Highlights of the year of the Dog

Looking back, the year of the Dog has been eventful with regards to Sino-Dutch relations. Whether being high level state visits or delegations or new global initiatives, many events took place. Now that the year of the Pig is approaching, it’s time to reflect.

The largest trade delegation to China

Just after the visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, the year kicked off with the largest Dutch trade mission to China so far. Led by Dutch prime minister Rutte, about 165 companies visited several cities in China: from the Bo’ao Forum in Hainan to bilateral meetings in Beijing and greenhouses in Xi’an. Later during the year the Chinese premier Li Keqiang returned a visit to the Netherlands. He spoke with Dutch entrepreneurs about doing business and discussed Sino-Dutch relations.

Launch of a new initiative on climate adaptation

During the visit of Li Keqiang the new Global Commission on Climate Adaptation (GCA) was launched in The Hague. This initiative, supported by both China and the Netherlands, aims to stress the importance of making our countries resilient. Just before the end of the year of the Dog, the CEO of the GCA Patrick Verkooijen visited China to explore the current and future cooperation and developments. Of course, when it comes to climate adaptation topics such as water management, smart cities and new energy vehicles are key. The Netherlands also signed an MoU with China and California last year on more cooperation in the field of new energy vehicles.

Promoting peace & security for all

This past year also marked the year in which the Netherlands occupied a seat in the UN Security Council. The UNSC and its Dutch representative Karel van Oosterom also visited China. UN Peacekeeping missions were a key topic for the Netherlands throughout the year. Van Oosterom also visited a Peacekeeping training center when he was in Beijing. Marking the end of the Dutch seat in the UNSC, the Netherlands hosted a special PrepCon for the UN Peacekeeping Conference during early January.

An orange highlight

The month of November always marks the period of the Orange the World campaign for the Netherlands’ representation in China. Kicking off on the Day to End Violence Against Women, the Embassy was lit up orange this year to raise awareness on gender-based violence. This was combined with discussions, a movie screening and a joint event with UN Women. But not just gender-based violence is an important topic. Whether it’s LGBT-rights, freedom of speech or fair justice systems, these are topics which will always be a priority.

The Dutch perspective on food

On a lighter note, visitors in Beijing could explore some creative Dutch designs during the Beijing Design Week in October. The central theme was something close to the heart of many Dutch and Chinese: food! Sustainable food, food security and food safety are important topics globally. At the 751D district, Dutch artists showed their out-of-the-box solutions, including food waste 3D printing and transforming chicken bones into fine bone ceramics. Also, in many Chinese cities Dutch Days were hosted, which allowed locals to experience Dutch Food & Innovation. Of course, also in regard to food: Just before the end of the year of the Dog the first import of Dutch veal in China was processed! For Sino-Dutch trade in Dutch meat, seeds, vegetables or any other agri or horticultural products, there were many developments last year. Slowly, more and more Dutch products can be found in Chinese supermarkets and at Chinese farms. Recently, even a small delegation of Dutch farmers visited China to explore the current state of Chinese farms.