July 21, 2019

  • Closer than ever: North Rhine-Westphalia’s relations with the Benelux region

     By Dr. Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner, Minister of European and International Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia are like twins: with around 18 million inhabitants each, they are about the same size and, with a gross domestic product of around 700 billion Euro, about the same economic strength. As one country, they would be the fifth largest economy in the European Union. The entire Benelux region and North Rhine-Westphalia taken together constitute one of the most populous and economically strong mega-regions in the world. We form the continental centrepiece and the economic backbone of Europe, which stretches like a ribbon of densely…

  • Setting Sail on a New Voyage of China-Netherlands Relations

    By H.E. Hong Xu, Ambassador of China to the Kingdom of The Netherlands. As the gateway to Europe, the powerful merchant fleet is one of the symbols of the Netherlands. China-Netherlandsrelations, in my eyes, are as well like a great ship sailing in the sea. In the over 400-year-old friendship history, this great ship managed to cleave through the waves and keep moving forward. Particularly, following the historic exchange visits by President Xi Jinping and His Majesty King Willem-Alexander in 2014 and 2015, this ship has sailed smoothly into a new channel of “open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation”….

  • Wines of Portugal

    By H.E. Ms. Rosa Batoréu, Ambassador of the Republic of Portugal to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. I could not agree more with the well known wine journalist Rui Falcão when he says that “variety is the keyword when you’re talking about Portuguese wine.”  Indeed, been a relatively small country (mainland 218 km wide and 561 km long), yet diverse, Portugal offers a stunning variety of terroirs, grape varieties and blends. While many top winemaking countries specialize in a handful of grape varieties, relying on standard, international options, Portugal is home to over 250 indigenous varieties, offering unique opportunities for those…

  • Uruguay: views and visions

    H.E. Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre is the Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After graduating in International Relations and pursuing three years of legal studies at the Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay, Ambassador Dupuy Lasserre pursued the diplomatic career. In her high-profile career, she was President of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011-12, being the first woman to chair it, on behalf of GRULAC; while being Uruguay’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (2009-2014). During a lunch at the emblematic Hotel Des Indes in The Hague, Ambassador Dupuy…

  • Tanzanian Southern Highlands: wonderfully exquisite location

    “Visit Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve” By H.E. Ms. Irene Florence Mkwawa Kasyanju, Ambassador of Tanzania to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Tanzania has a vast beautiful landscape that can be used for various economic both agriculture as well as tourism.  Tanzania is abundantly blessed with natural resources like minerals such as gold, diamonds, tanzanite and natural gas, to mention but a few, also and much to our delight and appreciation, water ways such as rivers, lakes and a boarder with the Indian Ocean. It has wealth in wildlife, forestry and agriculture, which have a wonderful potential for growth…

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Diplomatic News

Bundesrat President in Namibia

Jul 20, 2019

In the picture Bundesrat President Daniel Günther and President Dr. Hage Geingob – Picture by Staatskanzlei Schleswig-Holstein. 13-18 July 2019, Republic of Namibia: Germany’s President of the National Council Daniel Günther, Premier of Schleswig-Holstein, was on an official visit to Namibia, was received the country’s head of state, President Hage Geingob at the Presidential Palace. Their conversation was focused on investment opportunities for the German economy, and the framework conditions for them. Moreover the colonial past openly addressed by both sides as reported by President Günther. For a common future, the past must be clarified between the parties. Germany’s official position is that the…

Ambassador Abadi Opens Calligraphy Exhibit

Jul 19, 2019

By Catherine van der Loos. His Excellency, Dr. Alireza Kazemi Abadi, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands, opened “Drawing Dreams”, an exhibition of Persian Calligraphy at the “Iran House ” on Wednesday, 17 July. Ambassador Abadi warmly welcomed members of the diplomatic community, specially invited guests and other “friends of Iran,” who turned out in large numbers for the mid-summer event to admire numerous artworks by Azar Safari, Mahnaz Abedini and S. Kamal Mirkhalaf on display. During his brief introduction, he noted, that all of the calligraphic artworks being exhibited were created “locally” by Iranians and Dutch-Iranian…

