President Halimah on five-day state visit to Netherlands

It is Madam Halimah's second state visit since she became President last year.
It is Madam Halimah's second state visit since she became President last year.PHOTO: ST FILE

President Halimah Yacob arrives in the Netherlands today for a five-day state visit, the first by a Singapore head of state to the country.

It is Madam Halimah's second state visit, after Brunei, since she became President last year.

The President will visit four cities in the Netherlands, including capital Amsterdam and its seat of government in The Hague. She will also travel to the port city of Rotterdam and Eindhoven, where technology giant Philips was founded.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the visit was at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander.

Madam Halimah will be ceremonially welcomed tomorrow morning by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in Amsterdam. In the evening, she will be hosted to a state banquet at the Royal Palace.

She will also have a private tea session with Professor Pieter Winsemius and Ms Ankie Winsemius, the children of the late Dutch economist Albert Winsemius, who was Singapore's chief economic adviser between 1961 and 1984. There are now more than 1,600 Dutch companies in Singapore, ranging from start-ups to multinational firms.

During her visit to The Hague, Madam Halimah will meet Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the leaders of both chambers of the Dutch Parliament: President of the Senate Ankie Broekers-Knol and Speaker of the House of Representatives Khadija Arib.

 
  • >1,600

  • Number of Dutch companies in Singapore, ranging from start-ups to multinational firms.

That day, she will also visit a branch campus of the Wageningen University and Research for briefings on sustainable farming, innovative horticulture and food safety.

She will visit Deltares as well, an independent institute in Delft that focuses on applied research in water and the subsurface.

In Rotterdam, Madam Halimah will be hosted to lunch by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, and attend a business forum with Dutch and Singapore companies. In Eindhoven, she will meet researchers from Brainport Eindhoven - the innovation centre of the Netherlands - as well as the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Madam Halimah will be accompanied by her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee. Others in her delegation include Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs as well as Trade and Industry Tan Wu Meng, MPs Alex Yam, Vikram Nair and Cheryl Chan, as well as officials from the President's Office, MFA, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, and the Economic Development Board.

Two business delegations, led by the Singapore Business Federation and Enterprise Singapore, will also visit the Netherlands in conjunction with the state visit.

Mr J.Y. Pillay, who chairs the Council of Presidential Advisers, will be Acting President while Madam Halimah is away.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2018, with the headline 'President Halimah on five-day state visit to Netherlands'. Print Edition | Subscribe