We share the following message from our Ambassador, Carmen Gonsalves, about the King’s Day reception.
Every year on April 27th, the birthday of His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander, is celebrated. We organized, for the first time in person since 2019, our King’s Day reception. It is a moment where we reflect on the friendship between Chile and the Netherlands. Furthermore, this year’s celebrations took place against the backdrop of war on our continent, reminding us all of the precious freedoms we cherish
Chile and the Netherlands share many values, such as a strong commitment to democracy. In Chile, this has been manifested again through the recent elections and subsequently the harmonious change of command. It was an honor for the Kingdom of the Netherlands to have attended the change of command on March 11th through the presence of the Prime Minister of Curaçao! It is also inspiring to see how Chile, through the constitutional process, has been able to emerge from a political crisis by opening a civic space to create a common vision to strengthen democratic institutions, diversity, and inclusiveness of the Chilean society. The recognition of the indigenous communities, the focus on gender equality and the diversity rights; In all these fields, Chile is making great strides. To illustrate this, the intellectual leadership of former President and current member of the Constitutional Convention, Eliza Loncón, who also did her doctorate at the University of Leiden, is internationally recognized.
It is the beginning of a new era for Chile! Illustrated by the fact that no less than 60% of the cabinet of Ministers is made up of women, and with the announcement of a feminist foreign policy, Chile is sending a strong and positive signal to the world. And with the approval of same-sex marriage, Chile entered the international vanguard of the defense of diversity. For these reasons, I am confident that the new Magna Carta will be firmly anchored in international law and will also reflect the universality of human rights.
What our nations also have in common is our entrepreneurial and trading spirit. Both Chile and the Netherlands have a well-developed business base. But at the same time, the private sector in our countries is confronted with the need to innovate and change. Both countries are visibly affected by climate change: the water crisis in Chile worries us all. The Netherlands, given its experience in solving problems related to water and not only based on the famous story of the boy Hansje Brinkers who covered the hole in the dam with his finger… is very committed to cooperating with Chile on issues of water, agriculture, and the energy transition.
In recent months I have been able to visit and learn about several projects that we are doing together, such as the artificial replenishment of aquifers in the Coquimbo region and the sustainable water management applied to the the cultivation of avocados in Aconguaga. In January, the Port of Rotterdam visited Chile within the framework of our cooperation on green hydrogen and sustainable ports. It is important to find solutions for the good of citizens and the environment, but also for the good of companies that yearn for a sustainable and stable future. I hope that we can continue to cooperate closely for a circular economy and – agriculture and for sustainable mobility, facing the challenge of climate change together.
In the third and last place, we share with Chile the solid commitment to Human Rights, International Law and multilateral institutions as guardians of peace, freedom and human well-being. We are living in an extremely difficult moment after Russia so brutally attacked Ukraine. The images of the atrocities in Mariupol and Bucha, the suffering of innocent people, children, senior citizens, women, are etched in our memory forever. At the same time, we are witnessing incredible courage and resilience on the part of the Ukrainian people. In the Netherlands, all of this moves us, and people have donated large sums for humanitarian aid, the Dutch people are opening their doors to give shelter to Ukrainians, and, in addition, the Dutch government sends military and humanitarian aid.
It is remarkable that Chile, a country so far from Ukraine geographically, is so adamant in its solidarity. We are grateful, the Netherlands and the other member states of the European Union, for the strong condemnation by the Chilean government of the injustice that Ukraine is suffering at the hands of Russia. The support of Chile, a country in tune with our values, will contribute to the loss of aggression, victory of peace and justice.
One way or another, I wanted to show our solidarity and great respect for Ukraine during our King’s Day reception. For this reason, we had a very special guest, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine, Mr. Vladyslav Bohorad. We commissioned a flower arrangement in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow, which had a central place during our event and was offered at the end of my speech to Mr. Vladyslav Bohorad. It is a small gesture that I hope has reflected our empathy and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Subsequently, we ended the opening ceremony of the event singing the anthems of both Chile and the Netherlands and we raised our glasses in honor of the strong ties between Chile and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. May we strengthen them even more! And for the Dutch, lang leve de Koning!
The reception was a great success, thanks to my team and all our guests. It was pleasant to have this opportunity to share with all our contacts, in one way or another, all friends of the Netherlands. And I cannot forget to mention that we were able to enjoy various Dutch cheeses (much loved amongst Chileans), homemade bitterballen, fries and much more.
To conclude, we offered our guests colorful tulips grown in the south of Chile from Chilean-Dutch companies that also make use of Dutch mother bulbs.