President Halimah Yacob to make state visit to the Netherlands

President Halimah Yacob will visit four cities in the Netherlands, including the capital Amsterdam, and its seat of government in The Hague.
President Halimah Yacob will visit four cities in the Netherlands, including the capital Amsterdam, and its seat of government in The Hague.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - President Halimah Yacob will arrive in the Netherlands on Tuesday (Nov 20) 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 in 2017.

Madam Halimah will visit four cities in the Netherlands, including the 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 on Monday (Nov 19), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the visit was at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander.

Madam Halimah will be given a ceremonial welcome on Wednesday morning by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in Amsterdam. That evening, she will be hosted to a state banquet at the Royal Palace.

She will also have a private tea session with Mr Pieter Winsemius and his sister Ankie, 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.

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 focusing 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 and 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 exercise the function of the Office of the President in Madam Halimah's absence.