The Netherlands and Indonesia's wide-ranging relationship is getting stronger as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will pay a state visit between March 10 and 13, when both nations will cement their cooperation in various fields. The royal couple's state visit was at the invitation of President Joko Widodo, the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta revealed in a press statement that was made available to ANTARA Monday.
The visit that affirms the close and wide-ranging relationship of the two countries will be geared towards cooperation and focused on the economy, nature conservation, culture, science, and many areas of shared history between the two nations.
During their four-day state visit, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima would be joined by Foreign Minister Stef Blok and four other ministers who would head a broad parallel trade mission.
The other ministers are Foreign Trade and Development Minister Sigrid Kaag, Infrastructure and Water Management Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Medical Care and Sports Minister Bruno Bruins, and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Minister Carola Schouten.
The four ministers would head a broad parallel trade mission to Indonesia to capitalise on the potential for economic partnership in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, coastal protection and the maritime industry, and circular economy.
Day 1 of the state visit, begins with a visit to the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta to honor the dead, especially those who fell during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949).
Later, the King and Queen would head to Bogor, West Java, to attend an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace where President Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo would receive them.
This will be followed by a meeting of the Indonesian and Dutch delegations. Thereafter, President Widodo will host a lunch, preceded by a joint press statement.
In the afternoon, the King and Queen would continue their program by laying a wreath at Menteng Pulo Cemetery, the resting place of almost 4,300 Dutch soldiers who died during the Second World War and the Indonesian War of Independence.
They will then continue on to the Pipiltin Cocoa chocolate factory, which works with farmers from various regions in Indonesia. The farmers are trained in sustainable cocoa production methods and ways of improving the quality of their products.
In the evening, the royal couple will meet the members of the trade mission and will be present at the signing of various partnership agreements between Indonesian and Dutch businesses.
Later, they will visit a photo exhibition at the Erasmus Huis entitled "Innovation", part of a competition for young Indonesian photographers. The day will end with a reception for the Dutch community.
On Day 2, March 11, the royal couple would kick off the day by taking part in a discussion about the opportunities and challenges for Dutch businesses in Indonesia.
The delegation will then travel to Yogyakarta where they will be received by the Sultan of Yogyakarta in his palace Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat. After lunch at the palace, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit the 'connected Kampong'.
The so-called 'connected Kampong' is a neighborhood of the city where internet connections have enabled residents to collectively improve their living conditions and quality of life.
During their brief stay in Yogyakarta, the King and Queen are also scheduled to visit the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM) to strengthen collaboration between the Netherlands and Indonesia in scientific and academic fields.
The King and Queen will talk to students about the innovative academy, which promotes creative partnership in setting up digital startups.
In the evening, they will visit the temple complex of Prambanan, the largest Hindu Javanese temple complex in Indonesia, during which they would meet with religious leaders and listen to their efforts in promoting religious tolerance.
Thereafter, they will be given a tour of the temple complex, and attend part of a traditional Ramayana performance and a concert by the modern music group Rubah Di Selatan.
On Day 3, Thursday, March 12, the royal couple will depart for Central Kalimantan where they would focus their attention on nature conservation. During the visit, they would visit a research center in Sebangau National Park.
During their visit to the research centre, situated in the middle of a peat swamp forest, they would be given a tour of projects relating to water management and reforestation.
"These projects contribute to the preservation of the habitat of orangutans. After the tour the couple will speak to former loggers who are now involved in the sustainable management of the park," the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta revealed.
On Thursday afternoon, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will visit the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Centre where over 316 orphaned and displaced baby orangutans are looked after.
At the 'Forest School', the young orangutans are taught how to survive in the wild. Afterwards, the King and Queen will visit a Dayak model farm and talk to farmers about making the palm oil supply chain more sustainable.
"They will also speak with representatives of businesses. The day will close with a visit to a training session arranged by Pledge United, an experiential football programme designed to help Indonesian boys speak out against gender-based violence."
On Day 4, the final day of their state visit, on March 13, the royal couple will travel to Lake Toba in North Sumatra Province where the focus will be on ecotourism and water quality.
They will visit a traditional Batak village where they will hear about the history of the region and future developments. President Widodo has designated Lake Toba as a new location for sustainable tourism.
The King and Queen will then visit the Del Institute of Technology to learn about the development of sustainable tourism. The institute is committed to combating overfishing and the discharge of wastewater, in order to improve Lake Toba’s water quality.
Later, they will travel by boat to Samosir Island in the middle of the lake, where they will visit Silima Lombu ecovillage, built to show the local community the potential of sustainable tourism and small-scale organic farming.
The Dutch King and Queen's upcoming state visit is believed to strengthen the relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia ahead of the 75th anniversary of the latter's independence on August 17, 2020.
In terms of bilateral trade and investment, the Netherlands is important for Indonesia, considering the fact that it is the fifth-largest investor and a trading partner that has made Indonesia enjoy a surplus of trade.
This was revealed by the Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia, Lambert Grijns when he received eight Indonesian journalists who will visit the Netherlands from February 15 to 21, Indonesia's surplus of trade was recorded at EUR1,806 million (2019).
At the same time, with a total investment of US$2.6 billion, the Netherlands is also noted as the fifth biggest investor in Indonesia. It is behind Singapore ($6.5 billion), China ($4.7 billion), Japan ($4.3 billion), and Hong Kong ($2.9 billion).
In the tourism sector, the contribution of Dutch tourists to Indonesia's foreign tourist arrivals cannot also be regarded as "minor" because, last year alone, the Indonesian Embassy in Den Haag noted that there were at least 202,116 Dutch travelers who visited Indonesia.
During their 17.52-day length of stay in 2019, the Dutch tourists averagely spent around US$1,866.
Considering the shared history and stable relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia, they will have more promising relations in the future. And in that context, the Dutch King and Queen's state visit in March needs to be welcomed warmly. (ANTARA)