Speech by Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen at a trade dinner for the trade mission to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

“Here in Rostock, you’re the world experts on cruise ship building. The Netherlands is one of the best in designing and building superyachts. And there’s only one reason why we’re both leaders in our fields: continuous innovation. It’s the only sustainable way to success.”

Speech by Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen at a trade dinner for the trade mission to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 20 May 2019.

Majestäten, Frau Ministerpräsidentin, Herr Minister Pegel, Mitglieder des Landeskabinetts, Herr Oberbürgermeister, Herr Vonhof, Herr Ort, meine Damen und Herren!

Willkommen hier in Rostock im Kurhaus Warnemünde! Es ist mir eine Ehre, heute Abend hier als niederländische Ministerin für Infrastruktur und Wasserwirtschaft und Leiterin dieser Wirtschaftsmission das Wort an Sie zu richten.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – what a beautiful place this is! Driving through the countryside, I’m reminded of one of our own northern provinces: Friesland. But bigger. With lakes and greenery everywhere. It’s no wonder that so many tourists come here in the summer. It’s the same in Friesland: people are drawn to the water.

And it’s no wonder that much of this state’s economy and trade centre around water. Just like in the Netherlands. And just like in Friesland, alongside tourism, agriculture is an important pillar of the economy. And effective coastal protection is vital to ensure people keep their feet dry.

We’ve come together to celebrate and strengthen our economic and scientific ties – building on a centuries-old relationship. On the one hand, there’s agriculture: many Dutch farmers have moved here over the centuries. The countryside is similar to the Netherlands, but with lots more space!

Agriculture is a significant focus of this mission: from innovation and sustainability, to farm succession and multifunctional agriculture. We’ve made a range of interesting visits today centring on these topics, and tomorrow promises even more.

As seafarers and traders too, we became allies. In the Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League brought our cities closer together. Wismar, Rostock and Stralsund became rich and powerful. And in the Netherlands too, Hanseatic cities like Kampen, Zwolle and Deventer flourished.

The League might no longer exist, but our links remain strong. Including the links with our royal family! And of all the German dialects, those of northern Germany are the closest to Dutch. Even their collective name – Niederdeutsch – reflects these shared links. What better proof is there of our close ties!

Ladies and gentlemen,
It goes without saying that many of you here today represent ship- and yacht-building companies. For centuries, shipbuilding has been a vital part of both our economies. In recent years, German and Dutch shipbuilders have specialised in custom-built, high-value, innovative ships. For industries like oil and gas, offshore wind power, dredging, fisheries and the navy.

And, in all these markets, the slogan now is: safer, smarter, cleaner. What’s more: digitalisation, paperless transport, automatic navigation and, of course, sustainability are high on the agenda.

Here in Rostock, you’re the world experts on cruise ship building. And the Netherlands is one of the best in designing and building superyachts. And there’s only one reason why we’re both leaders in our fields: continuous innovation. That’s why the order books for high-end cruise ships and superyachts are looking so good! Clients’ requirements and tough international competition make it a challenging task. And innovation is the only sustainable way to success. That’s something I firmly believe.

And what better way of rising to the challenge than by working together? By working together, on research and development as well as on supply chains, we’ll learn from each other, strengthen each other and grow. The Letter of Intent that we signed this afternoon is a good example of this. We must protect our coasts against pollution and the impacts of climate change. And the best way of doing this is together.

Your Majesties, your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Before I finish, I’d like to mention the parallel two-day economic mission for the creative industries taking place in Brandenburg. Here, among other things, Their Majesties will be visiting the Volucap studio in Potsdam. So I wish that delegation a productive visit.

Minister-president Schwesig, Minister Pegel, I’d like to thank you once again for the warm welcome you’ve given us today. I hope that this evening new links will be made, that you’ll find new inspiration and that the ties between our companies and knowledge institutions will become even stronger.

I look forward to the wonderful things Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has to offer us tomorrow. But for now, enjoy this evening’s dinner and I hope your discussions will bear fruit.

Thank you. Vielen Dank.