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Sunday, January 17, 2021

American Ambassadors Explore the Netherlands and Bring Goodwill to all 12 Dutch Provinces – Op de Fiets

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions.

Two Ambassadors, 12 provinces, and over 650 kilometres in one week. U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra completed Friday a one-week bicycle tour of the Netherlands. Ambassador Hoekstra was joined by the U.S. Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Ambassador Ken Ward. Their goal: visit each of the country’s 12 provinces.  

“This year would have been my 5th time participating in the Fietselfstedentocht. When it was cancelled, we realized that it presented a unique opportunity to get on the bike and try to visit an even larger area of the country,” Hoekstra said.  

An avid cyclist known for posting photos from his rides, Ambassador Hoekstra used his Twitter account to solicit ideas of places and sites to visit from people across the Netherlands. Dozens of people replied in his Twitter comments. 

Using those suggestions, the Embassy crafted a 650 kilometer route through each of the Netherlands’ provinces. The seven-day trek was part of the U.S. Embassy’s #EchteVrienden initiative to reach out to Dutch citizens from all walks of life, and a variety of backgrounds.  

Both Ambassadors enjoyed seeing more of the Netherlands, meeting up with their social media audience, and connecting with local officials along the way.

Jean-Paul PJ Horsch and Ambassador Pete Hoekstra.

“This year would have been my 5th time participating in the Fietselfstedentocht. When it was cancelled, we realized that it presented a unique opportunity to get on the bike and try to visit an even larger area of the country,” Hoekstra said.  

With travel and meeting opportunities more difficult in the time of COVID, a bike tour framed around Dutch history, culture, and sights was the perfect way to strengthen the U.S. connections with people from across the country. 

Ambassador Ken Ward and Ambassador Hoekstra.

“All good things must come to an end. Our 12-province, 7-day, 700km journey ended today in picturesque Sint Philipsland in Zeeland. The windmill that saw off so many Dutch headed to America welcomed some American (and Dutch) riders today.”

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