Barack Obama welcomed by Belgian royalty ahead of speech at Flemish tech event

King Philippe and his daughter, Crown Princess Elisabeth, received former US president Barack Obama at the Castle of Laeken on Sunday. Later in the day, Obama will travel to Puurs Sint-Amands in Antwerp province to give a speech at a technology conference.

King Philippe previously welcomed Obama to the palace in 2014 as part of a state visit that was followed by his participation in the G7 summit.

Obama is expected late on Sunday afternoon at the Studio 100 pop-up theatre in Puurs-Saint-Amand for a talk entitled An Evening with President Barack Obama, as a prelude to the Supernova technology festival organised by Flanders Technology and Innovation (FTI).

The FTI Festival is an umbrella term for festivals in six cities, taking place between 15 and 24 March. Obama will "take part in a moderated discussion about the challenges we face and his vision for the future". The Antwerp festival will also feature speakers from technology and innovation companies such as IDEO, Tesla, NASA, Apple and Wired.

Security measures

Strict security measures are in place In Puurs-Sint-Amands, about 25km south of the city of Antwerp, during Obama's visit. Drones will be banned in the vicinity of the theatre from 12.00 to 22.00 on Sunday.

"Everything is in place, and now all we can do is wait in suspense"

Mayor Koen Van den Heuvel said the temporary drone ban was at the request of security forces to ensure the safety of the airspace during the event. Like other dignitaries, Obama will arrive at the venue with a police escort and the venue will undergo a security sweep before his arrival. "Everything is in place, and now all we can do is wait in suspense," the mayor said.



Related news

Website preview
Barack Obama is coming to Flanders as part of Antwerp tech festival
Former US president Barack Obama is coming to Flanders to give a lecture as part of the Flanders Technology & Innovation (FTI) Festival. An Evening with President Barack Obama will take place on 17 March at the Studio 100 pop-up theatre in Puurs, Antwerp.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels