The familiar strains of Majulah Singapura could be heard in the winter cold of Berlin yesterday, on the lawns of the historic Schloss Bellevue, where a ceremonial welcome was held for President Halimah Yacob.
Madam Halimah was meeting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at his official residence on the second day of her five-day state visit to Germany, the first by a Singapore head of state.
Madam Halimah and her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, were welcomed at the residence by Dr Steinmeier and his wife Elke Budenbender.
The two heads of state then inspected a military guard of honour contingent before interacting with students from Walther-Rathenau Gymnasium, a German high school in Berlin.
During their bilateral meeting, both presidents reaffirmed the excellent ties and longstanding friendship between the two countries, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.
They also discussed common challenges and scope for more bilateral collaboration in the areas of education as well as research and development.
Both leaders also had a wide-ranging discussion on international and regional developments.
After the meeting, Madam Halimah and Mr Mohamed laid a wreath at the foot of the Neue Wache war memorial to honour the victims of war and dictatorship.
The memorial was built in the early 19th century as a tribute to fallen soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars. It also doubled as a guardhouse for royal troops until the end of the German monarchy in 1918.
Earlier in the day, Madam Halimah met German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Federal Chancellery.
They reviewed the excellent and multifaceted cooperation enjoyed by both countries in many areas, including education, the economy, defence and culture, MFA said.
They also welcomed the entry into force of the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which will further deepen the strong economic links between Singapore and Germany, the ministry said.
Madam Halimah also met Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Muller, and they took a stroll through the iconic Brandenburg Gate. They welcomed the growing links between Singapore and Berlin, and agreed to continue working closely to forge closer ties.
Madam Halimah was due to be hosted to a state banquet by Dr Steinmeier yesterday evening.
Today, she will attend a networking tea with Singapore companies in Germany before flying to Frankfurt. She will visit German companies in Frankfurt and Heidelberg, and meet a group of overseas Singaporeans and students from the Institute of Technical Education.