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King and Queen officially opened Netherlands pavilion -- Royal couple welcomed by UAE

Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima attended the Netherlands’ national day at Expo 2020 Dubai on November 3rd, where they officially opened the Netherlands Pavilion. They were accompanied by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, mr. Tom de Bruijn.

When they arrived, they were welcomed by H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo. After the King and Queen had opened the pavilion by cutting an orange ribbon, they and the minister met commissioner general and consul general Carel Richter.

In his speech, the Minister mentioned that the Netherlands and UAE have developed an outstanding relationship in the past 50 years and he was confident that these relationships would be strengthened even further at Expo. The Netherlands’ national day at Expo was on the same day as the official Flag day of the UAE, commissioner-general Carel Richter highlighted in his welcoming speech. He also said: ‘With a growing world population, we need to meet the growing demands for water, energy and food in a more sustainable way. This pavilion is all about finding new innovative, sustainable solutions for the challenges we face.’

At the business lounge, architect Michiel Raaphorst (V8 Architects) gave a presentation of the design and building of the pavilion. ‘This pavilion is the exhibition itself, it is the embodiment of the central theme uniting water, energy and food. It narrates the fusion between the power of nature and technological innovations.’ ,. Inside the building, the Sunglacier, an invention by Ap Verheggen, harvests water out of the sky, on average 1200 liters per day. More than 9000 plants grow inside the pavilion. The energy is delivered by the sun panels of Marjan van Aubel. Building materials will be reused or recycled after Expo, in order to be as sustainable as possible

The King and Queen met several sponsors and partners of the pavilion, before they were introduced to the art programme of the pavilion by Monique Ruhe. Outside Theo Jansen gave a performance with his ‘strandbeasts’, objects of tubes and cloth that can ‘walk’ just by letting them free in the wind. Later on, Berndnaut Smilde made the royal couple and its guests part of his work of art ‘wolken’, or real clouds.

Opening ceremony at Al Wasl plaza

Picture: @Tonyc.su

The same day the King and Queen attended the official opening ceremony at the Al Wasl Plaza. After the flag raising and playing of the national anthems, king Willem-Alexander offered his compliments to the people of UAE and the organisation of Expo and wished the country strength and honor in the future for all the 10 million people living in the VAE. The end of the ceremony was highlighted by a performance of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and female singer Hind Laroussi, a Dutch singer who lives in Dubai.

The King and Queen then invited the delegation of the UAE to the Netherlands pavilion. They were shown the visitor’s experience. The experience has proven to be a true success: the pavilion welcomes daily 5000 visitors. After the tour the royal delegations paid a visit to UAE pavilion, where the King and Queen signed the Book of Honou

Visit of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The Royal couple also met His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the pavilion. During the meeting, the King and the Crown Prince discussed about strengthening bilateral relations between the nations.

Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Hamdan expressed his appreciation for the UAE’s strong ties with the Netherlands. “I am proud of the friendly relations that unite the two countries, and of this large Dutch delegation present at the most important international exhibition in the heart of Dubai,” he said.

They also explored new avenues to enhance trade and share expertise for the benefit of the people of the two nations. The Crown Prince also experienced the pavilion’s unique journey themed on sustainability – uniting water, energy and food. He was shown the interior of the gigantic 18m green cone where oyster mushrooms are grown and also drank the pure water that is harvested from the desert air using the Dutch SunGlacier technology.

Earlier on the day, the King and Queen visited Pure Harvest. This high tech green house in the desert of Abu Dhabi is built and designed with support from companies from the Netherlands. It is an example of how water, energy and food are intertwined and. On the evening of celebrating its 50 year relationship with the UAE, the Netherlands is showing its commitment to delivering expertise in the areas of Water, Energy, and Food security.

The National Day officially ended with a photo of the King and Queen with more than 50 delegates of a trade mission from the Netherlands. The trade mission is focusing on sustainable urban development and is part of a broader six-month programme in the Netherlands Pavilion during Expo 2020 Dubai. It includes a number of weeks centered around specific themes, during which Dutch businesses and other organisations in the highlighted sectors can grow their networks and do business with partners in the Gulf region and beyond. Themes include climate, healthcare, food security and water.

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