Dutch Ambassador visits Norfolk to build business relationships
Business links between Norfolk and the Netherlands were strengthened during a visit to the county by the Dutch Ambassador to the UK.
Among topics discussed was a proposal for an EU-funded Knowledge and Innovation Community in Food, strengthening the existing links between the Institute of Food Research on Norwich Research Park and Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. Also discussed was a further conference on North Sea offshore wind opportunities and collaboration with Dutch companies, building on the success of the Anglo Dutch Wind Conference organised by EEEGR in Cambridge in 2011.
Ambassador Pim Waldeck and Tessel van Essen, Senior Commercial Attaché at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, were invited to attend a special dinner held at Birketts’ offices in Norwich. They met representatives from local businesses and organisations interested in increasing connections to the Netherlands and from Dutch companies already doing business in the UK.
Among those attending were Paul Chun, Managing Director of KLM Engineering, Andy Wood, Chair of the New Anglia LEP, Simon Gray, CEO of EEEGR, the former Chairman of Abellio UK Anton Valk and Derrick Murphy and David White, Leader and Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council.
The next day the special guests were taken on a tour of the county which included a visit to the Norwich Research Park to meet representatives from the Innovation Centre, the John Innes Centre and the Institute of Food Research. In particular, Professors Tim Brocklehurst and David Boxer from the Institute of Food Research discussed the proposal for an EU-funded Knowledge and Innovation Community in Food. Earlier the visitors toured Norwich Cathedral hosted by the Revd Graham Smith, Dean of Norwich and met representatives of the University of East Anglia to discuss further links.
Later the Ambassador and Senior Commercial Attaché travelled to Great Yarmouth for an informal networking event at EastPort UK, followed by a tour of the Outer Harbour.
The visit was organised by Andrew Wood in his capacity as both as a member of the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce and head of the Anglo Dutch Desk at Birketts.
Andrew Wood said: “It was an extremely useful visit which further increased good will and strengthened connections. Businesses in Norfolk in particular are well placed to work with companies in the Netherlands.
He continued: “This visit follows a pattern I have established over the last 15 years as part of Shaping Norfolk’s Future highlighting the close historic and geographic links with the Netherlands which culminated in the Apeldoorn Conference of 2005.”
Matthew Jones, Chief Operating Officer at Norwich Research Park said: “We are keen to strengthen our existing business and research relationships with The Netherlands, particularly in the food, health and environment sectors. We were delighted to share the world class expertise on the Norwich Research Park with the Ambassador and Attaché and to discuss opportunities for closer collaboration.”
Ambassador Waldeck said: ““I much appreciated this very informative visit putting great emphasis on the important historic, current and future economic links between East Anglia and the Netherlands. The Embassy of the Netherlands greatly supports these trade links and we will continue our efforts in assisting companies that are looking to work on either side of the North Sea.”