Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the opening of the new Dow head office in Terneuzen

Ladies and gentlemen,

Seen from the perspective of our capital city Amsterdam, Terneuzen might seem far away.
It's almost on the Belgian border - a two-and-a-half hour drive.
But for Europe's capital Brussels, or the Port of Rotterdam, it's right around the corner.
And from the perspective of China or the US, Terneuzen is located near two big international ports.
This makes it a springboard to the rest of Europe, with its hundreds of millions of affluent consumers.
So what you think of as 'central' just depends on how you look at it.

If we look at it from an industrial perspective, it's clear that Dow Terneuzen is one of the main centres of the European chemical industry.
It's here that basic chemicals are produced and exported to every corner of Europe and the world.
The Benelux plant in Terneuzen is rightly known as Dow's European flagship location.
And that's not all: This new Dutch head office - which has its official opening today - will direct all of Dow's commercial activities in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.
Not from the office towers of Amsterdam's business district, but from the clay soil of Zeeland.
So who says Terneuzen is 'far away'?
It's a global centre of gravity!

I'm delighted that a big international business like Dow sees that potential.
The potential of Terneuzen, of the region, and of the Netherlands as an important base.
As it has done for many decades.
In the 60 years or more that Dow has been active in the Benelux, your presence has expanded to seven locations, from Delfzijl in the north to Tertre on the Belgian-French border in the south, employing over 3,000 people.
And that's not all.
In Terneuzen, Dow is investing half a billion euros to expand production capacity and make its factories more efficient.
Not to mention this amazing new office building.

I see it as a mark of confidence that you've chosen to locate your new office building here in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.
The name of the new office, Diamond Center, is well chosen.
In terms of its capacity, design and presence, the building is indeed a regional gem.
And what's more, several hundred extra employees of many different nationalities will also be based here.
Reinforcing your top-ranking position as Zeeuws-Vlaanderen's biggest employer.

So Dow scores well in many areas: modern production, innovation, employment - you name it.
But you're also among the leading players in another respect.
Dow is the third-biggest industrial emitter of CO2 in the Netherlands, after Shell and Tata Steel.
Which gives it the responsibility to make its production process more sustainable.
And I'm glad that Dow is fulfilling that responsibility.
Because I'm very aware that without the industrial giants on board, we're not going to be able to shape an ambitious climate policy.
Only through collaboration, and through the innovations and investments of big players like Dow, can we take meaningful steps in the area of climate.

And Dow is more than pulling its weight.
Only last week, a roadmap was submitted to the House of Representatives, containing eight projects to reduce carbon emissions, some of them at Dow.
And I understand that your company is already helping to reduce emissions.
For instance, Dow supplies the hydrogen released from its plants to other companies, which use it as a raw material.
This alone reduces carbon emissions by 10,000 tonnes a year.
And the gas saved is equivalent to what 3,000 households use in a year.
Now that's what I call impressive!

To me, these examples show that Dow is a forward-looking company.
The people at Dow are always looking for ways to innovate and improve the production process.
To make it better, more efficient and more sustainable.
The sparkling proof stands outside this marquee, ready to be officially opened.

So let's not delay that opening any longer.
Let's celebrate an important milestone in Dow's long history in the Benelux and especially in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.
And launch a new phase in the future of Dow Terneuzen, its staff and the region as a whole.

Congratulations - I wish you every success!

Thank you.