Dutch royal couple bowled by picturesque Bhutan
Thimphu (PTI): They came, saw and were overwhelmed. The Netherlands' crown prince Willem Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima were so enchanted by the beauty of Bhutan and the lifestyle of its people that they have vowed to add the Himalayan kingdom to their annual 'to-visit' list.
The royal couple said their four-day visit that ended yesterday did not do any justice to Bhutan. "But four days were enough to whet our appetite," said Alexander.
"I really enjoy high mountains but, in the meantime, we will be following with great interest what is happening in your country," he told reporters here.
The couple was also quite impressed by the indicator that Bhutan has chosen for development and change -- Gross National Happiness.
According to them, it is not just a unique philosophy but has a scientific basis and, in that sense, is highly enlightening.
Alexander praised Bhutan for coming out of isolation and transforming itself while preserving culture, traditional values, religion and way of life at the same time.
"It is a spectacular combination to maintain and also to move forward. It is important that Bhutan achieves this goal," he said.
He also assured Bhutan of full cooperation of the Netherlands government.
"We have taken this responsibility very seriously towards your country," he said, adding when Bhutan develops the relation between the two countries would also change.
"It is a natural process of improvement all the time," he said, adding the world would watch with interest Bhutan's transition to a democratic system next year.
Princess Maxima said it would be interesting to see how Bhutan approached its plans and projects, considering other issues like sustainability at the same time.
"It would be as interesting to note if people are happy with the pace of the projects. It is an interesting theory (gross national happiness) but it would be interesting to see how they go about the practicalities of it, which could be a bit cumbersome."
The royal couple was here on the invitation of Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyal.
Alexander and Maxima received an audience with king at Tashichhodzong and also visited places of historic and religious significance in Paro and Thimphu.