Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima in Istanbul

Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima in Istanbul

Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima are in Istanbul this weekend. The visit is part of the celebrations marking 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey.

The Dutch Royal couple stepped on a bicycle in the middle of Istanbul and they made short ride through İstiklal Caddesi, the busiest shopping street of Istanbul, to encourage the use of bicycles in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

However the Dutch royals were mostly viewed with amazement. “Turkey and the Netherlands have much in common. Biking is not quite popular in Istanbul, therefore we want to change that,” said General Consul Onno Kervers.

The city of Istanbul has established new bicycle routes in order to encourage more people to use this environmentally friendly mode of transport.

The visit of the royal couple to Istanbul closed the celebration of 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. The Prince and Máxima both gave a speech in the afternoon. Willem-Alexander spoke of the Netherlands as a country of innovation. Princess Máxima attended a meeting of the so-called “Great Game Business Challenge” with Turkish and Dutch students who joined a contest for the best business plan.

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans accompanied the Dutch royal couple in Istanbul. The visit is also intended to promote cooperation in the fields of science, culture and trade. Also Prime Minister Rutte traveled this week to Turkey along with a trade delegation.

Willem-Alexander and Máxima attended a live concert by the Dutch Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Haliç Centre Concert Hall in Istanbul. The event was followed by a reception celebrating the end of the anniversary year where also the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his wife were present.

Turkey and the Netherlands extensively discussed in the past year about the 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Turkey President Gül made a state visit to the Netherlands in April and Queen Beatrix visited Ankara and Istanbul in June.

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