Saying goodbye with a smile

August 30 will be my last day in Indonesia as Dutch Ambassador. My wife Jacqueline and I will leave this fantastic country with a heavy heart. We lived and worked here for 4 ½ years and learned to love the diversity of Indonesian cultures, the unbeatable landscapes, flora and fauna – and most of all the people, who are amongst the most hospitable in the world.

Rob Swartbbol

Also professionally it was an amazing journey. The very special relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands kept me and my team at the Embassy quite busy. There were many ups and obviously also some downs during my tenure. On the political level we had many high level visits, we supported the democratic processes in Indonesia and worked closely together in international organizations. Economically we are doing fine, especially investment-wise. But I would like to see the bilateral trade to expand a bit further. Culturally we managed to create a better mutual understanding. Through, for instance, student exchanges and cooperation with grass root organizations. But also because of the many exciting cultural activities organized by the unique Erasmus Huis, which is part of our renewed Embassy compound.

Overall, I am confident to say that the state of affairs between our two countries is very good, and we will work hard to make it even better.

I am very grateful to my colleagues at the Embassy, all of whom I consider dear friends. What a terrific team!

I am equally grateful to the members Dutch community in Indonesia, which is full of energy and creativity. And they are so much fun to work and socialize with.

My successor, Lambert Grijns, will start his ambassadorship in the beginning of September. He is a top diplomat and also a very nice person. He will do a great job and I wish him all the best.

To the readers of the Happenings: thank you for your interest in our activities in Indonesia and see you soon, sampai jumpa!