King's Day 2022 - Singapore

This year’s King’s Day took place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. For this reason we decided to keep our National Day celebrations sober without the usual festive reception.

We did, however, host a unique event. This year, on 27 April, Mr Chia Way Seng was awarded a Dutch Royal Decoration: Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. These honours are conferred by our King on persons who have rendered outstanding service to society.

Mr Chia Way Seng, a Singaporean engineer and HDB veteran who did his masters studies at the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering in Delft, the Netherlands, currently is Director of Reclamation at Surbana Jurong Consultants. He received the Dutch Royal Decoration for his personal commitment and drive the past decades in facilitating and enhancing the cooperation between Singapore and the Netherlands on coastal protection, in particular with reference to the cooperation on the development of the Pulau Tekong polder.

The ceremony took place during a dedicated ‘the Netherlands – Singapore water collaboration’ lunch seminar in the presence of his wife, close colleagues and key players in the Singapore-Netherlands collaboration on water management and coastal defense, such as Prof Kees d’Angremond, Emeritus Professor in Hydraulic Engineering of Delft University of Technology and Mr Zhongren Ang, Director, Water & Food Policy of the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment. Mr JanJaap Brinkman, Director Deltares Singapore, spoke about the close Singapore–Netherlands Water Relations Past, Present and Future.

In addition, in a separate ceremony at the Dutch residence on 26 April 2022, Mr Piet Sinke, a Dutch national living in Singapore, was awarded a Royal Decoration for his longstanding service within the maritime industry. He started off as a trainable seaman at the young age of 16 and made his way through the ranks to become captain on ocean going salvage tugs. The most high-profile salvage Piet Sinke has been involved in was the challenging raising of the unfortunate Russian submarine ‘Kursk’.

In 2001, whilst living in Singapore, Piet Sinke decided to start a daily maritime newspaper, the ‘Maasmond Maritime’. Currently this daily collection of press clippings has a readership of over 43,950 and is considered one of the most important communication channels within the maritime industry. The newspaper not only contributes to a positive image of the Ports of Rotterdam and Singapore, it also ensures that seafarers are kept abreast of the latest maritime developments. Piet Sinke furthermore played a key role in preserving the historical tug Elbe. It was a critical step in the process to permanently display the history of towage and salvage in the port of Maassluis, the Netherlands.  

Besides these two Royal Decorations, the Hollandse School, which has around 300 Dutch students, organised traditional Dutch games for the children to celebrate the birthday of the King.