December 13, 2017

A Kiwi in the Netherlands

Biking as a new Dutch, Ambassador Walker is going out from her Embassy in The Hague. Photography by Vincent Delaere, New Zealand Embassy.

By H.E. Lyndal Walker, Ambassador of New Zealand to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Kia Ora, how exciting to be living in The Hague. Feeling like I had won the lottery I arrived from a New Zealand winter just in time for the tail end of the European summer!

In addition to being responsible for New Zealand’s relations with the Netherlands, I am also accredited to Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland, as well as the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court.

My previous overseas assignments have included Rome, Niue, Singapore, Bangkok and Washington DC. Prior to coming to The Hague, I was Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Consular Division providing consular services, advice and support to New Zealanders travelling and living overseas, plus leading the Ministry’s response to major international incidents affecting New Zealand citizens. There was never a dull moment!

Here in The Hague we are a small but very active Embassy – there are nine of us and there is plenty to keep a us busy as we seek to make the most of what the Netherlands and our accreditations have to offer New Zealand, and we can offer in return. This includes the intersection of various strategic interests and priorities with our own.

The Netherlands is a close partner of New Zealand, with a relationship based on shared values and interests. It is also one of our oldest relationships, with its origins dating back to the sighting of New Zealand by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman nearly 375 years ago. We have a long history of partnership and cooperation on global issues such as peace, security, and protection of the environment. In 2016 our relationship was further strengthened by the successful state visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima accompanied by a business delegation.

There are also important cultural and extensive people-to-people links between our two countries. More than 150,000 New Zealanders claim Dutch heritage, and there is a sizeable “Kiwi” expatriate community in the Netherlands. We met a lot of them recently when they visited the Embassy to cast their vote in the recent New Zealand General Election.

The Netherlands is an important source of tourists for New Zealand. These connections were enhanced with “Te Hono ki Aotearoa” – a waka taua on permanent loan to the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden. The only “living” waka in Europe, it has its own Dutch crew trained in Māori protocol and its own haka.

Keep in touch with us via Facebook – www.facebook.com/NZthehague and if you are planning on visiting New Zealand check out www.newzealand.com

We would love to see you on our side of the world!

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