Royal Visit

AWI hosts the King and Queen of the Netherlands

Experts from the Netherlands and the State of Bremen intensify their cooperation on coastal, marine and polar research
[04. March 2019] 

On the evening of 6 March 2019, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands will visit the Alfred Wegener Institute as part of their tour of the State of Bremen. Dutch and German researchers will report to the royal couple on their collaborations regarding climate change, biodiversity and nature conservation, sign a joint declaration, and subsequently gather for a festive dinner.

A dinner at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) will round out the royal couple’s visit to the State of Bremen. “We are delighted that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands are interested in the polar and marine research conducted in the State of Bremen,” says AWI Director Antje Boetius. Bremen’s Mayor, Carsten Sieling, and his wife Alexia Sieling will accompany the royal couple for the duration of their visit to Bremen, which will also involve a business delegation led by the Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag. In Bremen, key topics will be aerospace and the historical ties between the two countries. In Bremerhaven, the first stop on the agenda is the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems, where the focus will be on offshore wind energy, before turning to polar and marine research.

In turn, at the Alfred Wegener Institute the focus will shift to Dutch-German scientific collaboration: in the afternoon, 50 researchers from Utrecht, the isle of Texel, Groningen and Amsterdam, and from Bremen, Potsdam and Bremerhaven, will meet. “As coastal lands and important international actors in marine research, both countries face the significant challenges posed by climate change – for the research community, and for society as a whole,” says Antje Boetius. “As such, sea-level rise, the warming and acidification of the ocean, and the impacts of the change on marine organisms are major concerns,” the AWI Director adds. “Working together, we can especially contribute to understanding the role of the ocean and the polar regions for the Earth and human life.”

At a symposium, the experts will discuss changes in the Arctic and Antarctic, our coasts, the global carbon cycle, and the climate, and will plan future collaborations. The participating researchers hail from the Royal Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the University of Utrecht, and the Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), as well as the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, and the Alfred Wegener Institute. That evening, they will sign a joint declaration on research collaboration, with the royal couple in attendance.

“During the symposium, we want to seize the opportunity to think ‘outside the box,’ says AWI bio-geologist Jelle Bijma. Dutch by birth, Bijma has organised the symposium, which he hopes will be the source of exciting discussions: “For example, we want to identify what future changes we can expect to see in the Earth system. What will climate change mean for marine ecosystems, how quickly will the sea level rise, and what parts of the climate system will be irrevocably lost if global warming continues unchecked, so that global temperatures rise by 4 to 6°C by the end of the century? And, in contrast, which functions can we preserve if we achieve the 2°C target, or even limit the rise to just 1.5 °C?” He and his colleagues will present the outcomes of the workshop to the royal couple before they all join in the festive dinner.

From 10 pm on 6 March, you can find the latest photos at:

For a detailed agenda of the royal visit, please consult the following press release from the Royal House of the Netherlands (German language):



Jelle Bijma


Folke Mehrtens


AWI Pressemeldungen als RSS abonieren

Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.