|| issue 4, year XIV, 2007
H. E. Mr. Willem van Ee,
Ambassador of the Kingdom
of The Netherlands to Bulgaria,
before "Europe 2001" Magazine
WE WILL WORK TOGETHER
ACTIVELY ON THE PROBLEMS
THAT AFFECT US ALL
PIONEERS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
For centuries on end the Dutch have been pioneers in international trade. During the Golden Age of Rembrandt Dutch commercial ships sailed the world oceans from the Western to the Eastern hemisphere and brought back prosperity and growth to the country. Today, Holland's open economics is connected with almost all parts of the world. Its foreign trade and investments create enormous opportunities for the participants in the European and world markets.
The Dutch are not only tireless travelers, but are also front-rankers in scientific technologies and product innovations. What has once begun with dykes, wind mills, astrology and physics, has turned into modern sectors of telecommunications, medicine and biotechnologies, water engineering, environment, infrastructure and logistics.
H. E. MARIO JESUS DOS SANTOS
Ambassador of Portugal to Bulgaria
A STRONG UNION FOR A BETTER WORLD
A statement on
the occasion of the presentation
of Portuguese EC Presidency
Portuguese EC Presidency is based on a clear assumption: we accept the responsibility to seek the common interest and reach the necessary consensus for Europe's progress.
BULGARIAN - DUTCH RELATIONS
Bulgaria and The Netherlands established diplomatic relations in 1909. Severred after World War II, these relations were resumed in 1956. Since 1968 the diplomatic missions of the two countries were raised to embassy rank.
EC'S FUTURE: THE BOUNDARIES OF INTEGRATION
Prof. Jaap de Zwaan
Director of the "Clingendael" Institute for International Relations, the Hague
We are happy that Bulgaria and Romania joined EU in January this year.
In this way the division of Europe following WWII was erased. I am rather a champion of a project that we call extended cooperation, which allows the realization of progress first and foremost between a limited number of member-states. I think that in the future we might face the necessity of having more projects of this kind.
THE SPINAL COLUMN OF SOCIETY
There are many non-government organizations (NGOs) in Holland, that have long traditions and many international links. That is why they are sometimes called "the spinal column of society". All of them have almost one and the same organizational structure - an office with several low-paid collaborators, and teams consisting mainly of volunteers. NGOs functioning is impossible without the volunteers. Some of the principal NGOs are youth-oriented.
A QUEEN'S PORTRAIT
To the Dutch people the Queen is not only the Head of State. She is the unifier and the spokeswoman of the nation. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. According to the Constitution the Queen is Head of State and she, together with the ministers, constitute the Government. The Queen's name - Beatrix - means "bringing happiness". The Dutch honour her every year on 30 April - the day when, 27 year ago, Beatrix was enthroned. On this day, Queen's Day, the Netherlands is coloured in orange. This is the colour of the Royal Family and of the nation, it is the colour honouring the name of the nobleman whose descendants were all Dutch kings, namely Willem van Oranje (William of Orange). Orange flags are flown, heads are crowned with orange hats, decorated with small bells of the Till Eulenspiegel type, children carry an orange balloon in the one hand and an orange ice-cream in the other.
FROM THE ELITE TO EVERYONE: HOLLAND'S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
The Dutch reckon, that no foreign languages should be learnt by the 12th year of age, as the conceptual system of the Mother tongue should be built beforehand. From primary education to the University there is a division into three kinds of institutes of learning in Holland - Protestant, Catholic and public schools. In each secondary school the first preparatory year is called a "bridge-class". After the preparatory class the direction of education in the next stage is estimated anew. Since their 16th year of age Dutch youth have a chance to work or continue their education in the university. Another peculiarity of university education is the existence of the so called state universities: two Catholic, one Protestant and three Technical ones. One of the prestigious universities is the business school in the town of Breukelen for high-ranking managers.
BULGARIA-THE NETHERLANDS: HOLIDAYS 2007
This is the name of the most comprehensive cultural programme of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, realized so far in Bulgaria. The reason for this diversity of events throughout the year is Bulgaria's accession to the European Union and the wish of the Dutch state to bring the peoples of the two countries closer, to help them get to know each other, learn more about themselves, about their traditions, habits and ways of entertainment. This programme is many-sided, as is Dutch culture itself. It offers events in a wide spectre of genres - music, dance, theatre, literature, cinema, exhibitions, debates. The emphasis in each of the projects is the cooperation between Dutch and Bulgarian artists and institutions, which gives new dimensions to imagination and embodies a new spirit in the arts.
The Netherlands is the greatest "pavilion" of flowers in the world. The growing of flowers and bulbs is made a cult. The tulip is the symbol of the country, although by origin it is a wild-growing flower from Central Asia. Today, Holland is ranking No. 1 in the world in the production and trade of tulip bulbs. The passion of the Dutch for flowers is deep-rooted. Trade with decorative plants is a billion-worth industry, enabling tens of thousands of Dutch people to earn their living. The centre of this business is the huge "Alsmeer" - the greatest auction for flowers and the biggest commercial building in the world. Every day in this dynamic flower town 19 million flowers and 2 million decorative plants change their owners. About 80% of these are exported.
