July 20, 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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Contemporary Music from Austria

Jul 14, 2019

In the picture Ambassador Heidemaria Gürer. By Roy Lie Atjam. The Austrian Ambassador in the Netherlands, Ambassador Heidemaria Gürer hosted a musical evening at her residence featuring the“Ensemble Airborne Extended” made up of Austrian participants in the ongoing Operadagen Rotterdam 2019. Prior to the concert, there was an artist talk by flutists Caroline Mayrhofer, Elena Gabbrielli and Elisabeth Schimana (composer). The talk provided insights into the latest developments in contemporary music in Austria and this evidently was an integral part of the program. Moderator: Doris Weberberger (Austrian Music Export / mica – music Austria). The program: Caroline Mayrhofer (recorders/Paetzold) and…

ICC hosts Second Asia-Pacific Forum of The Hague

Jul 12, 2019

Left to right: ICC judge Tomoko Akane, ICC judge Chang-ho Chung, Hague Project Peace and Justice Representative Ambassador Nora Stehouwer, ICC judge Raul Pangalangan, ICC judge Kimberly Prost and ICC Director of the Division of External Operations Christian Mahr discuss with students and young professionals from the Asia Pacific region on the theme “Enhancing the Contribution of International Justice for the Asia-Pacific Region” at the ICC on 12 July 2019 © ICC-CPI On 12 July 2019, the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) hosted the second Asia-Pacific Forum of The Hague at the seat of the Court in The Hague (The Netherlands), bringing together high-level officials and staff from the Court, and students and young…

50th Conference of heads of government of the Alpine states

Jul 12, 2019

Friday, 5 July 2019, Toblach/Dobbiaco, Autonomous Region Bolzano-South Tyrol, Italy: The 50th Conference of heads of government of the ten member strong contingent of countries and cantons of the Alpine Working Community Arge Alp met at Toblach/Dobbiaco to mark the end of the South Tyrolian chairmanship. Accordingly South Tyrol’s Governor Arno Kompatscher handed over the presidency to Salzburg’s Governor Wilfried Haslauer. The heads of government discussed several issues of importance for the population of the Alps: The Alpine countries adopted a resolution on the main topic of the South Tyrolean Presidency year, “rural development”, as well as on transalpine transport. Moreover, they also discussed the progress of…

Premier Dr. Reiner Haseloff welcomes Belgian Royal Couple

Jul 12, 2019

Wednesday, 10 July 2019, Saxe-Anhalt, Germany: Premier of Saxe-Anhalt, Dr. Reiner Haseloff and Mayor of the Lutheran City of Wittenberg, Torsten Zugehör welcomed the Belgian Royal Couple of an official visit to the federal state. A ceremonial welcome took place at the Old Town Hall wherein the Royal Couple signed the guest book of the state government as well as the city’s golden book. King Philippus and Queen Mathilde subsequently were guided through the castle church and the Luther’s House. During his visit to Saxony-Anhalt, the Royal Couple was accompanied by the Premier of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, Oliver Paasch, Belgian Ambassador to Germany, HE Baron…

Embrace the Magic of Gold that is 24K Feelings

Jul 12, 2019

In the picture Viktória Pikovská, founder of Victory Art and the Ambassador of Slovakia H.E. Mr. Roman Buzek. On the 20th of June, the team at Victory Art organized their biggest exhibition ever–World Trade Center x Victory Art introducing Andrea Ehret: 24K Feelings. The exhibition displayed a new collection of Andrea’s art pieces which involve her work with real gold and represent a golden embrace that is the 24K Feelings.  The exhibition’s name, 24K Feelings, comes from Ehret’s unique take on artistic design through golden dust powder. She embraced the golden tint in her canvases led by a unique artistic inspiration….

President Agius pays respects to victims at 24th Commemoration of Srebrenica genocide

Jul 12, 2019

The Hague, 11 July 2019– Judge Carmel Agius, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), today attended the Commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide at the Potočari memorial in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In paying his respects to the victims President Agius delivered remarks, along with a number of other high-level dignitaries including Mr Sefik Džaferović, current Bosniak Member of the BiH Presidency. In addition, Mr Nedžad Avdić, a survivor of the genocide, addressed the ceremony. President Agius also laid flowers in honour of all those killed during the genocide, including the 33 victims…

Cultural Diversity at this year’s Embassy Festival

Jul 11, 2019

On Friday the 6th and Saturday the 7th of September the seventh edition of the Embassy Festival will commence. The organisation is confident that they will reach a record-breaking number of 70 embassies, that will be participating in the Embassy Festival, taking place at the Lange Voorhout this year.  This will allow for a cultural world trip with dance, music (from pop to classical), performances and authentic bites and drinks. The kick-off of the Embassy Festival will take place on Friday evening from 5pm in an intimate setting at the Lange Voorhout with two stages. Expect a highly energetic performance by London Afrobeat…

Belgians’ Royal Couple in Thuringia

Jul 10, 2019

Picture by Anja Feßer, Thüringische Staatskanzlei. Tuesday, 9 July 2019, Free State of Thuringia, Germany: The King and Queen of Belgians paid an official visit to Thuringia with a focus on cultural, historical and genealogically relevant sites. In fact, after Their Majesties’ arrival at Erfurt Airport, they headed summarily to Gotha, or rather to Friedenstein Castle for a leg of the trip dedicated to family history. Premier of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow and his spouse Germana Alberti vom Hofe welcomed the Royal  Couple, and their delegation which included the Premier of the German-Speaking Community of Belgium, Oliver Paasch, the Belgian Ambassador to Germany Baron Willem van de Voorde and his wife Baroness…

South Korea Contributes $150,000 to Support OPCW Activities

Jul 10, 2019

In the picture OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Republic of Korea’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Yun-young Lee. THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 24 June 2019 — The Government of the Republic of Korea has contributed $150,000 to support a number of projects and activities of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The contribution was formalised today at the Organisation’s Headquarters in The Hague at a ceremony involving the OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and the Republic of Korea’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Yun-young Lee. The Republic of Korea…

Africa Day Celebration, Edition 2019

Jul 10, 2019

By Roy Lie Atjam. Wassenaar, 13 June 2019.  African Ambassadors accredited in The Hague held a reception to celebrate Africa Day 2019. Guests turned out in their numbers to celebrate this momentous occasion. Not only were Ambassadors, Diplomats, African business people included, but guests from other continents as well were on hand to enjoy the festivities. Of course, the diaspora showed up in all its colors and resplendent beauty. The occasion commenced with the playing of the Africa Union song and the national anthem of the Netherlands, after which, H.E Mr. Jean Pierre Karabaranga Ambassador of Rwanda and Dean of…

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‘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…