Short statement by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander after his talk with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the beginning of the State visit to Portugal, Lisbon, 10 October 2017

My wife and I have been looking forward to this State visit to Portugal. Thank you, Mr President, for your kind invitation and warm welcome.

Our visit gives us the opportunity to see more of this exceptional country with which the Netherlands feels such a close bond. We are natural allies, ligados por mar. Portugal is a proud country with a remarkable history. You were the first to spin a world wide web across the oceans! It was Portuguese seafarers who made global maritime trade possible. Others – including the Dutch – followed in your wake.

We share the same views on many issues. For over 30 years, Portugal has been a crucial partner within the European Union. You also play a major role as a NATO ally. At a time when, in many countries, doubts are being raised about the value of international cooperation, Portugal is championing openness, inclusiveness and partnership. The Netherlands stands side-by-side with you. In Europe, in NATO and in the United Nations.

We realise that Portugal has known difficult times, both past and present. The necessary reforms have impacted greatly on the lives of the Portuguese people. Such measures hurt, but they also create scope for new development. We look forward to hearing how the Portuguese themselves feel about this, for example this afternoon in Mouraria and tomorrow, when we talk to students at the University.

There is much we can learn from the Portuguese. We admire your achievements in sustainable energy, environmental technology and aeronautics. Working together more closely will make both our countries stronger. Opportunities for new partnerships are being explored by the business and research representatives taking part in an economic mission accompanying this visit.

Portugal possesses the virtue of modesty. But you have every reason to radiate self-confidence. Portugal has given the Netherlands, Europe and the world a great deal of beauty and value. Your history has made its mark on ours. Your skills help us to move forward. Your culture touches our soul.

Mr President, you have given us an especially warm welcome. This is only the start of our visit, but I would already like to offer our thanks. Muito obrigado!