Visits and receptions

Every year the King pays many visits, both in the Netherlands and other countries: working visits and official and state visits. He also receives Dutch dignitaries, including members of the government, and distinguished foreign guests, including heads of state and government.

The King’s Office prepares visits and receptions and briefs the King with information for the meetings. The Royal Household and the Government Information Service are also involved in organising visits.

Working visits

The King also makes working visits, accompanied by members of the government. This gives ministers and state secretaries an opportunity to show how their policies are working  in practice.

Once or twice a year the King visits a region of the Netherlands, calling at several places in one day, and learning about the problems, opportunities and potential of the region in question.

Working visit King Willem-Alexander
King Willem-Alexander on a working visit to a school together with the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media, Arie Slob.

State visits

State visits are a way of illustrating the good relations that exist between two countries. Since a state visit is paid by the head of state of one country to the head of state of another, only King Willem-Alexander can pay a state visit on behalf of the Netherlands. He may of course be accompanied by Queen Máxima. 

The King makes a state visit as the highest representative of the Netherlands. Such a visit can deepen existing good relations between the two countries involved, enhance mutual understanding and explore the scope for further cooperation. A state visit is thus usually paralleled by a trade mission to the same country.

Traditionally, a head of state pays only one state visit to each country during his/her period as monarch.

State visit of the President of Cabo Verde
Image: ©ANP / Robin Utrecht
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima officially welcome the President of Cabo Verde and his wife to the Netherlands on Dam Square at the start of their state visit.

Official visits

In addition to state visits, the King also pays official visits to other countries. Heads of government who are not heads of state may pay official visits, which generally involve less pomp and ceremony than a state visit. An official visit affords an opportunity to focus on a specific occasion, such as an anniversary or a commemoration, or a specific sector.