Home » Reflecting on King’s Day is always contentment – Netherlands Ambassador

Reflecting on King’s Day is always contentment – Netherlands Ambassador

By Emmanuel AKOMEA

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana, His Excellency Jeroen Verheul, has emphasized the profound sense of contentment that comes from reflecting on the celebration of the King’s Day

According to him, it provides the opportunity for them to contemplate on the longstanding relationship that exists between the Netherlands and Ghana which dates back centuries.

On April 27th each year, The Netherlands marks King’s Day—a public holiday that commemorates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander who has been in office since 2013 and national unity among citizens.

Speaking on the King’s Day, the Ambassador explained, “In the Netherlands, our National Day falls on the 27th of April, which coincides with the birthday of our reigning monarch, King Willem-Alexander. Traditionally, our National Day has always been centered around the birthday of our king or queen. Before King Willem-Alexander, we had a succession of three queens in a row – Queen Wilhelmina, Queen Juliana, and Queen Beatrix. The shift towards gender parity allowed for female heirs to ascend to the throne if they were the firstborn, leading to this unique sequence of queens.

Since 2013, we have been under the reign of King Willem-Alexander, whose birthday we celebrate on the 27th of April. This day symbolizes national unity for us as a kingdom and as the people of the Netherlands. The celebrations in the Netherlands share some similarities with how we commemorate the day here in Ghana.”

The celebration typically kicks off with the King’s Games, where schools organize various fun and supportive events to honor the king. Even the Dutch language and culture school in Ghana participates by organizing special Kings Day activities. Additionally, the Dutch community comes together to enjoy music and traditional Dutch treats.

Diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Ghana

Speaking on the diplomatic relations between Ghana and the Netherlands he said it is strong, with reciprocal visits from high-level officials. The Ambassador noted that, President Akufo-Addo visited the Netherlands in 2022, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands traveled to Ghana last year.

Annual bilateral political consultations take place, with discussions covering various political matters. These consultations foster cooperation and strengthen the ties between the two nations.

Trade and Economic relations

Currently, Ghana exports various products to the Netherlands, with cocoa being a significant commodity due to the Netherlands’ expertise in cocoa processing. While historically cocoa was processed in the Netherlands, there is now a growing trend of processing cocoa in Ghana itself before exporting it to Europe via the Netherlands. This trade dynamic has led to Ghana enjoying a trade surplus with the Netherlands.

Equally, the Netherlands exports oil products, cars, consumer goods, and food products to Ghana. Processed food products are particularly important in this trade relationship.

The Embassy’s goal is to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships that contribute to the growth of both countries. The Embassy actively supports initiatives in the cocoa sector, such as the upcoming Orange Cocoa Fair, where the Dutch’s efforts to enhance cocoa production in Ghana are showcased.

One key objective is to ensure that more of the value-added activities related to cocoa remain in Ghana. Another effort is in horticulture, where the Netherlands’ expertise in greenhouse vegetable and fruit production are leveraged to support similar endeavors in Ghana. This knowledge transfer aims to boost agro-processing capabilities in Ghana, tapping into the country’s agricultural potential.

Commenting on Ghana’s development, Mr. Verheul noted that over the past two years, Ghana’s progress has been marked by stages of growth and setbacks rather than a steady linear advancement. While the political relations have remained steady, Ghana has grappled with challenges stemming from the economic downturn, impacting the collaborative economic efforts between our nations.

He noted that investors typically prioritize a stable business climate and macroeconomic conditions when evaluating investment opportunities in a country. Factors such as high inflation, interest rates, currency depreciation, and limited credit availability can act as deterrents for companies considering investments in Ghana, a trend that has been evident in recent years.

“Events such as the Orange Cocoa Fair at the Embassy, the National Day celebration at my residence, and the King’s Night party with Dutch musicians and spoken word performances, highlight our efforts to strengthen both economic and cultural ties between the Netherlands and Ghana,” he said.

Overall, the Netherlands and Ghana continue to build on their long-standing partnership, with a focus on promoting economic prosperity and cooperation. The embassy’s dedication to fostering trade ties highlights the commitment of both countries to working together for shared success.