Twenty-five years ago, in July 1997, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited Poland. It was the first official state visit to the Rzeczpospolita by Dutch royalty. Together with her husband, Prince Claus, Queen Beatrix spent three days in Poland, journeying to Warsaw, Wrocław, and Gdańsk. In Poland’s capital, the royal pair was welcomed at the Presidential Palace by president Aleksander Kwaśniewski. That day, the Queen admired Warsaw’s city centre and the Royal Castle, and she paid her respects at three war memorials: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Warsaw Uprising Monument, and the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. Wrocław also provided several interesting sights, including the Town Hall, the university, and the Racławice Panorama: a monumental cycloramic painting showing the Battle of Racławice, one of the first battles of the Polish Kościuszko Uprising against Russia in 1794. In Gdańsk, finally, Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus made a tour of the old city, visited a number of museums, and met with the former Polish president Lech Wałęsa. Apparently, the Queen felt right at home in Gdańsk, as she knew much about the city’s close historic ties with the Netherlands.
Seventeen years later, in June 2014, Beatrix’s son King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Máxima, made Poland the destination of their first state visit as the new Dutch royal couple.
*I originally wrote this post for the social media outlets of the Dutch Embassy in Poland. This was post no. 35.