His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Maxima and her Royal Highness Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, will pay a visit to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from January 27th to Thursday February 9th 2023.
The Royal delegation will visit Bonaire, Aruba and Curaçao before continuing on to St Maarten, St Eustatius and Saba. The visit is intended to introduce the Princess of Orange to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The islands have put together a programme covering such topics as culture, nature, colonial history, sports and defence operations, and will include meetings with island residents. The royal party will be accompanied by State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen.
The King and Queen and the Princess of Orange will be welcomed at Princess Juliana International Airport by the Governor of St Maarten Ajamu Baly and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. 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 currently still being rebuilt. During a visit to the emergency and disaster response services, the King and Queen and the Princess of Orange will assist in a disaster exercise. They will then visit the St Maarten Medical Center. This hospital plays a key role in the region and also treats many patients from St Eustatius and Saba. The King, Queen and Princess will speak to patients and will be updated on the expansion of the hospital. 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 the hurricane. The day will conclude with lively displays of St Maarten’s culture along a walking route and a concert on the Boardwalk in Philipsburg.
In the morning the King and Queen and the Princess of Orange will visit Fort Amsterdam. While there, 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. They will then meet members of St Maarten’s parliament and youth parliament. At the White and Yellow Cross 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 children will present their solutions for reducing plastic waste on the island.
In the afternoon the King and Queen and the Princess of Orange will visit Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR). R4CR disburses World Bank funds to projects aimed at rebuilding St Maarten after hurricane Irma via a Trust Fund. 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 and Queen and the Princess of Orange 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 delegation will attend a reception hosted by the governor.