A photo-impression
In 2014, Sweden and the Netherlands celebrated 400 years of diplomatic relations and friendship by
commemorating the establishment of the first Swedish embassy in the world (The Hague, 5 April 1614).
The Swedish Embassy in The Hague and the Netherlands Embassy in Stockholm agreed to celebrate this
occasion by highlighting the good bilateral relations between our countries. An extensive programme with
a.o. cultural activities, economic seminars and visits was planned by both embassies. Keywords were
“future-oriented” and “talent-development”.
All staff members were included in the planning which started at a brainstorm meeting in November 2012.
Regular video-meetings were held between the Swedish and Netherlands Embassy.
The 1614 Treaty between Sweden and The Netherlands
In April 1614, a peace and friendship covenant was signed between
Sweden and the Netherlands which, among other things, concluded that
both countries would exchange ambassadors. The reason behind choosing
The Netherlands as the first country to establish an embassy, came quite
naturally since relations with The Netherlands were of great importance to
Sweden's foreign politics.
The first permanent embassy was opened in The Hague under the reign of
Gustav II Adolf.
14 October 2013: During a formal courtesy call of the new Dutch King and Queen to their Swedish
counterparts attention was paid to the upcoming anniversary year. During this visit, the royal couple was
accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Frans Timmermans, who also had a bilateral meeting with
Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima
were received by King Carl XVI Gustaf and
Queen Silvia together with Crown Princess
Victoria, Prince Daniel and Prince Carl Philip.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima also
visited the Swedish Parliament. They were received by
the Speaker of the Riksdag Per Westerberg, his Deputy
Speakers and Secretary-General of the Riksdag Kathrin
In January, the year kicked-off!
Both in The Netherlands and in Sweden, receptions were organised to mark the start of the anniversary
year. At these events, guests were encouraged to initiate own ideas.
17 January: Kick off event in The Hague
28 January: Kick off event in Stockholm
Cultural events
During the year 2014, many cultural events took place. In Sweden, the autumn was dedicated to cultural
activities. With the help of DutchCulture, 10 cultural projects were selected with young talent and talent
development as a specific focus.
Ambassador Philip de Heer: “The Dutch Autumn in
Sweden is a fantastic way to show what The
Netherlands has on offer and gives us the opportunity
to get to know each other even better, to enrich one
another and to increase the mutual cooperation
between Sweden and The Netherlands.”
The Amstel Quartet and other Dutch
musicians performed at the Festival
Nederlands Dans Theater performed three evenings at a sold-out Dansens Hus. They
performed dances by Swedish choreographers. As part of their visit they gave a
master class for the students of the Swedish Ballet Academy.
Frank Schipper, Netherlands Embassy, Stockholm: “This was a fantastic year to organize. Together with the
Swedish Embassy we managed to highlight the friendship between our countries through exciting cultural
events, interesting seminars and mutual visits. My personal highlight of the year was the master class that
was given by Olivier Coeffard of Nederlands Dans Theater to students of the Swedish Balettakademien.”
Writers Cees Nooteboom and Murat Isik visited Sweden and discussed their work with interested
Swedish audiences in Gothenburg and Stockholm.
A digital bridge was built between Stockholm and The
Hague as well as between Umeå and Amsterdam, a way
for anyone passing by to connect to the other side.
Highlight on Swedish films during the
Cinekid Festival
The Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra, with Dutch
conductor Lawrence Renes, performed at the Dr
Anton Philipszaal in The Hague.
Musical celebrations of the 400-year relationship took place with musicians from Sweden and The
Netherlands performing works by composers from Sweden and The Netherlands.
Unique exhibitions with Dutch and/or
Swedish painters were organised
The exhibition “Alexander Roslin –
Portraitist of the Aristocracy” opened on
18 October at Rijksmuseum Twenthe.
Stockholm Nationalmuseum contributed
16 of its best-known works by the muchloved 18th-century artist
The Zorn Museum in Mora heard
about the 400-year anniversary and
decided to exhibit its collection of
Rembrandt etchings.
“The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis”, in its original
size Rembrandt’s largest and most prestigious painting, is on view at the
Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum. The painting is owned by the
Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and has been at the
Nationalmuseum of Art in Stockholm for more than 150 years.
André Rieu and the Johann Strauss
Orchestra performed at Malmö Arena.
Swedish writer Jan Guillou was present at the
Crossing Border Festival in The Hague.
Swedish DJ Avicii (Tim Bergling) played at
the Sky City Festival in Amsterdam.
The Cornelis Vreeswijk Associations in Sweden
and The Netherlands organised several events.
Dutch theatre company Tryater played their
childrens performance Fabelkrêft in the European
Capital of Culture Umeå.
The performance Marmalade, directed by
Claire Parsons could be seen at the Childrens
Art Festival “De Betovering”
“Knitting Peace” by Swedish Cirkus Cirkör went on tour to
the Netherlands
On topics that concerned both our countries, The Netherlands and Sweden organised several seminars.
The seminars were very well attended and had positive results. Below some of the highlights.
4 April: “Frontrunners Round Table” - Amsterdam
A Round Table was organised with the aim to discuss what
barriers businesses still face within the Single Market. With
Swedish Minister for Trade and Nordic Cooperation Mrs Ewa
Björling and Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Mr Henk
13 February: “Strengthening Nuclear Security:
Northern European perspectives” (Stockholm)
with the Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute (in advance of the Nuclear
Security Summit that took place on 24 and 25
March in The Hague).
4 April: Innovation & Growth Seminar - Amsterdam
The seminar took place in the presence of Their Majesties King
Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and King Carl XVI Gustaf
of Sweden.
