Address by minister Van Nieuwenhuizen at the official opening of the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), March 12

Vice-Governor Emil Dardak, Mr Mario Lauw, honoured guests,

Selamat siang! Suatu kehormatan bagi saya berada disini. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as my Indonesian goes, so I’ll continue in English.

I’d like to start by thanking East Java Emil Dardak for their hospitality. Terima kasih.

And I hope everyone enjoyed the lovely performance of traditional dance just as much as I did. The hospitality I’ve met with during this visit and the beauty of Indonesia have been overwhelming. I very much hope to come back here on holiday one day, when I’ll have more time to discover everything your country offers.

I’m also deeply impressed by the economic growth and development in this enormous archipelago. And by the vibrancy of the port city of Surabaya – the second biggest city in Indonesia.

Considering the prominent economic position of Indonesia and this region as a whole, it’s hardly surprising that our mission focuses on economic cooperation. Building on our longstanding, excellent bilateral relationship.

Of course, the Netherlands and Indonesia already enjoy a strong economic partnership. The Netherlands is in the top 3 of EU trade partners for Indonesia. The Port of Rotterdam and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol are Indonesia’s gateway to Europe.

Indonesia is also a major trading partner for our country. We’re the biggest EU investor in Indonesia, for instance, and we’re keen to further develop economic opportunities for businesses from both our countries.

In short, the economic powerhouse and the open economy are natural partners.  

At the same time, there is still a lot of untapped potential in this relationship. Harnessing that potential can help both our countries meet new challenges head-on. It can help us protect our coast and freshwater resources in the face of climate change. It can help us meet growing demand for food and make healthcare more accessible. And it can help us transition to a circular economy.

This mission offers opportunities for sharing knowledge, building public-private partnerships and forging business-to-business agreements that will help deliver affordable, scalable and integrated solutions to these and other challenges. So the slogan of our economic mission – smart solutions for a sustainable future – is appropriate. And cooperation is the key word in all this. The Netherlands offers valuable knowledge and expertise, and is keen to help Indonesia build a sustainable future.

We should look at challenges as opportunities, and turn them to our advantage. That goes for the Netherlands as well as for Indonesia. And certainly for East Java and Surabaya – a vital gateway to eastern Indonesia, at the junction of several major trade routes. This region’s growth rates over the past few years are excellent. And clear proof of your valuable role in the region.

So it makes sense to have a Netherlands Business Support Office here. And today’s the big day: the festive opening of NBSO Surabaya.

The opening of the NBSO is a milestone that affirms the prominent economic position of East Java and will further consolidate the economic partnership between our countries.

I’m confident the NBSO, led by chief representative Mario Lauw, will become a valued partner for Dutch companies, especially SMEs.

The NBSO’s staff will help Dutch companies find local representatives and partners, and provide information about markets and local rules and regulations. In other words, they’ll help businesses take advantage of the many, many opportunities in this region.

Surabaya is one of the pillars of your country’s economy. Agriculture, industry and services are all highly developed in this region.

So it’s no coincidence that Dutch companies in these sectors are active here. And there are more coming. East Java is a promising market for them. Our delegation to Surabaya and East Java includes companies from the maritime and water sector, as well as circular economy and waste management.

This week we expect to lay the foundations for future growth and economic collaboration with local partners. In order to benefit from opportunities that will enhance prosperity in both our countries.

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure the new NBSO Surabaya will become a successful gateway for Dutch SMEs to the big, promising market of eastern Indonesia.

This means a broader and stronger bilateral trade relationship. Which is good news for Indonesia, for the Netherlands, and for Surabaya and East Java.

So I’m delighted and honoured to be officially opening the NBSO jointly with Vice-Governor Emil Dardak. It represents a new milestone, consolidating our warm friendship and close economic ties.

Terima kasih, semoga sukses. Thank you; I wish you every success.