The fourth national event of the ‘National Committee 200 years Kingdom’ was held in Maastricht on Saturday 30 August. The theme was: international orientation, with a central focus on Dutch culture, politics and trade.
Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs, opened the conference and welcomed the guests, including the Royal Couples of the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as their Royal Highnesses of Luxembourg, and representatives of the worlds of business, politics and public administration from the various countries. The president of the German Federal Republic, Joachim Gauck, was the keynote speaker; he praised the international orientation of the European Union and European cooperation.
The celebrations included a major international conference highlighting the international orientation of the Netherlands throughout the centuries. Several CEOs – Frans van Houten (Philips), Feike Sijbesma (DSM) and Marlies van Wijhe (Van Wijhe Verf) - engaged in a lively debate with business representatives abroad. Jan Bartholomeus of ING Bank Czech Republic took part in Prague on behalf of ING.
Live debate by CEOs and business relations, including Jan Bartholomeus from ING Bank Czech Republic
Research of the ING Economics Department (Dutch only) shows that a third of the companies up to fifty employees are internationally active. “But if more small firms start doing business abroad,” says Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING, “that’s also good for the Dutch economy and our employment. Exports are vital to the Netherlands, accounting for 83% of our GDP.”
Jan Bartholomeus, Country Head ING Commercial Banking in the Czech Republic, talks about international business opportunities live from Prague to the audience in Maastricht