Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Dutch Diplo Talk

A rich harvest is not an illusion

2 Nov 2015

photo: Neelie Kroes and Hugo von Meijenfeldt during the launch of the West Coast Chapter of the Mentoring Network.

Sometimes my profession comes close to that of a magician. Assisted by the team of the Consulate General I give people the illusion I achieve the impossible.

Five interconnected delegations arrived from the Netherlands last week. I fetched and brought most of the delegation members to the airport, received them at the chancery and the residence, and accompanied them to destinations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

One delegation was headed by Neelie Kroes, former European IT Commissioner and now Special Envoy Startup Delta. She came to see how the startup ecosystem in the Netherlands can be improved: entrepreneurship, venture capital, open technology, talent resources, government facilitation and infrastructure. She kicked off our West Coast Mentoring Network for arriving Dutch startups, and attracted companies that will connect to our Dutch Intern Program.

Ollongren encourages companies to settle European headquarters in Amsterdam
Another delegation was headed by Kajsa Ollongren, the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam. She encouraged companies to settle their European headquarters or distribution or data centers in Amsterdam and its surrounding area. She also deepened the relationship with San Francisco, with regard to artists and startups in residence, fighting the growing gap between high- and low-income housing, transport, and food.

Rob van Gijzel, the mayor of Eindhoven, strengthened his ties with Singularity University, and many incubators and accelerators, to further link them to his city’s Brainport. The other two delegations supported all these processes, one the one hand from the national government, on the other from individual companies that are eager to build a competitive Dutch ecosystem.

In between, as EU chair we received Ambassador David O’Sullivan for a meeting with the Consular Corps in San Francisco, and we were able to take our important part in the annual Bioneers Conference.

Where does this all lead to? No trade or investment agreements between companies were signed. Much ado about nothing? Agreements were not the purpose of the delegations, only improvement of the fertility of the soils both in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Netherlands. It has been improved in such a manner that I’m sure the harvest can only be rich.

This blog was posted earlier in Hugo’s Weekly.

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About the author

Hugo Von Meijenfeldt
Written by Hugo Von Meijenfeldt

Consul-General in San Francisco

Hugo von Meijenfeldt was appointed as representative for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the 13 westernmost United States in August 2013.

Prior to his current position, Hugo was Deputy Director General at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He also served as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2009 until 2013. In this capacity, he led Dutch participation in global diplomatic activities to reach a climate agreement.

Previously, Hugo was Director for Soil, Water and Rural Environment. For several years he held the position of Deputy Director for International Affairs, Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Policy of UN-ECE Geneva, and Head of the European Policy Division (including the EU Presidency in 1997). From 1982 until 1991, he was Legal Counsel to the soil clean-up division.

Hugo earned his Masters in Public Law and Policy at the Free University in Amsterdam in 1981. He is member of the WorldConnectors and the Sustainability Challenge Foundation.