Dutch King pays working visit to Ter Apel asylum facility

King Willem-Alexander at an asylum center
King Willem-Alexander on visit to the asylum center in Ter Apel, 19 Jan 2016 (Photo: @koninklijkhuis/Twitter). (Photo: Rotapool / Robin van Lonkhuijsen via RVD, @koninklijkhuis / Twitter))

King Willem-Alexander paid a visit to the asylum center in Ter Apel with State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff and the manager of the COA, the central agency for the reception of asylum seekers, on Tuesday, ANP reports.

The asylum center in Ter Apel is the first place asylum seekers go after their arrival in the Netherlands. From there their reception in other asylum centers across the country is arranged.

During the visit, the King and Dijkhoff spoke to everyone involved in arranging reception for the asylum seekers about how things work in the center. This included Vluchtelingenwerk, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Red Cross and the COA. The King also talked to local politicians about administrative cooperation around the center.

The visit to the asylum center with Dijkhoff forms part of a series of working visits the King is making with the Secretaries of State of various Ministries. During these visits the Secretaries of State show the King part of the scope of his or her ministry.

According to Dutch newspaper AD, the King did not speak to a single asylum seeker during the visit. A spokesperson for the Rijksvoorlichtingdienst, the government information service, told the newspaper that this is not what the meeting was about. Dijkhoff wanted to speak with those actually involved in the implementation of the Dutch asylum policy. "They are the people who worked very hard in recent months", according to the spokesperson. The King just fell in with that.