Friday saw Queen Beatrix, along with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, open a satellite version of Russia’s famed Hermitage museum in Amsterdam.
The inauguration was part of Medvedev’s official visit to the Netherlands. It also celebrates the relations between the two countries. In 1816, the future King Willem II married Anna Pavlovna, the daughter of Russian Tsar Paul I. Even Peter the Great studied shipbuilding in Amsterdam in 1697, and modeled his capital, St. Petersburg after Amsterdam.
Upon the inauguration, the President received Queen Beatrix, her son and heir Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, and his wife Crown Princess Maxima. Maxima raised eyebrows with fashion watchers by wearing a fuzzy purple jacket and heavy purple eye make-up. One publication said she looked like Grover, the Sesame Street character.
After signing guestbooks, the royals took a tour of the Dutch branch of the Hermitage, with Medvedev as the guide. The museum is located in Amstelhof on the banks of the Amstel river. It is 107,000 square feet in size, and once served as a nursing home in the 17th century.
Later on, Queen Beatrix attended a ballet with Medvedev by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgski.
About 1,800 pieces of art are on display here, compared to the over 3 million at the original Hermitage. All the artwork is on loan from St. Petersburg.
The current exhibit is about Russia’s tsars, showing the lavishness of the Russian court. It is open until January 31st 2010.
There are similar Hermitage satellites in London and in Las Vegas.
The royals of Denmark visited the Danish territory of Greenland this weekend. Their visit was for the celebrations for Greenland’s transfer to an autonomous government.
Last November, Greenlanders voted in a referendum to take further steps towards total independence from Denmark.
Crown Princess Mary arrived on the island first, on Friday June 19th. She came to the capital of Nuuk as part of her Mary Foundation duties. The Princess attended a meeting with the Department of the Family, and another one at the Department of Culture, Education, Research and Church. Saturday, she visited the Nuuk Crisis Center.
Later in the day, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik arrived in Nuuk. But their visit didn’t get started until Saturday, when they toured Ilimmarfik, the University of Greenland. There, the reading of the Prince Consort’s poetry took place, which is from his collection, “Blue Marks on the Soul.” Afterward, there was a reception.
At around 3pm local time, Prince Henrik went to the school of Maelkebotten. They were greeted by schoolchildren who sang songs in Greenlandic. Henrik was also awarded the Lion’s Prize, which is a prize awarded to who promote the living conditions of Danish citizens, even those in Greenland.
Also happening on Saturday was Crown Prince Frederik’s arrival. He joined his wife in touring Maelkebotten and an orphanage in Qoornoq. Frederik was in Greenland less than month ago, when he and the royal heirs of Norway and Sweden went on a expedition to the island to see firsthand the effects of global warming.
“It was a very rewarding experience. The Greenlandic people are very curious, positive and creative. I love this country and I would come here many times yet,” said the Crown Prince.
The next day, Sunday June 21st, was the official handover of the new law of self-government to Jozef Motzfeldt, head of Greenland’s parliament. Queen Margrethe personally gave the Home Rule Act to Motzfeldt as a symbol of the handover.
“It’s a great moment for me to present autonomy law for you and thus to the people of Greenland,” said the Queen, who was dressed in Greenlandic national costume.
Even the Danish Prime Miniser, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, was in attendance for the event.
“Today is a responsibility today. We build on the premise that people take responsibility for his own country. It is now up to Greenland to build and build out,” he said, also dressed in Greenlandic national costume.
The day was celebrated with a gun salute, hoisting of Greenland’s flag, choirs singing and a church service at Our Savior Church.
Greenland now has control on their local matters, such as government, justice and police. However, Denmark still has a final say on foreign policy and defense.
Frederik and Mary will depart from Greenland Monday morning, but Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik will stay in the country until Wednesday.