A delegation from the Netherlands will be in Alaska from August 10-12.
Andre Haspels, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States, and Dirk Jansen, Consul General of the Netherlands based in San Francisco, will meet with business and government officials to strengthen relations between the Netherlands and Alaska.
This is the first trip by the diplomats to the country.
The Honorary Consul of Alaska in the Netherlands is Irene Post-Green of Anchorage, who is coordinating the events. Since 2017, it links Dutch companies with Alaska and provides consular support to Dutch citizens in Alaska.
“Alaska is a resource-rich country that is at the fore in energy production, but is also feeling the impact of climate change. The Netherlands has a proven track record in agriculture, energy and water management,” Ambassador Haspels said. “I look forward to learning more about the modern frontier country and connecting with its people and businesses.” .
“Trade between Alaska and the Netherlands is somewhat limited, but it is increasing,” said Consul General Jansen, whose office in San Francisco covers all 13 westernmost states, including Alaska.
Alaska exports $130 million worth of goods and services to the Netherlands, 99 percent of which is seafood, he said. Alaska also imports $5.5 million worth of goods and services from the Netherlands, 95 percent of which are computers and other electrical equipment.
“I see great opportunities to do more business together,” he said.
During their visit, diplomats will meet with local business leaders and government officials such as Governor Mike Dunleavy and Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson. They will meet representatives from the World Trade Center and visit Anchorage International Airport, the world’s fourth-busiest cargo hub.
Agriculture is high on their agenda as they will visit Bell Arboretum, Anchorage’s largest greenhouse operator, and travel to Palmer to meet with the Director of Agriculture for the State of Alaska.
There they also meet local farmers, including the largest potato farm in Alaska, founded by Bert and Seuss Vanderwill, both of Dutch descent.
The Netherlands is twice the size of New Jersey and can match Alaska 41 times, but it is the second largest exporter of agricultural products after only the United States.
The Dutch have found innovative solutions to efficiently grow crops, for example in greenhouses. Ambassador Haspels stated: “Growing food in the Netherlands does not require a lot of water, space or even sun. Dutch farmers are experts in sustainable food production by controlling the growing environment. This can be a very interesting experience for Alaska.”
The Netherlands produces and exports natural gas. By 2050, the Netherlands wants to be virtually zero emissions. The country is experimenting with energy from waves, algae, and biomass. To ensure a resilient electricity grid, the Netherlands is looking into smart and micro grids, most popular in Alaska. The Dutch enter into partnerships to exchange experiences and exchange experiences.
The ambassador is interested in rising sea levels in his lowland country. The Dutch research institute Deltares is working with the US Geological Survey on coastal research in Alaska and has made models to map the effects of climate change on the Arctic coast. It is an example of how Holland and Alaska can work together.
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