Queen Beatrix speaks out for tolerance

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"In our country we make every effort to promote tolerance," Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has said at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin, the official residence of Germany's President Christian Wulff, on Tuesday.

Addressing the president, Queen Beatrix continued by saying that "you yourself stressed the importance of tolerance on the 20th anniversary of Germany's unification." This was an obvious reference by the Dutch monarch to President Wulff's remark that Islam has become part of German society.

Continuing their state visit on Wednesday, Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Máxima will stay in Berlin, visiting several areas of the German capital. It is the first state visit by the Dutch monarch since capitalist West Germany and the communist German Democratic Republic were unified in 1989. The Netherlands' ruling House of Orange has close family ties with Germany; both the queen's late father Prince Bernhard and her late husband Prince Claus were German.

Germany is the Netherlands' main trade partner, with 23 percent of Dutch exports going across the eastern border, and 20 percent of Dutch imports originating from Germany, according to 2009 figures.

At a meeting on Tuesday evening between German business leaders and Queen Beatrix, the CEO of energy giant RWE, Juergen Grossman, complained about the amount of environmental regulation in the Netherlands, which is making it difficult for German companies to invest in the country. RWE is currently building a coal-fired electric power station in the northern Dutch province of Groningen.


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