Working visit to Texas and California: “We celebrate the good relationship between the Netherlands and the United States” | Ministries

Ministries

Blog entry | 09-02-2022 | BZ members all over the world

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Dirk is Consul General in San Francisco, Ruth is in Miami, and is also in charge of Texas.

Texas and California are the two largest states in the United States in terms of population and size of economy. Important countries for America, but also for the Netherlands. The United States is the Netherlands’ most important trading partner outside the European Union, with Texas and California topping the list.

good friendship

Dirk finds that the Netherlands and California know each other well. Many Dutch companies and startups are active in California. Also, nearly a million Californians are of Dutch descent, and you’ll find museums with extensive Dutch collections and you can even take a course in Dutch studies at the university. Together with California, we lead the world in LGBTQ+ rights.

In Texas, a quarter of a million people also have a Dutch background and Dutch knowledge companies and institutions are active in various sectors, such as energy and coastal protection. The Netherlands and Texas also have a long history in safety. “For example, the Dutch Air Force has had training at Fort Hood for over 26 years, including with Chinook helicopters,” Roth says.

Roth: ‘The Netherlands and the United States are partners in a future-resistant world. We work together on climate, safety and health.”

high visit

Under the guidance of Minister Liesje Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Queen Maxima will visit San Francisco and California’s Silicon Valley. In Texas, the delegation visited Houston and Austin. Parallel to the working visit, a delegation of CEO from VNO-NCW will travel and close to a hundred Dutch companies interested in California will visit San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The four-day visit underscores the importance of a good relationship, Consuls General says. Dirk: “We celebrate the good relationship between the Netherlands and the United States. Transatlantic cooperation is also essential to maintaining security and prosperity in both the United States and the Netherlands. Roth adds that this strong relationship provides opportunities to work together. We need each other as partners for the world of the future. For example, By working together on climate, safety and health.

Dirk says Queen Maxima’s presence also opens doors that don’t normally open so easily. “The governors and CEOs of major American corporations are coming to San Francisco because the Dutch Queen is visiting.” Ruth nodded in agreement. In preparation for the visit, we are jointly developing a program in which we bring interested parties together. This setup can be an important stepping stone, or provide a boost to further collaboration.

Dirk: In Los Angeles, Dutch companies are building bike lanes. We have been working on this for decades in the Netherlands, which means we have a lot to offer.”

Dutch selection of robots, storm barriers and bike paths

According to the Consul General, there are plenty of opportunities for Dutch companies and knowledge institutions. From collaborations on water, renewable energy and technology in Texas to innovation in health care, mobility and agriculture in California. Dirk mentions agriculture and horticulture as an example. We have worked with California fruit growers for years. They use Dutch technology to experiment with the selection of robots.

Also in Texas, which is increasingly devastated by hurricanes and torrential floods, Roth says, there is an interest in specific knowledge of the Netherlands. Sea-level rise and severe storms have had a major impact on the cities on the Texas coast. Texas is now working on major projects to strengthen the coast, for example by building a storm barrier, inspired by Dutch models.

In the field of cycling, the Netherlands also has a lot of knowledge to share. Many American cities are now focusing on car comfort, but they want it to be different. Like in Austin for example. The city has become more bicycle friendly, in part due to knowledge sharing and cooperation with the Netherlands. Dirk gets to know this too. In Los Angeles, Dutch companies are building bike lanes. We in the Netherlands have been working on this for decades, which means we have a lot to offer.

Technology and startups

California and Texas are two important states when it comes to technology and innovation. California, for example, is at the forefront of wearable medical technology, such as smartwatches and digital healthcare. And in Texas you’ll find a huge semiconductor industry, which produces computer chips, for example.

Moreover, there are many opportunities for Dutch startups in Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world. “A startup aspiring to become a global player cannot ignore Silicon Valley,” says Dirk. “Due to the presence of important universities and the wide availability of investment capital, Silicon Valley has the best technology ecosystem in the world.” So the Consulate General in California provides additional support to startups, for example through the ScaleNL program.

Attractive site

Dirk says US companies also know how to find their way into the Netherlands. Many major companies, such as Nike, Netflix, Uber and Zoom, are based in Europe in the Netherlands. Texas companies such as Dell, HP and Exxon have also invested heavily in the Netherlands. The Consuls General also wants to draw attention to the attractiveness of the Netherlands during this visit. We are centrally located and well connected to the rest of the continent. The quality of life is high, the population is highly educated and speaks good English.

Team

Dutch representations support entrepreneurs who want to enter the US market all year round. Therefore, this business visit is not an isolated activity, as Ruth emphasizes. “The visit responds to important topics, such as climate and health, and the opportunities we have identified for this purpose.”

Consuls General do not do this alone. We work closely with the Embassy in Washington and other Consulates General and Honorary Consuls. In Texas and California, we also have Dutch Business Support Offices (NBSO), which can help entrepreneurs when there is no embassy or consulate, says Dirk. According to Roth, the local networks of the National Bureau of Statistics and honorary consuls have great added value. We really work together as a team. Together we look at what we can do for each other and especially for entrepreneurs.

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