blog post | 11-18-2022 | Learn about our ambassadors and their work
For the Dutch ambassador to Mexico, Wilfried Mohr, there is not a single day in the country with which the Netherlands has maintained diplomatic relations for nearly 200 years. Both countries think alike about many important issues. Educational and cultural institutions from Mexico and the Netherlands also know how to find each other.
Do we in the Netherlands have a good image of Mexico?
“Mexico is much more diverse than many Dutch people think. When people think of Mexico, drug violence is often the first thing that comes to mind. As if life here is just like Netflix series like Narcos and Ozark. And yes, there is violence and insecurity, but Mexico is much more than that.The country is the fourth largest economy in the world and a member of the G20 and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).In addition to tourism, the country has an industrial infrastructure that can compete with other countries in the competitive global market.In addition, the nature of Mexico Indescribably beautiful and diverse, the cultural offer is grand and the food is exquisite.”
Is it interesting to be an ambassador to Mexico?
“Every day is a pleasure to work here. The work of my team and I is different every day. We work on different files in the fields of politics, culture, education and human rights. Mexico is a large country with a federal structure, which is why it is important that we regularly show our face outside the capital. We also organize trade missions from the Netherlands We visit Mexican and Dutch companies. We also organize all kinds of cultural activities.”
You are also an ambassador to Belize. How do you combine the two jobs?
Belize is a small country with which the Netherlands cooperates well in the context of the United Nations, for example. There is no political and economic cooperation so broad and deep. So I spend 95 percent of my time working in Mexico. I try to visit Belize once or twice a year. An employee recently visited the mobile passport station. There are about 60 Dutch citizens who sometimes need consular assistance, such as a new passport.
Do you speak enough Spanish after two years?
“Fortunately it works well. I can manage myself in all situations now. During the ‘class’, 35 years ago, Spanish was my language of choice. When I got here two years ago, I learned my Spanish through courses and learned a lot. I advise anyone who wants to live and work here to learn Spanish. You will not succeed in English only, certainly not in the public sector and outside the capital.
How is the relationship between the Netherlands and Mexico?
Bilateral relations are good. The Netherlands was the second country to recognize Mexico’s independence at the end of the Mexican War of Independence against Spain. Diplomatic relations between the two countries go back nearly 200 years. The Netherlands and Mexico have the same opinion on many important files. We work together when it comes to human rights, non-proliferation, climate, cyber resilience and digital security. In addition, economic and trade relations are intense and growing.
Is there cooperation in areas other than politics?
“Our human rights program is an important priority. We have identified three priorities: freedom of expression (especially protecting journalists), promoting diversity (targeting specifically the LGBTIQ+ community) and preventing violence against women (femicide). A lot is also happening in the field of education. Dutch and Mexican universities exchange hundreds of students each year. There is a lot of exchange, especially between medical, technical and agricultural courses. The Embassy organizes an annual meeting for Mexican students who go to the Netherlands to learn about our country. We organize a meeting twice a year at the residence for all Mexican graduates from Holland to maintain relationships and contacts. For Dutch faculty associations traveling to Mexico, we provide a presentation on Mexico upon request when they are here.”
Does Mexico offer opportunities for the Dutch business community?
Mexico is the fourth largest economy in the world and has a free trade agreement with the United States and Canada. Eighty percent of Mexican exports are destined for the United States. Thus, Dutch companies active here have access to the United States as a sales market in addition to the Mexican market of 130 million people. In addition, a new trade agreement between the European Union and Mexico is currently being finalized. Hopefully this will be signed off in 2023. Embassy progress, with NBSO (Dutch Business Support Office) in Queretaro and six honorary consulates that support companies that are active or want to become active in Mexico. We do this, among other things, by providing information and advice (eg on certificates and importing products), making contacts, but also by organizing company missions.
Mexico is more than just drug and gang violence, but it is part of everyday reality. How is there cooperation on this topic?
This issue has so far been mainly handled by the Washington Police Attache. However, due to the cabinet’s “undermining agenda”, it was decided that Mexico would have an independent police attaché. It will start in early 2023. This supplement will soon be the focus of cooperation between our two countries in the fight against organized crime. And this fight is badly needed. For example, the Netherlands is interesting for the Mexican cartels in the production of synthetic drugs because of the skill and experience that the Netherlands has in producing XTC. Thus, the fight against drugs is not limited to stopping only exports to Europe from South America, but also the fight against activities in the Netherlands.
With two exhibitions and a TV series, there is great appreciation and interest for Frida Kahlo in the Netherlands. What does the embassy do for cultural exchange between Mexico and the Netherlands?
“The embassy has a budget for cultural activities that we organize annually through prof open communication swears. Last year we received forty proposals. Two winners have been chosen this year. The first project was a collaboration between Dutch and Mexican filmmakers in the context of the Guanajuato International Film Festival. The second winning project is an exhibition of paintings by disabled artists. In 2023 we will split the budget between two open calls. Proposals can then be submitted in January and July.”
What can the Netherlands learn from Mexico?
“I like”He canMentality “and adaptability of entrepreneurs in Mexico. You can taste this entrepreneurial mentality especially in the north of the country, where the focus is on the United States (US). In this part of Mexico there are many companies that produce and supply the United States. Some companies “It is American or European owned and others are entirely Mexican. In all companies you will find Mexicans in all positions; from the assembly line to management and board. It is impressive to see how the private sector has developed over the past 50 years.”
I have been an ambassador for two years now. What are the spearheads for the remaining two years?
“Thanks to the water mission last September, I expect the business community to take advantage of many other opportunities. Another priority will be the scene hosting the European Union next year at the world’s largest Spanish-language book fair. There we want to present the world of Dutch literature. In the field of human rights, The Netherlands will launch a project next year that will help Mexico identify missing persons.Since 2006,100,000 people have disappeared.50,000 bodies have been found so far unidentified.This project offers families of missing persons a chance to end a terrible period.This project is being implemented by An organization from Guatemala that has gained expertise in identification through DNA testing in that country, Bosnia and Rwanda, and is being carried out in Nayarit, a state in western Mexico.In short, we work on business, politics, human rights, culture and security files.No day is the same here and this What makes this country so special.”