The Netherlands, Germany and Europe
By Franz Josef Kremp, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Germany and the Netherlands are extremely close partners. The two countries are becoming steadily more interconnected, and that is a good thing.
Business, tourism and infrastructure are but a few of the most prominent examples. Germany is the Dutch’s favourite travel destination for very diverse reasons. Alongside geographical proximity Germany boasts an array of different landscapes, a varied cultural scene and low prices. In 2012 Germany was once again the number one travel destination for Dutch tourists, the number of overnight stays rose by 2.9% compared with the previous year, to nearly 11 million.
By the same token the number of German visitors to the Netherlands increased to over three million. We are very important trading partners for one another. The Netherlands is Germany’s second most important trading partner, after France, with bilateral trade worth 158 billion euros in 2012.
Below the national level an important role is played by cross‑border cooperation, particularly through the five Euroregions. The Euroregions are voluntary associations of public‑law bodies in the German‑Netherlands border region, with regional authorities – and in some cases chambers of commerce – playing a particularly important part in cross‑border cooperation.
Germany and the Netherlands are both one of each others’ most important political and economic partners, whose advice and understanding can be counted on and whose role in safeguarding European interests is regarded as essential.
Ensuring that the European project continues to be a success in the future remains a common concern for us both.