On 23 November 2016 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will become the first Dutch prime minister to address Indonesian parliament. It is rare for foreign political leaders to speak to Indonesian parliament. Rutte's speech is part of a four-day Dutch trade mission program to Indonesia. Mark Rutte is accompanied by Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Lilianne Ploumen, Infrastructure and the Environment Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen and Environment Minister Sharon Dijksma. In recent years the Netherlands and Indonesia have both been eager to enhance bilateral relations.
Between 21 and 24 November 2016 the Dutch delegation, consisting of Prime Minister Rutte, three Dutch ministers, and various Dutch corporate leaders will visit Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta and Semarang, a port city in Central Java. Considering Dutch expertise in water management (with about one-quarter of the Netherlands is located below sea level), the trade mission will specifically focus on maritime affairs. Reportedly, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (and other Indonesian government officials) will meet Rutte and his team to discuss bilateral trade relations, climate and waste management, as well as life sciences and health, horticulture and propagation and breeding materials.
Recently, Rutte said the upcoming visit to Indonesia will build on the reciprocal political and economic missions that have been conducted in recent years. Apart from broadening and enhancing both nations' strategic partnership, the visit will also accelerate the implementation of several joint initiatives. Themes on agenda in late November include the rule of law, safety & security, and efforts to combat terrorism. Rutte added the Dutch have specific knowledge that can help Indonesia, such as coastal management, port development, transport and logistics, healthcare and high-quality agriculture and horticulture.
Program Dutch Trade Mission to Indonesia:
|20 November 2016||• 20:45 (local Dutch time) flight from Amsterdam (KL0809)|
|21 November 2016||• 18:10 (local Indonesian time) arrival in Jakarta
• Kick-off meeting
|22 November 2016||• Seminars, visit companies, and network events in Jakarta
• Flight to Semarang (Central Java)
• Visit companies, and network events in Semarang
• Flight back to Jakarta
|23 November 2016||• Visit companies
• Network events
• Trade reception and dinner
|24 November 2016||• Visit companies
• Network event (lunch)
• Flight Jakarta-Amsterdam (KL0810)
Diplomatic Relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia
Relations between Indonesia and its former colonial masters have been volatile over the years. Notable examples of turbulent relations in the recent past (both positive and negative) include the following:
• In 2010 then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called off a state visit to the Netherlands at the very last moment after the separatist group 'Republic of South Moluccas' (RMS) - located in the Netherlands since 1966 - asked for Yudhoyono's arrest when touching ground in the Netherlands. Being head of the Indonesian state Yudhoyono would be held responsible for past war crimes. The Indonesian government requested certainty from the Dutch government that Yudhoyono would not be arrested and prosecuted. However, the Dutch government explained that such matters fall outside the scope of its authority (trias politica).
• In 2012 a tank deal (involving the purchase of 100 Dutch second-hand tanks), worth around USD $280 million, failed between Indonesia and the Netherlands after Dutch parliament disapproved the deal on concern that the Indonesian government could use these vehicles against its own people. Indonesian authorities were angry about this explanation, and it was particularly sensitive considering the Dutch are the former colonial power in Indonesia.
• In November 2013 diplomatic relations between both nations were good again when a group of Dutch politicians and more than one hundred Dutch company delegates, led by prime minister Mark Rutte, paid a four-day visit to Indonesia aiming to enhance bilateral relations and search for business opportunities between both countries.
• In January 2015 diplomatic relations between both countries went downhill after Indonesia went ahead - despite fierce resistance from Dutch authorities - with the execution of several convicted foreign drug traffickers, including one Dutch citizen. The Netherlands then temporarily recalled its ambassador from Jakarta.
• In April 2016 Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a two-day state visit to the Netherlands (part of his short visit to the European Union) where he was warmly welcomed by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. It was the first time in 16 years that an Indonesian president visited the Netherlands. This visit reportedly resulted in about USD $606 million worth of Dutch investment commitments in Indonesia.
• In late August/early September 2016 Queen Máxima of the Netherlands was in Indonesia for a three-day visit primarily to talk about the importance of financial inclusion (she came in her role as United Nation's Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development). Queen Máxima was warmly welcomed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
• In September 2016 Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, announced the Netherlands plans to stop sending development aid to Indonesia (and four other nations) from 2020 onward because the economy of Indonesia has strengthened significantly. Therefore relations between both countries can be labelled "trading partners" from 2020.
The future lies in Southeast Asia - Indonesia has much to offer in many ways - so we think a very good initiative!