ISLAMABAD: The Netherlands celebrated the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Pakistan on the occasion of the birthday of his Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander.

The reception was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government dignitaries, representatives of the diplomatic corps, civil society, journalists and members of the business community. Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman was the chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, Dutch Ambassador Mrs. Henny de Vries said: “Today, we are gathered here to celebrate a milestone in the history of our international relations: the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We are also very excited that after years of not being able to do so, we can finally celebrate the birthday of His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander.”

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman congratulated the guests on the auspicious occasion of the King’s birthday and the commemoration of 75 years of bilateral relations between the two countries.

She said: “Thank you for always being with us in moments of stress and crisis. I recall that as soon as this flood was over, the ambassador who had barely arrived in Islamabad, came to me herself to offer her country’s excellence in water management and asked how their team could help Pakistan in this moment of extreme crisis.

“We were going through a life changing moment, one third of the country was inundated, we had never seen a record-breaking catastrophic event like this.”

“Pakistan is eager to learn from the Dutch expertise about water and flood management, and this mutual cooperation is the highlight of our 75 years-old friendship,” she added.

The embassy also displayed a photo exhibition titled ‘After Us The Deluge’ by renowned Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen who captured the impact of rising sea levels caused by global warming on communities across the world.

Instrumental renditions of the national anthems of the two nations were performed by the Rung Band led by Wajih Nizami.

The Embassy also took the opportunity to showcase some authentic Dutch cuisine, including Appeltaart (Apple Pie), Bossche Bollen (Dutch Chocolate Profiteroles), Oranjetompoezen (Puff pastry with pastry cream), Bitterballen (Dutch meatballs) and Kip sate (Chicken Satay).

The celebration highlighted the depth of partnership between both countries, and showcased the shared commitment towards promoting sustainable development, addressing climate change and fostering innovation.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2023

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