From the Beneulx Royals message board:
Unexpected visit to hospital by Princess Máxima
Posted by henri m. on 16/8/2003, 14:00:02
Like she has done before, the Princess has again totally unexpected visited an organization without any press and photographers:
In today's Limbourgian newspapers reports on how the Princess visited an hospital in Sittard (a Limbourgian city with appr. 110.000 inh.):
SITTARD - It is unusually restless in the corridors of the Meuse County Hospital in Sittard (Province of Limbourg, 110.000 inh.). The tension and the nervousness are tangible. Today everything is different from normal: THE Princess is in the house.
Yesterday Princess Máxima of the Netherlands brought a strictly secret work-visit at the Meuse County Hospital in Sittard. For its staff an unique working day. Nobody wanted to miss her, all trying to catch a glimpse of her: "Can you sent her along for a minute?" sounds hopefully from a study. By chance passing visitors, co-workers and nurses rub themselves in the eyes out of amazement. Princess Máxima in Sittard! Well, that's not something you experience every day.
The visit of the Princess has been kept secret for weeks and has been regulated in complete confidentiality. By special request of the Royal House, which wishes no any interference in a tight program. And thus eventual photographers and reporters are kept on a far distance. Also the patients will not see her too much.
The day's protocol is detailed filled in. Only a few men were informed about the coming of Princess Máxima. The members of the Board of Directors knew.
A single co-assistant here and there has been informed by telephone on the very last moment. Like Stephan-Antoine Ring, co-assistant on the Orthopaedy Division. Only on Thursday evening he heard that he has been chosen to meet Princess Máxima. And that makes impression.
Four hours after her departure he is still full of enthousiasm: "A quite fine experience. I have even been allowed to sit with her at table. The conversation was exploratory and warm. Princess Máxima is an intelligent woman. She asked so many questions about the training and has sincerely been interested. I will always cherish it as a fine memory."
The work visit at the Meuse County Hospital is part of Princess Máxima's introduction program to learn about the Netherlands. And thus no possibility to gather information remains unused. For the official visit to the hospital itself, three and half hours has been reserved. But there is scarcely time for distraction. After the arrival with the princely private-jet on Maastricht-Aachen Airport it rapidly goes into the direction of the hospital.
In Sittard the Princess orientates herself -amongst other topics- on the financing of hospitals, the organizational structure, the renewals in the hospital care, but also on the sticking points in the care. She speaks ample with drivers, medical specialists and nurses.
The Princess let herself be informed about the cooperation between the hospital and the Central Regional GP Practice and about the working methods of GP's (General Practicioners) and over the method of the central practice. She speaks also with the clients' council about the council's role in the hospital.
A subject of conversation that is like a red thread through the work visit is the new huge medical complex of the Meuse County Hospital which is under construction now. The Princess showed deep interest for the new drafts, models and the role of the information technology which will get a primary place in the new building. Despite the not-ceasing hunt on information by the Princess, there is -fortunately- also yet even time for a short lunch. The meal is simple and anything but royal: breads, coffee, tea and fruit juice. The pregnant Princess has not expressed special wishes about her lunch.
Hospital manager Leon Poels stood next to the Princess during the whole visit. He never walked a single meter away from her side. The manager can scarcely describe his blissful feelings. It caresses him that Princess Máxima herself has made the choice for the Meuse County Hospital. And he is happy that they could provide the Princess a good impression of the activities: "Everybody is very honored by her coming. Princess Máxima is naturally a very special and remarkable lady. A marked and most charming personality. I noticed that she had prepared herself thoroughly on this visit. She asked detailed and useful questions. For me and the other employees of the Meuse County Hospital it was a brilliant experience. I have even been allowed to be photographed with her. Such memories you cherish. It really provided a very special feeling."
In the central hall of the hospital a spontaneous applause sounds. Princess Máxima is saying and waving goodbye. She smiles and caresses a girl patient over the head. The Princess' hofdame ('lady in waiting'
takes care of the many presents. The charm of the Princess has unmistakably left tracks. Secretary Jolanda Dirx is still enjoying: "The Princess has been on our division. She has given hands and talked with all of us. An unique experience. Yes of course, it has really made impression on me. Such a day you only experience once in a lifetime."