Royal visit to Saba is well covered in Dutch press today

This is part of the report of Jeroen Schmale, Algemeen Dagblad (AD)

Amalia is amazed by Saba

Saba, the finish of the island tour of the Royal Family, is a special municipality of the Netherlands. But then also really very special. With the highest point in the kingdom and the shortest runway in the whole world.

If at all possible, King Willem-Alexander himself will fly in the government aircraft PH-GOV. But on the last day of the Royal’s visit to the Caribbean part of the kingdom, the monarch sits in the back seat of the PJ-WIU – a small aircraft from the company Winair.

Welcome with the Saba Anthem at the airport

Larger aircraft than this type – for the connoisseurs: a DHC 6 Twin Otter – are not allowed and cannot land at the airport with the smallest runway in the world. The last island that the king, Queen Máxima and Princess Amalia visit on their tour of the Antilles is full of special stories. For example, over J.E. Yrausquin Airport, with its runway of only 400 meters in length.

“Oh yes, it almost goes wrong sometimes,” says 11-year-old Jason Colorado, one of the approximately 1900 residents of Saba, with a blissful nonchalance. “Especially with new pilots. They end up wrong above the runway, too far actually. And then they don’t have enough space to brake.” And then what? “Oh, then that pilot just makes a restart. We see that quite often here.”

For him, it is very common, but for the tourists, it is not. Almost all of them buy t-shirts with the imprint ‘I survived the Saba Landing’.

Click for viewing the video on the AD site

The Royal family did not a go-around this Thursday. However, before landing, they flew a tour around the beautiful island and the volcano Mount Scenery. Its summit is usually shrouded in fog patches at 887 meters above sea level, the highest point in the Netherlands. Indeed, forget the hills in the south of Limburg, this is the highest mountain in the kingdom.

After the landing, young Jason Colorado (11) and some of his classmates tell the Royals the story of ‘The road that could not be built’. Engineers at TU Delft knew for sure for almost a century: building a road on the flanks of Mount Scenery was impossible. The cliffs of the volcano were too deep, S-bends could not be constructed.

That was not in line with Saban Josephus Lambert Hassell’s (1906-1983) views. He won a lottery and spent his prize money on a written road construction course. With many other islanders, he built The Road, without the help of machines. Colorado: “My grandfather helped with the road, at the lowest part, on the beach.” Asked if he is proud when he’s walking there with his friends now. “Well, to be honest, I only heard that yesterday.”, Jason said.

In between some downpours, the Oranges drove across the island. Willem-Alexander and Máxima have been here many times before. Debutante Amalia is visibly amazed, like all newcomers to the island. How higher The Road takes you to the flanks of the Mount Scenery, the more the vegetation takes on the character of a tropical rainforest. But without mosquitoes, since the water runs directly down everywhere, they never buzz around on the higher parts.

Relaxed encounters with the residents

Talking to elderly Sabans at a community center in the village of Windwardside, Amalia says she finds the island so picturesque: the bays, the houses.

One of them grabs the princess’s arm and says that she will soon have to return to Saba incognito. The future queen’s safe answer is that she will be back anyway. Especially in this very special municipality.

… at the end of the visit …

The unveiling of the Saba display at the airport


Princess Amalia is still going through a very difficult time, because of the great threats she faces. She said this on Thursday evening in Sint Maarten, at the end of the visit to the Antilles.

Crown-princess Amilia at her final press meeting after her visit to the 6 Caribbean islands.
Photo ANP

Since the end of last summer, Amalia has been under even stricter security than usual, due to serious threats from the mocro mafia. She indicated that she had imagined the beginning of her studies very differently. The threat began at about the same time as her college years.

When asked if she has plans to continue her studies because of the threat abroad, Amalia said matter-of-factly: “I am studying at the University of Amsterdam.”

She thanked Dutch people from all parts of the kingdom for their reactions to the news about the threat. “I really want to express my gratitude for all the support from both friends and family, but also from all parts of the Netherlands and therefore also the Caribbean,” said the princess, who spoke of a great trip across the Antilles.

What the princess especially misses is ‘the normal life of a student’. “I went into my student days thinking about doing what students do. Unfortunately, the reality was anything but that. I’m going to be very honest about it. I’m still having a really hard time with it,” Amalia said. She also mentioned, for example, just entering ‘a shop’ on the islands, she experienced a bit of freedom again, Amalia said.

King Willem-Alexander was not worried about the safety of his daughter on the islands, he was mainly ‘proud’. “I’m not an expert on security. If I were worried about it, I would do it about something I don’t have expertise on.” The king said he relied on the judgment of the experts. “If they say we can walk around safely, that it’s a hot bath, then I don’t think about it at all.” Not even as a father? “As a father, I am only proud that our daughter went with us on a long journey across six islands. I glow with pride when I see her, I have that as a father.”

Queen Máxima said she did as much as possible to get to know her daughter the islands as well as possible and to put her at ease. “With the occasional cream against the sun. It was a very big adventure, we had a lot of fun.”


Successful Samenwerkende Fondsen NL visit to SXM & Saba
The modernization and expansion of Scout’s Place has officially started

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