Statement by Prime Minister Rutte for the 80th anniversary of bilateral relations between the Netherlands and Australia

Statement by Prime Minister Mark Rutte about the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Australia, on 16 April 2022.

It is with great pleasure that today, 16 April 2022, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and I mark the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two nations. We can reflect with pride on the warm friendship we share.

Ever since the Duyfken’s exploration of the north coast of Australia in 1606, resulting in the first contact between Europe and Australia, Dutch-Australian relations have gone from strength to strength. The many decades of cultural, educational and business exchanges have built up a deep mutual understanding. The Netherlands and Australia share enduring bonds of friendship and family.

Our historic defence ties, forged on the battlefields and in the skies of the Second World War, were strengthened most recently by our military partnership in Afghanistan. Today, we stand united in support of the rules-based international legal order, and in defence of human rights and the rule of law.

As we continue to pursue truth, justice and accountability for the downing of flight MH17, we also stand together in our clear and unified response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supporting Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Our countries share a belief in the dynamism of open and democratic societies, and a desire for peace and stability in both the Asia-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic regions. 

The strong trade relationship between the Netherlands and Australia is the foundation for our collaboration in other areas, such as the green economy and cybersecurity. Through our growing engagement with multilateral fora, we will work together to advance our mutual economic prosperity and stability.

For 80 years, the Netherlands and Australia have worked in unison to build and enhance our strong bilateral relationship. We are proud of what we have achieved in the name of friendship and cooperation, and I look forward to the many opportunities that lie ahead.