President Agius presents his first Progress Report to UN Security Council

Jul 17, 2019

United Nations – International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Arusha, The Hague, 17 July 2019– The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), Judge Carmel Agius, today presented his first progress report to the United Nations Security Council (Council) since taking up office on 19 January 2019. In his address, President Agius highlighted the most notable aspects of the Mechanism’s work during the past six months.  Regarding the Mechanism’s residual judicial workload, President Agius noted that the Appeal Judgement in the Karadžić case was delivered on 20 March 2019 at the Mechanism’s Hague branch, stressing the timely…

ICC marks 17 July, Day of International Criminal Justice

Jul 17, 2019

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today marks 17 July, the Day of International Criminal Justice. On this day in 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted. The Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the ICC, which created the Court and the Trust Fund for Victims. Marking the day, ICC President Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji stated: “There cannot be sustainable socio-economic development, where conflicts, atrocities and fear reign supreme. The fact that we have today a permanent International Criminal Court has changed the way the world looks at atrocities. The world expects accountability. Victims demand justice. The space for impunity for these…

″Meet Hungary” business reception

Jul 17, 2019

 On 18 June, the Embassy of Hungary and the Hungarian Business Network (HBN) organized a business reception at the newly renovated Embassy building in the Hague. The event brought together 50 representatives of Dutch companies in Hungary, Dutch-Hungarian businessmen and international and Dutch governmental organizations. The event was opened by Ambassador Kocsis and Cisca Ansem, President of the HBN. Keynote speaker, Mr. Balázs Vajta, KLM Vice President Strategy, Captain of Boeing B737 gave a presentation about the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Embassy of Madagascar in Germany celebrated the 59thanniversary of the return of independence

Jul 17, 2019

Chargée d’Affaires a.i. Florence Ratsimba flanked by fellow diplomats. By Urs Unkauf. In rememberance of the independence from France in 1960, Madagascar celebrates the 26thof June as the National Day. This day is a celebrating day for the entire Malagasy population. On this occasion, Mrs. Florence Isabelle Rafaramalala ép Ratsimba, Chargée d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar invited the diplomatic corps and friends of Madagascar to a reception at the Embassy and Residence in Falkensee near Berlin. In her speech, Chargée d’Affaires a.i. Ratsimba declared: “The progress under way to learn and implement democracy following the state…

German Public Prosecutors General in support of Eurojust

Jul 16, 2019

The Hague, 16 July 2019 During the meeting of the Working Group Europe of Germany’s Public Prosecutors General at Eurojust’s premises in The Hague, their support and appreciation for Eurojust’s operational support to cross-border investigations was reaffirmed. They stressed the need to safeguard the role of Eurojust for the future. In a resolution of 10 June 2019, the Public Prosecutor Generals expressed their grave concerns that the proposed financial resources for Eurojust in the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) are far too limited to meet the growing demand for practical, on-call support to judicial authorities. This situation risks weakening the…

Doubts about chemical attack Syria

Jul 16, 2019

In the picture H.E. Mr. Alexander Shulgin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to The Netherlands with the team Russian experts at a press conference of the Russian embassy in The Hague on July 12th. By Eric van de Beek. The alleged poison gas attack in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018 may have been staged, an engineering sub-team of OPCW’s fact finding mission in Syria concludes in an unpublished, leaked report.  On April 14, 2018, the US, France, and Great Britain launched a missile attack on Syria, in retribution for an alleged poison gas attack on the terrorist…

Setting up a judical counter-terrorism register at Eurojust

Jul 14, 2019

Eurojust’s proposal to the EU Member States on the implementation and functioning of the European judicial counter-terrorism register on the basis of Council Decision 2005/671/JHA was presented to the national correspondents for terrorism at the annual Eurojust meeting on counter-terrorism. Following the initiative of France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the setting up of the register was supported by the Special Committee on Terrorism of the European Parliament, whose Chair, Ms Nathalie Griesbeck, was present at the meeting. The proposal also received strong support from the European Commission and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC). The national experts agreed on practical steps in the…

EU inks trade agreement with Vietnam

Jul 14, 2019

In the picture H.E. Ngo Thi Hoa, Ambassador of Viet Nam to The Netherlands. Sunday, 30 June 2019, Socialist Republic of Vietnam: the European Union on signed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), paving the way for tariff reductions on 99% of goods between the 28-member bloc and the Southeast Asian country, an ASEAN member state. The EU has described, as per Commission’s statement, the free trade deal as “the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country.” European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Vietnam’s Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh inked the EVFTA in Hanoi, three and a…

