King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.
PHILIPSBURG--King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, will pay a visit to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from Friday, January 27 to Thursday, February 9.
The King, Queen and Princess will visit Bonaire, Aruba and Curaçao before continuing to St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba. The visit is intended to introduce Princess Catharina-Amalia to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
The islands have put together programmes covering such topics as culture, nature, colonial history, sports and defence operations, including meetings with island residents. The royal party will be accompanied by State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen.
The King, Queen and Princess will be welcomed at Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten by St. Maarten’s Governor Ajamu Baly and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on February 6.
The first day of the visit will focus on the country’s reconstruction following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The royal party will view the airport, which is still being rebuilt.
The King, Queen and Princess will assist in a disaster exercise during a visit to the emergency and disaster response services. They will then visit St. Maarten Medical Centre, which plays a key role in the region and treats many patients from St. Eustatius and Saba. They will speak to patients and will be updated on the hospital’s expansion. They will then have lunch with the cabinet.
In the afternoon the royal party will be taken on the Color Me SXM mural walk in Philipsburg. These murals are designed to brighten up Philipsburg, as many of the town’s buildings are still vacant or damaged following Hurricane Irma.
The day will conclude with lively displays of St. Maarten’s culture along a walking route and a concert on Boardwalk Boulevard in Philipsburg.
The King, Queen and Princess will visit Fort Amsterdam on the morning of February 7. Here they will go on a birding excursion in search of the brown pelican, the island’s national bird. They will also learn about the fort’s history.
The royals will then meet members of St Maarten’s parliament and youth parliament. At the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation residential home for older people and people with a disability, the royal party will learn more about the daytime activities organised for residents. Next, they will visit a science fair, where primary and secondary school pupils/students will present their solutions for reducing plastic waste on the island.
In the afternoon the King, Queen and Princess will visit Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), which disburses World Bank funds via a Trust Fund to projects aimed at rebuilding St Maarten after Hurricane Irma.
The party will speak with representatives of civil society organisations about their projects and with young people about their work at various organisations. They will then visit a school garden project where they will talk to pupils about their work in the garden and the importance of gardening for their mental health.
In Emilio Wilson Park schoolchildren will talk about their dreams for the future of St. Maarten and plant yellow sage, the island’s national flower. Following this, the King, Queen and Princess will visit St. Peters Hill, where they will learn about nature conservation in St. Maarten. This hill borders on the French part of the island.
The afternoon will conclude with a youth baseball tournament.
In the evening the royal party will attend a reception hosted by the governor.