Celebrating KingsDay 2016 :The Netherlands National Day
On April 20th 2016 the new Dutch Ambassador H.E. Mr. Gilles Arnout Beschoor Plug and his wife Louise held a reception at his residence in Hertzliya Pituach. Their lovely home was decorated with diverse paintings, flowers, and other items predominantly in the orange color scheme symbolizing the Netherlands.
The honorary guests, were Mr. Yoav Gallant, Minister of Construction and Housing and Chazan Daniël Colthof. Among the guests were Vered Pear Swid, Director General of the Prime Minister's office and head of the Authority for the advancement of the Status for women, Gad Proper, Chairman of the Israel-EU chamber of Commerce, and Ambassador Meron Reuben ,Israel Ministry Foreign Affairs, Pinhas Kimelman Deputy CEO – Finance Osem Group and Marc de Klyn, famous Artist painter from Holland.
A variety of traditional dutch cheeses were offered continuously to the guests among other delicious appetizers such has herring, dumplings savored with jam, onions and mushrooms, and of course Holland's local drink – 'Bitter' served in small champagne glasses, also orange in color, brought in especially to Israel from the Netherlands.
In addition there was a stand of The Dutch Farm in the garden with traditional products . The Dutch Farm is located in the Northern Negev at Moshav Sde Tzvi, run by Uzi and Tamar Manor.
The official ceremony commenced when the Ambassador addressed with some words in hebrew and then continued in english. He welcomed the guests and explained that :
“King’s Day year is celebrated at another date. Let me reassure you that the King hasn’t changed, his birthday is still on the 27th of April, that he and his family are all well – but we forwarded this reception with a week to the 20th of April because of Pesach next week.
Last year was again a confirmation of the excellent ties between the Netherlands and Israel. We had a steady stream of accomplishments, such as a number of major investments in the Netherlands, a continuous stream of start-ups heading towards Holland, quite some high-ranking visits here and in the Netherlands: government, business, knowledge, parliament. But today is not so much about the results. Today is more about how we got there. This would not have been possible without many of you present here and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you. Without you – Dutch and Israelis interested in eachother - an Embassy can do little. A nice example of our trade ties is the yearly sponsors of King’s Day and I would like to pay tribute to Heineken, Unilever/Straus, Frico, and Ocean. We deeply appreciate your help.
On a more personal note, my wife Louise and I would like to thank everyone who has been so kind to help us in settling down and introducing us to Israeli society. I can assure you that we look forward to live and work in this country, and to enjoy its people, culture, history, climate, kitchen, and we are happy that today we can share with you a typical Dutch event. We hope you enjoy the reception with some Dutch foods.
And so, Mr Minister, dear guests, allow me read to you the telegram that I will send to His Majesty the King next week, at the occasion of his birthday and on behalf of the Dutch community in Israel. Unfortunately it is in Dutch, but I can assure you it is quite polite.
Finally, I hope we will be able to meet again next year under even better circumstances, with intensified contacts between the whole spectre of our societies, improved futures for Dutch and Israelis and a better perspective for ending the conflicts in the region and closer at home, over de Green Line."
He emphasized that they advanced the celebration of National Day from the 27th of April, the exact birthday date of the King, to the 20th of April, due to the oncoming Passover Holidays. He spoke of the wonderful, friendly and cooperative relations between Israel and Holland and that he was absolutely delighted with the idea of spending many years in Israel with the necessary adjustments that go along with it, such as the Israeli Cuisine, the Israeli People and the different climate.
Minister Gallant responded on behalf of the Government and the State of Israel and its people : "I am pleased to represent the government of Israel at the celebration of Koningsdag – King’s Day.
The Netherlands and Israel have a long tradition of friendly relations, including an excellent relationship between our prime ministers, who recently met in Davos.
We enjoy close economic relations - the Netherlands is Israel’s fifth largest trade partner and the leading European investor in Israeli companies. Investments currently stand at 5 billion dollars, and we hope they will continue to expand.
The Israel-Netherlands Forum was held in Israel for the first time in December 2013, with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and a number of ministers attending. Prime Minister Netanyahu will pay a return visit to the Netherlands in September 2016, which we hope will further boost ties. Further to this, an Israeli-Dutch Innovation Day was held in The Hague in February 2016, on the topic of “smart cities”.
Our two countries also have close security cooperation, including on cyber-security, the military, counter-terrorism, and the police.
I am also pleased to mention the ceremony on the 14th April to announce a third honorary Israeli consul, Arjen Lont, from the northern provinces of the Netherlands, which further deepens our strong ties.
We wish the Netherlands success in your presidency of the European Union which began this year, and hope that under Dutch leadership, we will see a more balanced approach towards Israel in all EU forums.
Europe today faces great challenges in light of the immigration crisis. We watch with concern the growth of the radical right and the rise of antisemitism in Europe. We note the stand of the Netherlands against antisemitism, and we wish that this will continue.
We understand the Dutch people place importance on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and would welcome your engagement by encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations. By engaging in direct dialogue with no pre-conditions, the vision of two states living side by side, in peace and security, can be advanced.
We thank the Netherlands for the donation of a goods scanner at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, and the intention to donate another for the Allenby crossing. Projects like this enable increased import and export for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria. This can improve their conditions, while maintaining the security of Israeli forces.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Over 5,000 Dutch people have been recognised by Yad Vashem as 'Righteous Among the Nations', for saving Jews in the Holocaust, despite great personal risk. This is among the most per capita in the world, and testament to the values of the Dutch people.
Let us raise a toast to the bonds of friendship between The Netherlands and Israel; May our relationship continue to flourish in the years ahead."
To conclude the ceremony, The Ambassador invited the Cantor, Mr. Golthof, whose parents immigrated to Israel from Holland and it was the Ambassador himself who accompanied Mr. Golthof on piano, singing both the Dutch and Israeli Anthems. A truly unforgettable moment.
www.diplomacy.co.il staff congratulates the King and Queen in the Netherlands together with The Ambassador and his family, the whole of the ambassadorial Staff and the people of Netherlands in this special moment