Diplomatic Pouch

‘Petersburg Dialogue’ held in NRW

In the picture Premier Laschet welcomes Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Sergej Netschajew – Picture by Land NRW, Uta Wagner. 18-19 July 2019, NRW, Germany: For the first time since its foundation, the ‘Petersburg Dialogue’, one of the most important events of German-Russian civil societal cooperation, takes place in North Rhine-Westphalia.  Under this year’s theme “Cooperation as a Leitmotif for a Europe in Peace: Contributions from Civil Societies in Russia and Germany”, around 350 guests from all areas of German-Russian cooperation gather for the high-level conference held at Bonn and Königswinter. The two foreign ministers of the Federal Republic…

Kickstart your language learning this summer!

Summer is just around the corner. The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. Summer is the perfect time to take a break from regular commitments and try something new! Why not use this time to start learning a language or improve the language skills that you already have? Taking an intensive language course is a great way to see big improvements in a short time. At Kickstart School, we offer a range of intensive Dutch and English summer courses during July and August to help you improve or maintain your language skills. The daily format means that…

Genocide and war crimes cases rise by a third in the EU in three years

In the picture H.E. Ms. Brândușa Predescu, Romanian Ambassador to the Netherlands and Eurojust’s President Ladislav Hamran. EU Member States are giving more priority to investigating genocide and war crimes. The number of new cases rose by a third over the last three years, with 1 430 new investigations launched in 2018. This stark increase was one of the major topics of discussion at the 4th EU Day against Impunity for Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes, organised by Eurojust, the Romanian EU Council Presidency, the European Commission and the Genocide Network. Eurojust, the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, hosts the…

Alex Whiting joins SPO as Head of Investigations

Alex Whiting has joined the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) as Head of Investigations. Mr Whiting, 54, is a prosecutor of French and US nationality with extensive experience of both domestic and international prosecutions, including stints at both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as a distinguished academic career. Mr Whiting came to the SPO from Harvard Law School, where he had been a professor of practice since 2013. Between 2010 and 2013, Mr Whiting was in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC where he served first as…

The paths of an artist, transmitted by her works of art.

By Itzel Barragán García | Art critic and contributer to ‘Orígenes’. Alejandra Saldaña – Translator. Only three years after the passing away of the Dutch Mexican painter Nancy van Overveldt and as a homage to her extraordinary career as an artist, the exhibition “Paths of a Life: between Mexico and Holland” was shown between April 5th to May 31st at the Embassy of Mexico in The Netherlands. In this exhibition, we saw a choice of the first paintings the artist created in Mexico and also of the ones she painted 25 years later in The Netherlands. The exhibition also included…

Eurasian Countries within Belt and Road Initiative: what game is being played?

In the picture Mr. Zeno Leoni. By  Zeno Leoni and  Federica Santoro. BRI is the framework of China’s trans-continental, multi-dimensional, and pluri-billionaire grand strategy. As explained in the reportA Study of ICT Connectivity for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): Enhancing the Collaboration in China-Central Asia Corridor, published by the United Nations’ agency ESCAP, this project’s aims are: “(1) To enhance policy coordination; (2) To improve infrastructure connectivity; (3) To reinforce trade and investment cooperation; (4) To move forward with financial integration; and (5) To support people-to-people collaboration”. To achieve these objectives, three sets of BRI tools stand out among Others: firstly,…

Afrodescedants in the Americas: Recognition, Justice and Development

By Dr. Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Director of Social Inclusion at the Organization of American States. According to UNICEF, there are about 200 million afrodescedants in the Americas, an estimated 30% of the population. Of this, close to 50% includes children, and adolescents younger than 18 years old. If the 200 million people of African descent in the region were a country, they would be 53 times the size of Panama, 19 times the size of the Dominican Republic, 10 times the size of Chile. Who can deny they are an integral component of what we are as a region?  The fact…

ICMP Welcomes Continued Dutch Support To Address the Global Missing Persons Challenge

