Fresh boost for Dutch relations with Indonesia
This year the Netherlands is giving a fresh boost to its relations with Indonesia, starting with a working visit to Jakarta today and tomorrow by foreign minister Frans Timmermans.
‘Indonesia has a rapidly growing economy and is primarily focused on Asia, the United States and Australia,’ Mr Timmermans said. ‘We have strong historical ties with Indonesia, but this does not mean we can take our relationship for granted. So we are investing in personal contacts – politically, economically and culturally. After all, our two countries have a great deal to offer each other.’
The Netherlands is Indonesia’s second largest trade partner in the European Union. The volume of reciprocal trade volume went up by 20% in 2012. Through the port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport the Netherlands plans to maintain its role as Indonesia's gateway to the EU. In the meantime, Dutch investment in Indonesia continues to boom.
Later this year, other Dutch government ministers will travel to Indonesia. In the autumn, the Prime Minister Mark Rutte will visit the country, possibly with a trade delegation.
Today, Mr Timmermans is meeting the Deputy Governor of Jakarta, Mr Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, to discuss flooding problems in the capital, among other things. The Netherlands has been advising Indonesia on how to tackle flooding since 2007. ‘This is an enormous job, and Dutch businesses are playing an important part in it alongside our government agencies and knowledge institutions,’ Mr Timmermans said. ‘No country does this sort of thing better than the Netherlands.’
In the Erasmus Huis cultural centre Mr Timmermans will have a meeting with Indonesians who have studied in the Netherlands. Over 1,200 Indonesians are currently studying in the Netherlands and there are about 250 joint ventures involving Dutch knowledge and educational institutions and Indonesian counterparts.
On Thursday, Mr Timmerman’s schedule will include a meeting with Indonesia’s foreign minister, Mr Marty Natalegawa.