The President of Chile is on a three day state visit of the Netherlands.
Michele Bachelet arrived Monday morning, and was welcomed by Dutch Queen Beatrix.
After the welcoming ceremony, which was followed by a luncheon, Bachelet went to the University of Leiden, where the Queen and Crown Princess Maxima accompanied her.
There, Bachelet was given the Willem of Orange Medal by the Rector Magnificus of the University. The medal is given to those of high national or international importance.
Later in the evening, the Chilean President was given a state banquet at the Noordeinde Palace in the Hague. Queen Beatrix’s sister, Princess Margriet was in attendance.
During that banquet, the Queen gave a speech in regards to Bachelet’s efforts as President.
“Your visit underscores the growing number of contacts between our two countries. These take place in a wide variety of fields, ranging from cooperation in the area of ports and fisheries, to exchanges of knowledge between academics and researchers. A striking example is the agreements that have recently been signed between a number of Chilean and Dutch universities.
“In visiting several member states of the European Union, you are expressing the importance Chile attaches to strengthening its ties with our continent. For our part, we are equally eager to establish closer links. The Association Agreement your country has concluded with the EU offers numerous opportunities for such contacts. The strong expansion in trade relations seems to anticipate these developments. Moreover, Chile has made an interesting proposal to the EU concerning cooperation in developing alternative, sustainable energy sources.
“Madam President, in recent years we have seen how the people of Chile have managed to place their country’s reborn democracy above their own painful experiences in the past. We have the greatest admiration for this attitude, and for your own efforts to help Chile come to terms with its human rights legacy.”
The purpose of Bachelet’s visit is to have Chile join the International Criminal Court in the Hague. A recent change to the country’s constitution has recognized the court’s jurisdiction.
President Bachelet’s visit will end Wednesday, where she will continue on to France.