2013: Dutch-Russian Bilateral Year

European affairs minister Frans Timmermans is in Moscow today to start preparations for the Dutch-Russian Bilateral Year in 2013.

Mr Timmermans will discuss the details of the year’s activities with culture minister Alexandr Adveev, deputy culture minister Alexandr Golutva, and deputy foreign minister Alexandr Yakovenko.

The idea for the Dutch-Russian Bilateral Year arose in June this year, when Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev was visiting the Netherlands. He was in Amsterdam to join Queen Beatrix in opening the Hermitage Amsterdam, allied to the world-famous museum in St Petersburg.

Cultural relations between Russia and the Netherlands are excellent. Last week, for instance, saw the opening in Moscow of a major festival of contemporary Dutch architecture, which Mr Timmermans will visit today. He will also hold round table talks on culture.

Mr Timmermans has already spoken with education minister Andrey Fursenko and presidential representative for cultural affairs Mikhail Svydkoy, who will coordinate activities during the Dutch-Russian Bilateral Year.