CITIES THAT GLORIFY HOLLAND
Amsterdam - the town of tolerance, Johan Cruijf and light drugs, is a cosy, multicultural city with a beautiful, historical centre, dating back to the Dutch Golden Age. There are many landmarks in it, which attract 4 million tourists every year. The town was formed in the 13th c., when a dyke was built over the Amstel river, giving its name to it. Amsterdam is also a Mecca of trade. Already from the 14th c. on beer became a popular trading commodity. That period also marked the beginning of trade relations with the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. But Amsterdam flourished after the fall of the town of Antwerpen under Spanish domination as a result of an 80-year war, which forced most of Antwerpen's inhabitants to move to Amsterdam together with their clients and businesses. This was the real beginning of the Dutch Golden Age - the 17th c. Amsterdam is also a world city for sport development. It hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1928.
Rotterdam is the second biggest city of the Netherlands and the second biggest port in the world. Its inhabitants have won themselves the image of rational workaholics. The city's history dates back to the 12th c., when the first dyke was built along the Maas river. In May 1940 the city centre was bombarded by the German army. Thus began the Second World War for Holland. After the war Rotterdam, as the Netherlands as a whole, stood up again owing to the American Marshal Plan. The city has a reputation of an international architectural centre. It is the only Dutch city with a funicular.
Leeuwarden is one of the unknown treasure towns of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the Friesland province. 600 000 Frieses are proud with their region, language and culture. Up to the 1960s agriculture was the main motor of the Friesian economy. Since 1945 trade and banking became the main forces of the region's economy. During the 1980s Leeuwarden turned into a centre of higher education in the Netherlands.
Maastricht is popular with its southern hedonism, which is absent in Amsterdam or Rotterdam. It is practically not considered Dutch, due to the aptitude of its inhabitants for life's pleasures. The town history of Maastricht dates way back to the time before the formation of the Roman Empire. The town was a Celtic settlement along the Maas valley 500 years before Christ. Maastricht attracts many tourists owing to its image of an amusement venue. Foreigners are familiar with the town mainly because of the EU Maastricht Treaty.
FROM wooden shoes TO van gogh
Amsterdam ranks first in the world with the biggest exhibition space per square meter. The more ordinary sounding Theatre Museum and the Marihuana Museum are among the landmarks of the city. 141 art galleries and 42 museums are a cultural heritage, which forms the basis for today's tourist industry.
"Van Gogh Museum", opened in 1973, has a collection of 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters.
Rijksmuseum is the biggest and most famous museum in Holland. Its collection, dating from 15th to 19th c., holds works by the Dutch masters Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer, as well as a display of sculptures. It is there that Rembrandt's "Night Watch" is treasured.
As for the museums in the Hague, it is worth visiting the Municipal Museum, which holds a rich collection of Delft pottery.
The "Gebr. Wietzes" Museum in the town of Elde, set up in 1990, displays a great collection of wooden shoes (clogs). The museum is named after the Wietzes brothers, who were renowned clog masters.
HOLLAND AND ITS FILM FESTIVALS
Among the many film festivals in Europe and worldwide, we should give full credit to the Dutch representatives - the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) and the National Film Festival in Utrecht. The three festivals, with their different range and ambitions, are major events in the professional cinema circles. The International Film Festival in Rotterdam emphasizes on the independent innovative cinema, boldly engaging in non-standard solutions with regards to selection. The Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) is the biggest doc festival in the world. The National Festival in Utrecht is a real holiday of Dutch cinema. Paul Verhoeven is the most popular and awarded Dutch film director.
DUTCH CLAVIER MUSIC IN BULGARIA
The "Orange Factory" Music House shows a pronounced interest in modern Dutch composers - for the third time this year Dutch keyboard pieces were presented at the master classes in piano and composition, written by contemporary composers. The degree of development of the individual opportunities, ideas and creative wishes of Dutch composers today is unique - they have behind their back a complicated, centuries-old, composing past.
NEDERLANDS DANS THEATER - A WORLD OF BEAUTY AND DELIGHT
Last March the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) literally blew up Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture with a performance in three parts, carrying the inspiring names WAX WINGS, TAR AND FEATHERS and TALK ABOUT YOURSELF. The works, choreographed by Jiri Kylian and Lightfoot Leon, touched the souls and senses of Bulgarian dance lovers and turned the evening into a most unforgettable event in Sofia's cultural calendar for the season.
HOLIDAYS OF THE NETHERLANDS
Queen's Day is the national holiday of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which marks the birthday of the Queen - a tradition started after World War II initially in honour of the Queen Mother Juliana. When the present Queen Beatrix inherited the throne in 1980, she decided to preserve the date 30 April in honour of her mother.
On the eve of his day Sinterklaas visits all children. After knocking on the door, he gives them a sack of gifts, had they been good and obedient. Early in the morning on 6 December, after having visited all kids, he quietly leaves for Spain, to return again next year. The Holiday of Sinterklaas, or the so called St. Nicolas, is celebrated by everybody in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, regardless of age or religious affiliation.
FAMOUS PERSONALITIES FROM THE Netherlands
PROSE REQUIRES MEDITATION
Galia B. Cholakova
|Translated by Galia B. Cholakova