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Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima get royal treatment in Ottawa

05/27/2015 10:43 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT
The King and Queen of the Netherlands are in Ottawa Wednesday as part of their three-day visit to Canada.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima are currently visiting Parliament Hill, where they are touring the Library of Parliament and the Senate chamber.

The royals kicked off the day with a welcome ceremony at Rideau Hall, hosted by Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife, Sharon. The couple arrived on a horse-drawn carriage guided by two Mounties.

The Dutch King thanked Canada for its hospitality, noting his last visit to Ottawa was nearly 35 years ago, in 1981. 

"We've come here this time because we're going to celebrate the very good relations between Canada and the Netherlands," he said Wednesday morning.

"We are here to honour all those Canadians that helped liberate the Netherlands 70 years ago from oppression, from dictatorship and gave us back our liberty, freedom and justice." 

Later this afternoon, the Dutch royal couple will attend an afternoon wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial with Erin O'Toole, the minister of veteran affairs.

According to the Dutch embassy, the two will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper later Wednesday afternoon as well as with the "Dutch Caucus," the group of 20 or so MPs who have strong ties to the Netherlands. 

They will return to Rideau Hall tonight for a state banquet. CBCNews.ca will be carrying highlights of their visit live throughout the day.

Dutch visit marks 70 years since VE-Day

The trip coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Netherlands' liberation. Canada's contribution to the liberation is a running theme throughout the royal's visit. Dutch-Canadian ties have remained strong since VE-Day in 1945.

Prime Minister Harper travelled to the Netherlands earlier in May to mark the anniversary.

He spoke at a VE-Day ceremony held at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery, near Arnhem. The cemetery is home to the graves of 1,350 Canadian soldiers.

"Canadians will never forget the welcome our troops received in this country as the war ended," said Harper during the May 4 ceremony.

The King and Queen's visit continues until Friday. They will be visiting Toronto and Waterloo, where they will present a scholarship program for Canadian students hoping to study in the Netherlands.

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