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On Tuesday 30 April 30, Ambassador of The Netherlands Caspar Veldkamp hosted a festive reception to mark the abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in favor of her son Prince Willem-Alexander. Beatrix, who recently turned 75, has reigned as Queen of the Kingdom of The Netherlands for 33 years – longer than any other monarch in Dutch history. The heir to the throne, Prince Willem-Alexander (45), the Queen’s eldest child, will be The Netherland’s first King in 100 years.

Last month a special survey issued by The Embassy of The Netherlands in Israel, in anticipation of the royal exchange, was conducted by the renowned survey institute TNS Global. The survey included 500 respondents, among a representative same of the entire Hebrew speaking population aged 18 and over.

The survey reveals several interesting and at times surprising results:

Firstly, the survey found that a fifth of the respondents rank The Netherlands as being the friendliest European country towards Israel (after Germany). The main reason for this, according to the results, is The Netherlands’ continuing support of Israel regarding political issues (86%) and because of the low level of anti-Semitism (77%) compared to other EU member states. In general over two-thirds (68%) of the respondents expressed a general positive attitude towards the Netherlands.

Secondly, another surprising result was the Israeli perception of The Netherlands economic relation with Israel. The Netherlands is not considered a significant bilateral trading partner. Only 23% of the respondents consider The Netherlands to be relevant for Israel economically.

NL IL: In 2012 export from The Netherlands to Israel amounted to $ 2.84 billion dollar (compared to $ 2.76 billion in 2011). This places The Netherlands in fourth place in Europe regarding export to Israel, after Germany, Switzerland and Italy. IL NL: In 2012 export from Israel to The Netherlands amounted to $ 2.3 billion dollars (compared to $ 2.16 billion in 2011). The Netherlands is the second largest Israeli export destination in Europe, after the United Kingdom. The total amount of bilateral trade between Israel and The Netherlands herewith reached an all-time high in 2012 exceeding the five-billion dollar mark. The Netherlands rates sixth in the largest economies of the European Union with renowned multinationals such as Phillips, Heineken, Unilever, Boskalis, AkzoNobel, DSM, Shell and ASML/NXP.

According to the respondents in the survey, one of the strong aspects of the Netherlands is its citizens who they consider to be friendly and tolerant. The natural beauty of The Netherlands is also considered to be a strongpoint of The Netherlands and it is known for its museums and artwork. Half of the respondents stated that the main reason for visiting The Netherlands is its famous art museums (48%).

Talking about the upcoming Abdication and Investiture ceremonies taking place on Queensday 30 April 2013, The Ambassador of The Netherlands to Israel, Casper Veldkamp, stated:  

"We would like to show our sincere gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix for the immense contribution she has made to our country in her role as Queen of The Netherlands in the past 33 years. At the same time, we are excited about the Investiture of her son Prince Willem-Alexander who will become King Willem Alexander on 30 April. We wish him great success in his new role as head of state. According to a recent TNS survey commissioned by our Embassy, Israel considers The Netherlands to be one of the friendliest countries in Europe. I am confident that King Willem Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima will maintain the warm bond between our two nations and I hope to welcome them to Israel in the future.”

In the picture: Avi Hoffman, the owner of Ringel nursery, handing Ambassador Veldkamp and his wife Anne
a new species of orange carnation which was developed in his nursery and named Maxima, after the new Dutch princess. 
Photographer: Tomer Neuberg.