Netherlands royal couple view Rembrandts, boost trade on France visit
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The Netherlands' King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima started a two-day visit to France on Thursday. They were to visit the Louvre museum to view two Rembrandt's jointly bought by the two countries and dine at the Elysée but the main aim of the was to boost trade.
Four or five contracts were expected to be signed when Willem-Alexander, who succeeded his mother Beatrix in 2013 at the age of 46, visited Paris's new Seineside fashion and design hub for a meeting between France's Medef employers' association and its Dutch equivalent on innovation.
Bosses of about 15 companies, including Heineken, Rabobank, Philips and Unilever, were part of the delegation and a "Franco-Dutch initiative" was to be launched to encourage economic cooperation.
The king was also to visit Paris's start-up centre Numa, where the possibility of a "French tech hub" in Amsterdam was to be discussed.
The royal couple were to visit the Louvre to view Rembrandt's portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, jointly purchased by France and the Netherlands for 160 million euros and attend an official dinner at the Elysée presidential palace on Thursday evening.
French officials said the visit came at a time of intensification of political dialogue between the two countries, with Holland currently holding the circulating presidency of the European Union.
French President François Hollande visited the Netherlands in January 2014 and Dutch Prime Minister Marc Rutte visiting France in June 2015 and February this year.