Word of thanks by His Majesty the King of the Belgians addressed to Mr. Park Won-soon, mayor of the city of Seoul upon receiving honorary citizenship of Seoul
I am delighted to accept the honorary citizenship of your beautiful city of Seoul. I consider this gesture to be a token of true friendship for our country and for its entire population.
Let me in the first place pay tribute to the important role you play in making Seoul not only one of the smartest cities in the world, but also one with a genuine social commitment. Initiatives you took, even before being a mayor, like the Beautiful Foundation and the Hope Institute, are a proof of your personal vision and determination. Such initiatives can surely inspire us.
Making our cities “smart” does not only mean embracing technology for a greater efficiency. Let us never forget that managing a city is first and foremost about being at the service of the population. This encompasses helping citizens in all aspects of their daily life, in the development of their activities and in the realization of their talents. We share the challenge of creating inclusive societies, which bring people together and are committed to social justice. New technologies can contribute to this primary concern of serving people.
We fully realize the disruptive impact of modern technologies. Smart cities have a central role to play in helping us through this important social transition and to avoid the negative consequences of this disruption. For instance, they help people to acquire the necessary new skills and to find their way to the new jobs of the 21st century.
New technologies are also an opportunity for our democracies. Citizens aspire to share their knowledge, dreams, opinions and actions with an ever-broader environment. These new dimensions of social participation can add to a vibrant civil society, to which you, Mr Mayor, as I said at the beginning, have been contributing for so many years.
To conclude, Mr. Mayor, I thank you again for your kind gesture of making me an honorary citizen of Seoul. I trust that our two countries can continue to work together, to learn from each other and to make the world a smarter and better place for all our citizens.
Only the spoken word counts.