7 May: De Lage Landen celebrated their 10year presence in Sweden. Jack Vreeswijk, son
of Cornelis Vreeswijk, performed at the event.
13 May: “Building a cycling region”
The city of Goteborg consulted Dutch cycling experts to hear their
approach on cycling in the city and the social and economic benefits
of cycling.
3 – 4 June: Cycling Conference, Malmö
17 september: Swedish – Dutch Architecture Seminar
- Stockholm
19 September: Round table meeting
“International cultural policy : two
different approaches?” - Stockholm
19 September: “Dutch – Swedish Game Connection” –
A meeting to connect Dutch game designers to
Swedish game designers / companies.
24 – 25 September: Trade seminar in Gothenburg
16 October: ”Fighting Youth Unemployment:
Lessons from the Netherlands and Sweden”
– Stockholm. With the Swedish Institute for
European Policy Studies.
30 September: Doing Business in Sweden
(NCH, Fenedex and Handelsbanken) –
With a presentation by the Trade &
Innovation Officer of the Netherlands
Embassy in Sweden.
3 November: Visit by Eindhoven University of
Technology to Stockholm Royal Institute of
Technology to further strengthen existing
13 November: Network event to present Dutch
floriculture to Swedish media.
9 December: Open seminar at the Netherlands Embassy in Stockholm on the future of cross-border ecommerce in the EU Single Market, in close cooperation with the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the
Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs
Mr Oscar Stenström, State Secretary for
Enterprise & Innovation delivered the key
note address.
Swedish and Dutch companies presented their
experiences regarding the potential and challenges of
cross-border e-commerce in the Single Market.
Other activities
“The Swedes & the Dutch were made for each other.”
Together with the Swedish Embassy, an anniversary book was produced in which the many
interesting connections between Sweden and The Netherlands were highlighted. The first book was
presented to the Kings of Sweden and the Netherlands on 5 April 2014, exactly 400 years after the
signing of the treaty
Wikipedia organised “writing
weeks” and increased its
Sweden-related articles with
more than 1,000 contributions
During the visit of Mrs Ankie Broekers – Knol,
Speaker of the Senate and Mrs Anouchka van
Miltenburg, Speaker of the House of
Representatives, a copy of the 1614-treaty was
presented to the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament
and the Director of the Swedish National Archives.
The Dutch participants at Bocuse d’Or
- the World Cooking Contest, hosted
in 2014 by Sweden - were supported
by the Dutch Embassy.
Visits by the Royal Netherlands
Navy were facilitated
Several Netherlands-related exhibitions were opened.
Above, the exhibition about the Dutch “ghost ship”.
Below, the art exhibition by Ardy Struwer.
The Botanical Garden in Uppsala
highlighted the anniversary year with a
Dutch flower-garden.
Several Nation Branding activities took place, here at
the Runn Winter Week and the event “Make
Stockholm a cycling city”.
During the year, many presentations were
given about the 400-year long friendship
between Sweden and The Netherlands.
Many visitors were received at the residence of the
ambassador to hear more about the work of the embassy
and the diplomatic relation between our countries.
Visits (highlights)
Foto Ploumen op
28 January: Minister for Foreign Trade and
Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen paid
a bilateral visit to Sweden.
9 – 10 June: Prime Minister Mark Rutte
participated in the high-level Harpsund Meeting.
On 4 and 5 April 2014, H.M. King
Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M. Queen
Silvia visited The Netherlands.
3 June: Sofia Arkelsten, Chairman
of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
of the Swedish Parliament, visited
The Hague.
25 – 26 August: Mrs Ankie Broekers – Knol, Speaker of
the Senate and Mrs Anouchka van Miltenburg, Speaker
of the House of Representatives visited Sweden together
with members of parliament Tineke Strik and Angelien
Eijsink. During their visit they met with Dutch nationals
living and working in Sweden.
Many groups visited the Embassy and/or The
Residence. Here the Association of Young
Diplomats of the Dutch Ministry for Foreign
Affairs (11 June).
Sharon Dijksma, State Secretary for the Ministry of
Economic Affairs met with her Swedish counterpart
Eskil Erlandsson.
Social media
During the year, the Swedish and Netherlands Embassy had a coordinated communication strategy with
regard to social media. The use of Facebook and Twitter increased. This way, the information about the
activities reached a wide audience.
Two YouTube video’s were produced to
announce the anniversary year and
explain the importance of the celebration.
A logo was designed by a Swedish designer in The Netherlands. The logo was used to increase the
visibility of the anniversary year and the activities that were organised. The barcode reflects the number
“400” in the internationally applied GTIN-13-code (Global Trade Item Information). The colours reflect our
two countries: yellow and blue for Sweden and orange for The Netherlands.
An anniversary website was developed by a Dutch company in Sweden. On the website all cultural
activities and economic seminars in The Netherlands and Sweden were listed. The website – in Swedish
and Dutch - also gave background to the anniversary year and invited visitors to propose ideas.
Visitors of the website contributed with their
own “Sweden – The Netherlands stories”.
Media attention (selection)
The royal visits were popular amongst the media.
Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs interviewed
at the Nuclear Security Summit, The Hague.
Some reactions we have received during the year:
Philip de Heer, Ambassador of The Netherlands to Sweden: “This year has definitely served its
purpose. We wanted to highlight the topics that connect our countries. We have done this
through seminars and cultural events of high quality and great relevance. These were both
important and interesting as they gave new impetus to and re-energised our common goals.
After the exciting year 2014 and the positive reactions we have received, I can conclude that
working together on the future has already started!”

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