Minister Schultz on maritime mission to Oman
Minister Schultz van Haegen is paying a working visit to Muscat and Sohar (in Oman) from 14 to 16 April. She will be attending the premiere of a documentary about the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship the Amstelveen. This year marks the 250th anniversary of the ship sinking off the coast of Oman. Abdelkader Benali plays the lead in the film. Minister Schultz is also speaking at the GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference, and she is chairing a round-table discussion in which Dutch and Omani maritime companies will strengthen their ties with one another.
The trip is a follow-up to Queen Beatrix’s visit in 2012. In 2009, The Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima visited the country, and Prime Minister Balkenende was there in 2005. Minister Schultz: “The story of the Amstelveen is proof of our centuries-long trade relations. Our maritime ties have always been excellent. If you look at a map of the world, you see that Oman can be described as being at the intersection of three continents: Europe, Africa and Asia. If the Netherlands – with Rotterdam as the gateway to Europe – and Oman were to join forces, it would mark the beginning of a success story.”
Several Dutch companies sponsored the film Expedition Oman that tells the story of the sinking of the VOC ship the Amstelveen in 1763. Cornelis Eyks survived the shipwreck and after walking for over 500 kilometres, he eventually arrived in Muscat. His diary was discovered in France in 1997 and has fascinated writers and filmmakers.
The Netherlands and Oman already signed a free trade agreement as early as the 19th century. The Netherlands now offers training places to seafarers from Oman, and the Port of Rotterdam has a 50% stake in the Port of Sohar. There are still a great many opportunities for Dutch companies in the fields of ports, logistics, water management and waste processing.
On Monday 15 April, Minister Schultz is speaking at the GCC Supply Chain & Logistics Conference in the morning. Afterwards, she will have bilateral talks with the Omani Minister of Transport & Communication, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Futaisi. In the afternoon, the Minister will attend the premiere of Expedition Oman, and she and Minister Al-Futaisi will chair a bilateral round-table discussion with Dutch and Omani companies. A press conference will follow. Minister Schultz will visit the Port of Sohar on Tuesday 16 April.