Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to visit Singapore

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivers a speech in front of members of the Indonesian House of Representatives in Jakarta on Nov 23, 2016.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivers a speech in front of members of the Indonesian House of Representatives in Jakarta on Nov 23, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be in Singapore for a one-day visit on Thursday (Nov 24), in his first official trip here since taking office in 2010.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announcing the upcoming visit, said in a statement that it will reaffirm the good and long-standing bilateral relations between Singapore and the Netherlands.

Singapore and the Netherlands are big investors in each other's economy. Both countries also cooperate in areas such as research and innovation and the environment, including water management.

Mr Rutte will be given an official welcome at the Istana, where he will call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Mr Lee will also host him to lunch.

After that, he is slated to give the 39th Singapore Lecture, titled "The Netherlands, Singapore, our regions, our world: Connecting our common future".

The lecture series is organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies - Yusof Ishak Institute, and its lectures are traditionally given by foreign heads of states and senior statesmen.

During the visit, Mr Rutte will also attend several business-related events to promote collaboration between Singapore and Dutch companies.

He will be accompanied by an official delegation from the Dutch General Affairs and Foreign Affairs ministries, as well as representatives from the Netherlands Confederation of Industry and Employers and heads of several Dutch companies.

The Netherlands was Singapore's third-largest trading partner in the European Union in 2015, after Germany and France, with bilateral trade in that year amounting to $14.2 billion.

The Netherlands is also Singapore's largest investor from Europe and its fifth largest investor globally. More than 1,300 Dutch companies are based in Singapore.

Mr Rutte, who will fly to Singapore from Indonesia, where he is on a working trip, will also meet the Dutch community here.