Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Dutch Diplo Talk

The tentacles of the Dutch Consulate General

30 Oct 2015

Nineteen people make up the staff of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in San Francisco: five investment officers, three business-to-business officers, three innovation officers, three consular officers, three assistants, one communications officer, and yours truly. We also usually have six interns who are an important addition to our team. Together, we are the body of the Consulate General, but we also have many tentacles connected to our body.

The first is a group of eight honorary consuls: Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Seattle. They once helped the Dutch community with consular services and celebrated our national holiday, but now focus on economic diplomacy.

The second is a group of four public-private programs: OrangeGoesGreen, Coast2Coast e-Mobility, Healthcare Innovation Transfer, and Digital Media. The first three are located in our offices, and we host many of their events. Our government pays half of the costs of the programs, while participating companies pay the other half. I am a member of their advisory boards, but each has an independent program director.

A third resource for us is the Dutch entrepreneurs who live on the American West Coast and are ready to give free economic assistance to startups. The most organized way is to be member of the mentoring network while others are willing to give a speech or participate in a workshop. All of them can use our offices. When all of this becomes time consuming, there are Dutch and American commercial consultants who can help startups find their way.

We are also connected to the Dutch in the Netherlands. Some consultants train startups and businesses for a successful start on the West Coast. Others are organizing the trip and accompanying the travelers. And then there are businesses, knowledge institutes, and governments busy with improving the ecosystem in the Netherlands itself.

All in all, it’s quite a complex network, but it works. It also clarifies the impressive outcome of all our efforts.

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.