45 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Netherlands

2018 marks 45 years of our diplomatic relations…

Diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and Vietnam were officially established 45 years ago, in 1973. Since then, The Netherlands contributed to Vietnam’s post-war reconstruction and eventually to its transition into the lower middle-income country it is today. Five decades of Dutch development efforts in Vietnam were directed at a variety of issues, such as water management, women economic empowerment, sanitation, health care, labor conditions in the garment sector, and nature preservation.

In 2018 there will be a lot of activities to celebrate the friendship between our countries. The 45 years celebrations will be launched during the visit of the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Sigrid Kaag, on 6-7 February. Of course the Dutch national day, King’s Day (27th of April) will have a special significance in Vietnam this year. Furthermore, the Embassy will organize the World Press Photo Exhibition in Hanoi, a world-famous exhibition of the best and most memorable press photographs from around the globe. Don’t miss it!

… but we started our friendship more than 400 years ago...

Economic relations between Vietnam and the Netherlands go back a long way. The ships of the Dutch East India Company brought the first Dutch traders to Vietnam already in the 17th century. Permission was given to trade in the area that today is still the center of Dutch maritime activity in Vietnam, Haiphong.

Today, Vietnam is an economic priority country for the Dutch government. The two Strategic Partnership Agreements on water & climate change (since 2010) and on agriculture (since 2014), signed by the Prime Ministers, are the main frameworks for our cooperation. Every year there are two ministerial visits to our respective countries to advance these Strategic Partnership Agreements.

The Netherlands is not only the second biggest EU trading partner but also the number one EU investor in Vietnam with more than USD 7 billion of registered investment. This will increase even further once the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will come into effect.

… and we’ll continue to strengthen our cooperation!

Our countries are natural partners, because we have a lot in common. Both are coastal states in strategic locations, and as delta countries, we both face the challenges of climate change, especially in the area of agriculture and water management.

Vietnam and the Netherlands are both world-class players in the export of agricultural products. While being a small country with a surface area of just one seventh of Vietnam, and one fifth of Vietnam’s population, the Netherlands is the world’s second biggest exporter of agricultural products. We are therefore eager to cooperate with Vietnam in its ambition to increase its food and agriculture export. In addition, the Netherlands provides expertise on an area that is very important to every Vietnamese consumer: food safety.

The Netherlands is also experienced in climate change mitigation and adaptation, a topic that is gaining attention in Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta region. The Netherlands is willing to share its knowledge and lessons learned with Vietnam, which resulted in the Mekong Delta Plan, a long-term vision for the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta. Recent decisions by the government to work towards this sustainable future will help millions in the Mekong Delta to secure and improve their livelihoods.

Our relations are broader than just water and agriculture. We promote trade and investment also in areas like energy, maritime industry, and logistics. And our broad relations also cover education and the arts, science and innovation, sports and tourism, human rights and rule of law. And so much more!

Ambassador Nienke Trooster “45 years behind us and a lot more ahead”

Living and working with Vietnamese people has been a great experience, and I sometimes jokingly call the Vietnamese “the Dutch of Asia”, because of their directness, entrepreneurship and pragmatism. Features which are also said to be true of the Dutch.

This is my fourth and final year as Ambassador in Vietnam, and I continue to be amazed by the speed of Vietnam’s development, which also brings more potential for trade and investment between our countries. I am honored that I can end my term here with celebrating our 45 years of diplomatic relations – which will be launched during the trade mission led by our Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, to Vietnam in early February.

While our bilateral trade and investment ties have been growing rapidly, perhaps equally important is the increase in people-to-people contacts. Tourism flows, cooperation between social organizations and knowledge institutions, and student exchanges will inevitably promote positive ties between both our countries. I am confident that these 45 years are just the beginning of a future of long-lasting and positive ties, not just between our countries, but between our people as well.

--- Nienke Trooster

--- Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Vietnam