Embassy of the Netherlands Hosts a Koningsday Celebration in Herzliya at the Ambassador’s Residence
On Wednesday evening, the Ambassador of the Netherlands H.E. Mr. Gilles Arnout Beschoor Plug and his wife Lousite hosted a reception at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya to celebrate Koningsdag. Koningsdag or King’s Day is the birthday of King Willem-Alexander and a National Holiday.
Ambassador Plug opened the evening with a few sentences of Hebrew, before switching to English. Peppering his remarks with humor, the ambassador pointed out that the out of season rainy weather reminds him of Dutch weather. Remarking on the Israeli-Dutch relationship, Ambassador Plug emphasized that it was a strong and improving relationship, including multilateral and comprehensive cooperation, as well as the ability to have an open and free dialogue and resolve any political issues.
The ambassador focused his remarks on environmentalism. Noting the agricultural and water conservation achievements of Israel, Ambassador Plug mentioned a conference planned to showcase environmental concerns and other areas of bilateral cooperation on environmental issues. As an example of those efforts, he cited the orange flowers used to decorate the event, pointing out that they had chosen to use Israeli flowers rather than importing Dutch flowers, thereby reducing the environmental footprint.
The ambassador also noted that many Dutch products, like cheese and ale, didn’t need to be imported exclusively, since they’re already readily available in Israeli supermarkets. In concluding his remarks, Ambassador Plus called on other embassies to join the efforts to celebrate in an environmentally friendly manner and read a short message of congratulations to King Willem-Alexander on his birthday.
Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben-Dahan addressed the audience next, offering an official birthday greeting from the government of Israel to King Willem-Alexander. Minister Dahan acknowledged the long history between the Jewish people and Holland, including a successful community-based in Amsterdam and great thinkers like Baruch Spinoza, as well as the darkest moments during the Nazi occupation, immortalized by Anne Frank.
Ben-Dahan pointed out that this connection led to a close relationship between the two nations from Israel’s founding, at both the diplomatic and the people to people level. He noted the high-level of trade cooperation between the countries as further proof of their strong relationship: the Netherlands ranks in the top 7 countries in the world for both imports to and exports from Israel.
The anthems of both countries were performed, and then a toast was raised to the King and the best wishes of the people of the Netherlands. The guests were then able to enjoy a spread including traditional Dutch cheeses, and appetizers such as dumplings savored with jam, herring with onions, and mushrooms, with the Dutch beer Heineken as a beverage. Among the distinguished guests were Ambassador Meron Reuven, chief of protocol for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Rodica Radian-Gordon, head of the Europe Division at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Tamar Manor, owner of a Dutch Farm is located in the Northern Negev at Moshav Sde Tzvi, run by Uzi and Tamar Manor, as well as numerous Israeli and foreign diplomats, business leaders, members of the Dutch community in Israel and members of the diplomatic corps.
www.diplomacy.co.il staff congratulates the King and Queen of the Netherlands together with The Ambassador and his family, the Embassy Staff and the people of Netherlands on this festive occasion.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
Ms. Zohar Yaron is a member of Debate for Peace ( founded by Steven Aiello)