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Strengthening Bilateral Relations: A Closer Look at Germany and the Netherlands

H.E. Mr. Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador of Germany

In an exclusive conversation with H.E. Mr Cyrill Jean Nunn, Ambassador of Germany, we delve into the current state of bilateral relations, key areas of cooperation, commercial dynamics, and the future of collaboration between these two European nations.

Ambassador Nunn characterizes the current state of relations as exceptional, highlighting the dense cooperation across various sectors including economy, security, science, and culture. He notes, “Our relations have reached a level of density that is exceptional. That is true for all fields of cooperation.”

Among the myriad areas of collaboration, the integration of armed forces stands out, facilitating joint training and acquisition. Ambassador Nunn remarks, “Our armed forces are integrated, which delivers various benefits such as joint training, joint acquisition of materiel.” Recent initiatives, like government consultations and joint projects launched in 2023, further solidify this robust partnership. “In 2023, we launched a number of initiatives for a stronger Europe, an innovative economy and infrastructure and even more collaboration in security and defence,” Mr. Nunn adds.

Trade dynamics remain strong, particularly in sectors such as technology, mechanical engineering, and energy. Both countries are at the forefront of digitization, preparing their economies for the future. Ambassador Nunn emphasizes, “Both Germany and the Netherlands are home to extremely innovative companies.” Initiatives like the Innovation Pact aim to foster innovation and address regulatory differences, ensuring sustained growth and competitiveness. “In 2021, Germany and the Netherlands have signed the Innovation Pact,” Ambassador Nunn explains, “This pact is intended to foster innovation in important forward-looking areas.” “We share a border of 567 kilometres.  Our economies have always been extremely intertwined. Germany is the biggest trading partner for the Netherlands. Less known is the fact that the Netherlands are also Germany’s biggest trading partner in Europe and the third biggest in the world after China and the USA. The bilateral trade volume is at 215 billion Euros.”

Cooperation on Global Issues

Germany and the Netherlands collaborate closely on regional and global challenges, including climate change, security, and migration. Initiatives like the climate club with currently 38 members demonstrate their shared commitment to environmental sustainability, while cross-border projects like the protection of the Wadden Sea underscore their dedication to preserving natural resources. Ambassador Nunn highlights, “The Netherlands is one of Germany’s closest EU and multilateral partners in NATO and the UN.”.

“Germany ranks first in terms of destinations of trips abroad of the Dutch. In 2023 we had more than 11 mio. overnight stays of Dutch people in Germany. Vice versa we have a lot of Germans enjoying the beaches and lovely cities of the Netherlands. This contributes to exchange on a civil society level and underlines the interest in each other.”

Looking ahead, Ambassador Nunn envisions deeper cooperation in addressing shared challenges on the European stage. “The latest developments – think about the pandemic, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine – have brought us closer together,” he notes. As Europe moves towards greater unity and geopolitical significance, Germany and the Netherlands will play important roles in shaping its future through reforms, enlargement, and enhanced cooperation.

Ambassador Nunn emphasizes Germany’s goals towards a clean, sustainable future and climate protection, focusing on expanding cooperation in offshore wind energy and green hydrogen economy. While challenges may arise, addressing them requires continued dialogue and concerted efforts towards common objectives. “Germany and the Netherlands are strong partners in the ambition towards a clean, sustainable future and climate protection. For this goal we are expanding our cooperation on offshore wind energy and the development of a green hydrogen economy with the necessary cross-border infrastructure. With our leading European ports as hubs for the import and distribution of hydrogen, as well as our strong and innovative industrial companies, we want to play an important part of the energy transition on our continent in the years to come.” Mr Nunn asserts.

Emerging issues, such as the importance of language proficiency, highlight the need for greater cultural understanding and communication. Initiatives promoting language learning, especially among youth, are crucial for fostering stronger bilateral relations and a more cohesive Europe. “It remains of the utmost importance that we speak and understand each other’s language. It is not enough, as direct neighbours, to communicate through English. Communicating in each other‘s mother tongue establishes a much stronger connection. We need to put effort into motivating youth to learn at least two foreign languages for the sake of our bilateral relations and the future of our common Europe. There is a constant interest in Dutch in the German Bundesländer Nordrhein-Westfalen and Niedersachsen. In the Euregios, cross-border structures in which, above all, local and regional authorities have joined together, we can see a lot of good projects. At the same time, we need long-lasting structural approaches and must not get tired to explain the benefits of foreign language learning again and again.”

Germany and the Netherlands share a relationship that goes beyond mere diplomatic ties; it’s a bond deeply rooted in history, geography, and mutual interests.

As both nations navigate the complexities of the modern world, their partnership serves as a model for international collaboration, grounded in shared values and a commitment to a prosperous future.

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