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok. Netherlands is a key strategic partner for the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), supporting ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague and supporting its core functions and country programs around the world, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said.   Ms Bomberger was speaking after a meeting in The Hague with Foreign Minister Stef Blok. She highlighted the fact that “the Netherlands was one of the key players behind the signing – with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden – of the ICMP Agreement in December 2014,” and noted that the Agreement, which establishes ICMP as the only international organization in the world that exclusively addresses the issue of missing and disappeared persons, “reflects the emerging international consensus about the…

Setting the scene on cybercrime: trends and new challenges

Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust. The Hague, 5 July 2019 The level of digitalisation in our societies is increasing every day and so, unfortunately, is cybercrime. This situation requires law enforcement and prosecution practitioners to constantly adapt their expertise, tools and practices to effectively and efficiently respond to this change. Today, Europol and Eurojust published the third joint report identifying and categorising the current developments and common challenges in combating cybercrime, which fall into five different areas: Loss of data: electronic data is the key to successful investigations in all the cybercrime areas, but the possibilities to obtain such data have…

Understanding Migration and Asylum in Europe

By Dr. Alfred Kellermann. To understand issues of migration and asylum in the EU the following key studies, documents, terms and facts should be known. European Refugee crisis The European migrant crisis or refugee crisis is a term given to a period beginning in 2015 characterized by rising numbers of people arriving to the European Union (EU) from across the Mediterranean Sea or overland through South-East Europe.  Immigrants from outside Europe include asylum seekers and economic migrants.  The term “immigrant” is used by the European Commission to describe a person from a non-EU country establishing his or her usual residence in the territory…

Accounting for the Missing is an Investment in Peace: The Work of ICMP

By María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila, Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of El Salvador, Commissioner of the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP). Every year, millions of people around the world go missing as a result of conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration, and other causes. ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization with headquarters in The Hague dedicated to tackling this issue. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the…

The innovations of the STL and its role as a tribunal of terrorism crimes

In the picture, Judge Walid Akoum, Special Tribunal for Lebanon. By Marwan Hani Osseiran. I met with Trial chamber alternate Judge Walid Akoum to discuss with him the innovations of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) during a visit to the Court. The Tribunal is a tribunal of international character applying Lebanese criminal law to carry out the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the 14 February 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, and the deaths of 21 others, as well as those responsible for connected attacks. The Tribunal has its seat in Leidschendam, a…

A farewell to H.E. Aviv Shir-On, Israel’s Ambassador to the Netherlands

Madam Birgitta Tazelaar, Deputy Director-General International Cooperation at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Aviv Shir-On. By Guido Lanfranchi. The diplomatic community of the Netherlands said goodbye to H.E. Aviv Shir-On, Israel’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, praising his work in strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. In a crowded ceremony, Ambassador Shir-On thanked all his colleagues and collaborators for their support to his work. It has been three years since H.E. Aviv Shir-On has been Ambassador of Israel to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, three years in which the Ambassador has worked to deepen the…

The need for ‘empire’: a comparison between Belt and Road Initiative and US grand strategy in Europe

By Zeno Leoni. The Belt and Road initiative has increasingly been under the spotlight in recent years. Given the multi-dimensional profile of the project, scholars have concentrated on several areas of inquiry, from investments in Africa to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); from the pan-continental road and rail networks that should integrate transport across Eurasia to the return to territorialism in the South China Sea; from the geopolitics of gas in Central Asia to economic corridors in Pakistan and Indochina; from the quest for a blue-water navy to the use of debt trap in developing countries. However, there is…

Let’s go Dutch!

By Jeroen Spangenberg. The Dutch are one of a kind. They are highly educated and most of them speak English. Expats love this fact. What expats don’t realize is that this prevents expats from really integrating in Dutch society. Moreover, ever noticed a group of Dutch people, first talking in English and when they talk about trivial things or when the words become more complicated to translate, they switch to Dutch, leaving the foreigner in the dark.  Not only is it convenient to know some basic level of Dutch, there are some cultural differences that expats need to be aware…

The best of times or the worst of times?

By Barend ter Haar. “It is worse, much worse, than you think.” That is how David Wallace-Wells begins The Uninhabitable Earth, A Story of the Future. “Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think” is the subtitle Hans Rosling cs gave to Factfulness. The two books seem to contradict each other. Who is right? Are things better than we think, or worse, much worse? The answer is that both can be right, because they speak about different things. Rosling spoke about what we have accomplished so far and Wallace speaks about the unpaid bill…