener and more sustainable future together, and how to develop our 400-year old cooperation into a future and modern partnership.
We are gathered this evening here in the Gallery of Karl XI. In the further end of this room, known as the Peace Cabinet, you can see a phrase in Latin painted in the ceiling: Praestat pax mille triumphis – Peace is better than a thousand victories.
This state visit takes place at a time when the world is facing exceptional challenges. A time that reminds us, that peace cannot be taken for granted.
Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is causing immense human suffering, and has forced us to re-think the way we defend peace and security in Europe. Its consequences are global, including severe impacts on food and energy security.
In times like these, close friendships and strong partnerships are more important than ever.
Your Majesties: This state visit manifests the close bond between our countries, and lays the ground for further cooperation and progress. Once again, it is my great joy to extend to you a very warm welcome to Sweden.
To Your Majesties,
to the continued friendship between our two Houses,
and to the happiness and prosperity of the people of the Kingdom of the Netherlands,
I now propose a toast!