President and Sabina Higgins welcomed King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands to Áras an Uachtaráin.
The King and Queen were greeted by the President and Sabina, after which the national anthems of both countries were played. The King then inspected a special Guard of Honour. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima then signed the Distinguished Visitors Book at Áras an Uachtaráin.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima also planted an alder tree in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin, as visiting Heads of State are usually invited to plant a tree at Áras an Uachtaráin.
The tradition of planting ceremonial trees in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin began in September 1853, when Queen Victoria planted the first of three trees. The tradition was continued after Ireland's independence, and the first tree planted by a President of Ireland was planted in 1939 by President Douglas Hyde. Since then all Presidents of Ireland have planted ceremonial trees and visiting Heads of State have also been asked to plant trees.
The royal couple are accompanied by representatives from the Dutch government and senior business figures, and their programme in Ireland highlights the historic and contemporary links between the two countries, and aim to promote bilateral trade.