Texas becomes extremely important state for the Netherlands

On the same day of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the first and only British monarch to step foot on Texas soil, another European queen visited the Lone Star State.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

On the same day of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the first and only British monarch to step foot on Texas soil, another European queen visited the Lone Star State: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.

“Texas is an extremely important state” to the Netherlands, Queen Máxima told Gov. Greg Abbott during a meeting held at the governor’s mansion on Thursday, adding, “there are so many Texans with Dutch roots.”

Her trip to Texas was part of a four-day visit to the U.S. She arrived at Fort Hood, where Dutch pilots have trained for 26 years and where members of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and Royal Netherlands Army are still stationed.

She noted that “Texas is the number one exporter to the EU” and the corporations that rely on commerce between the ports of Houston and Rotterdam is “ever increasing.”

Texas has a long history with the Netherlands. As a Republic, Texas entered into a treaty with the Netherlands in 1840, the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, which is preserved in the Texas State Archives – a treaty she and the governor viewed during her visit.

"The strong, historic economic ties between Texans and the Dutch have created hundreds of thousands of jobs for families across Texas since the first trade treaty was signed between our state and the Netherlands in the early 1800s,” Abbott said. “Today, the Netherlands and Texas continue to share many economic interests, from our booming energy sector, a growing biomedical industry, an increased investment in semiconductor manufacturing, and more. The special relationship between the State of Texas and the Netherlands has played a major role in making the modern Texas economic juggernaut."

Over 180 years later, in 2021, American and Dutch economic partnerships supported an estimated 955,000 American jobs of which 106,000 were based in Texas. This was a 24% increase from 2020, according to the Dutch Consulate General in Miami.

Texas exports more goods and services to the Netherlands than any other U.S. state. Austin and Houston “share similar ties with the Netherlands in the fields of mobility, resilience, startups, and technology,” the consulate says.

“The cities of Austin and Houston are concrete examples of the partnerships that exist with the Netherlands in the areas of cycling, energy transition, and water management. Dutch experts have shared their cycling expertise with Austin officials, as well as their flood management experience with Houston officials,’’ Dutch Ambassador André Haspels said in a statement.

According to the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston alone engaged in nearly $10 billion worth of trade with the Netherlands in 2020 in a year of COVID-related lockdowns.

While in Austin, Queen Maxima also met with Mayor Steve Adler, as well as several business leaders, to discuss a range of issues related to energy, semiconductors, technology, health sciences, and international trade.

Adler issued a proclamation noting the 10-year anniversary of the city’s commitment to incorporating key principles of Dutch bikeway network design. “Dutch mobility experts have shared their cycling expertise with representatives from Austin for years,” the consulate says.

In 2016, Adler visited the Netherlands on a “Smart City” innovation exchange. He did so after a 2012 ThinkBike workshop with Dutch experts who helped inform Austin’s Bicycle Plan. While in Austin, the queen and Adler rode Gazelle e-bikes along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail from Austin City Hall to the Central Library.

She visited the library, which is partially modeled after Amsterdam’s Public Library branches Oosterdokseiland and De Nieuwe Bibliotheek in Almere.

“When Austin was preparing to build its new Central Library, (Austin Public Library) staff visited libraries around the world – including in the Netherlands – to draw inspiration for the library of tomorrow," Roosevelt Weeks, director of the Austin Public Library, said in a statement. "It was an honor to show Her Majesty Queen Máxima our Central Library and highlight the ways that Dutch libraries inspired Austin to create a facility that is world-class, yet still uniquely Austin.”

At one point in her discussion with Abbott, she said the Netherlands was looking to create the same standards between Rotterdam and Houston related to carbon capture, water capture and “exchange views” with officials about flood control strategies.