From left to right: Mr. Philippe Courard, President of the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, Ms. Ankie Broekers-Knol, President of the Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal (Senate), Mr. Marc Clairbois, Wallonia-Brussels Delegate in The Netherlands.
The Day of Wallonia and of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels was celebrated in The Hague.
At the invitation of the Wallonia-Brussels Delegate in The Netherlands, Marc Clairbois, and his spouse, a reception was held on the 29th of September in the Hotel des Indes. Among the guests figured members of the corps diplomatique, representatives of several Ministries, Dutch partner-associations and numerous Belgians working and living in The Netherlands.
Mister Philippe Courard, President of the Parliament of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, exceptionally honoured the reception with his presence.
In his speech, Marc Clairbois underlined several success stories in the cooperation between The Netherlands and French-speaking Belgium.
Earlier this year for example, the Minsters of Culture of The Netherlands and the Walloon-Brussels Federation signed a coproduction agreement for films. Cinematographic productions of Walloon and Brussels film directors are already well represented in the main festivals in The Netherlands.
Marc Clairbois, also mentioned exchange programmes aimed at youngsters and students. Each year, several Dutch language assistants are sent to Wallonia and Brussels, whereas French language assistants come in from Belgium. Scholarships are offered to foreign excellent researchers in the key economic sectors of Wallonia. In 2016, a group of young legal experts benefitted for the first time from scholarships for the “Summer Course in International Private and Public Law” organised by the Hague Academy of International Law.
The promotion of the French language remains one of the main objectives. For this matter, a Group of Francophone Ambassadors was created in 2014. This Group was presided during two years by Belgium and the Federation Wallonia-Brussels.
As a closing remark, Marc Clairbois also mentioned the upcoming state visit of the Belgian royal couple to The Netherlands in November 2016. The Regions and Communities of Belgium are actively involved in the preparations of this visit, most specifically in the economic, academic and cultural activities that will take place.
The presence of a jazz band and several regional products from Wallonia ensured a festive atmosphere. The musicians paid a special tribute to the lately deceased Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans.