Speech by Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte at the opening of the Business Day in Seoul
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to this Korea-Netherlands Business Day.
When I was preparing for this visit, I noticed how many parallels there are between our countries.
We may be thousands of kilometres apart but there is a lot that unites us. At school, young Koreans learn about Hendrik Hamel, the Dutch traveller whose tales of Korea captivated Europe.
But Hamel has now been surpassed by football coach Guus Hiddink as the most well-known Dutch person in Korea.
He's an institution in both countries.
And I can't mention Guus Hiddink without mentioning the Korean name that we in the Netherlands will not quickly forget: Park Ji-sung.
Together, they were responsible not only for Korea's success in the 2002 World Cup but also many victories for PSV Eindhoven.
This successful duo is only one of many examples of Korean-Dutch cooperation.
I could also tell you that many Korean students attend university in the Netherlands, that Koreans love to drink Dutch Coffee and that every Dutch house has at least one product that was made in Korea. But Dutch and Korean people share more than that.
We are creative, we think in terms of solutions, not problems, and we are focused on cooperation.
That's what truly unites us.
Korea enjoys a high profile in the Netherlands. In 2014 our King paid a successful visit to your country, accompanied by a large group of business delegates. And I'm here today with Minister for Agriculture Martijn van Dam and representatives of 60 companies. We're here because we believe in our economic partnership.
Korea is already the Netherlands' second-biggest trade partner in Asia. Seventy Dutch businesses have established operations in Korea and around 135 Korean businesses have done the same in the Netherlands. And according to the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, these numbers are increasing every year. For Korea, the Netherlands is the gateway to Europe, with two major European mainports - Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and the Port of Rotterdam.
We have a very high standard of living, a well-educated labour force and world-class service providers.
This trade mission builds on a very solid economic foundation.
Today, we're focusing on the business sectors where we believe the most opportunities lie: high-tech systems and big data, the creative industries and agrifood.
Big data and open data are game changers for both government and the private sector.
Innovations here can lead to advances in healthcare and urban mobility. Korea is a frontrunner in this area, so I'm pleased we have this opportunity to boost the cooperation between our countries.
Yesterday, for instance the Korean and Dutch statistics offices signed an MoU to bolster their cooperation.
What's more, Keimyung University in Daegu and the Dutch research institute TNO will collaborate on improving healthcare services with the use of big data.
In the creative industries, Korea and the Netherlands have been working together for many years, especially in the fields of architecture and urban design. I believe the latest big project is the Seoul Skygarden, led by Rotterdam-based architects MVRDV. It will be another impressive example of what happens when you combine our two countries' creativity and appetite for innovation.
A major part of the Dutch trade delegation comprises agriculture-related companies and organisations.
In the Netherlands, agriculture is a high-tech business.
Technology has turned our small country into the world's second-biggest exporter of agricultural products and services.
And Korea is the ultimate high-tech nation.
So together, we can create great opportunities for farmers, research institutions, students, importers and exporters.
Ladies and gentlemen, as another Dutch football legend, the late Johan Cruijff, once said: 'you can't score a goal if you don't take a shot'. He was right. We're here today to score goals. To expand our cooperation. And to create even more robust partnerships. So get to know one another, seize the opportunities and, together, we'll build on our already flourishing ties.