Toespraak van Prinses Máxima bij de officiële afsluiting van de viering van 400 jaar betrekkingen tussen Nederland en Turkije te Rotterdam

11 december 2012

De toespraak is uitgesproken in het Engels.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I'm delighted to be here accompanying the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Babacan.

Today, we have come to the end of the 400 year celebration of the Dutch-Turkish relations. All the hard work in both countries to make this celebration a resounding success is most appreciated. A success both on the business and cultural side. The past year has been a great illustration of our history of diplomatic relations, trade and friendship. From the moment the Dutch ambassador Cornelis Haga set foot on Turkish soil in 1612, until now. Cultural diplomacy is a powerful tool for understanding each other. This year we had for example:

  • For the first time, a Turkish children's book has been translated into Dutch. Mol en de Levende Dingen,by author Sevim Ak, was presented at a primary school in The Haguewith over 500 Dutch-Turkish students.
  • Dutch designers showed their work during the Istanbul Design Week and during the first Istanbul Design Biennial.
  • The Netherlands hosted book fairs throughout Turkey.
  • Rembrandt and Vermeer were on display for the first time in your country.
  • Dutch music companies performed at nearly all Turkish music and theatre festivals, which was called 'Dutch Delight'.

Not to mention the visits of:

  • The Turkish President Mr. Gül to the Netherlands.
  • Her Majesty the Queen's visit to Turkey with the Dutch Dance Theatre.
  • The Dutch Prime Minister's visit with various enterprises.
  • My husband and I celebrated together with Deputy Prime Minister Babacan and his wife the end of our celebrations last month in Istanbul with a fantastic concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. We even got to cycle inIstanbul.

All this while the budget was limited, demanding a huge amount of creativity from all involved. Still, more than 400 activities have taken place. An overwhelming number. A great success. This was only possible through the determination and enthusiasm from many in both Dutch and Turkish society. Businesses, local governments, the cultural world and Turkish-Dutch associations. You have all made this year a success. Some of you are here today. Therefore, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen I would like to thank you all for your very hard and dedicated work.

Today we end our year of celebration. But our cooperation will go on.

  • Politically, through the Wittenburg Conference next year.
  • Economically, through our trade missions.
  • And culturally with Turkeyas a priority country in Dutch international cultural policy.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

As a small token of our appreciation, you will all receive a souvenir book. It's a fantastic tribute to all Turks and Dutchmen who have been involved during the last year. But let us now first enjoy a performance by the Ricciotti Ensemble, the fastest symphony orchestra in the world. Together with rising star Karsu Donmez.

Thank you.