Speech by His Majesty the King at the opening of Holland House in Bogotá, Colombia

22 november 2013

Ladies and gentlemen,

It's a great pleasure to be here with you today. Colombia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are neighbours that grow better acquainted, and value each other's friendship more, with each passing year.

The closer we work together, the more we appreciate the ties we share. And the more opportunities we see for broadening and deepening those ties. This is felt strongly in the Netherlands and on the Caribbean islands that are part of our Kingdom.

Our partnership is like a young tree. Each year, its trunk grows stronger. Each year, its crown spreads wider. And each year, its branches bear more fruit.

It's impressive to witness how Colombia is working to promote growth and renewal in all kinds of areas.

You have achieved significant results, like improving the security situation and the business climate. You've also achieved success in water management, and in the responsible stewardship of your country's unique natural riches. 'Responsabilidad social empresarial' has Colombia's full attention.

The Netherlands is proud to be stepping up its relations with Colombia. The ties between our countries' governments and businesses are growing closer and closer. And public-private partnerships are blossoming, too.

Take the modernisation of the historic Canal del Dique, in which Royal HaskoningDHV has a prominent role.

Another example is the recent honour bestowed on architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA: a commission to masterplan the Bogotá Centro Administrativo Nacional.

There are already around fifty Dutch companies highly active here. And Colombia has discovered the Netherlands, too. We are already one of your biggest export destinations within the European Union, thanks largely to the port of Rotterdam.

This Holland House in Bogotá is a new public-private partnership.

I'm sure you can imagine how exciting it is for the Netherlands, which is a very low-lying country, to have a Holland House located 2,600 metres above sea level! 

Smaller businesses are as welcome here as big ones. I expect that this initiative will help many companies make the leap and establish new contacts.

There are many opportunities in countless sectors, including agriculture, horticulture, water, logistics, health care, life sciences and energy. Everyone is welcome at Holland House.

I wish you all the very best with your various activities.

Espero que continúen estrechándose las buenas relaciones entre Colombia y los Países Bajos. ¡Y que nuestra cooperación sea fructífera para todos!

Muchas gracias.