Introduction by Consul General
The first of August 2013 I started to work as the new Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul. An honorable posting in a vibrant country, based on a background with a lot of Dutch/European-Turkish interests, in a region where a lot happens from Ukraine to Iraq and from Syria to Iran.
My first experience with Turkey was almost 30 years ago, when I traveled through this beautiful country by car via Istanbul, Antalya and Adana to Baghdad, my first diplomatic posting. Ever since, I have been intrigued by the potential of this country that was (especially then) an unknown country to most of the Dutch public. Already in the 1980’s, mighty Turkish companies beat French and German companies. My respect continued to grow, in particular because of later postings in Israel and Russia, two countries with which Turkey maintains a diverse, intensive and from time to time complicated relationship.
The Turkey network is extensive with the Embassy in Ankara, The Netherlands Support Office in Izmir, Honorary Consulates in Gaziantep, Marmaris, Izmir and Antalya and of course the Consulate General in Istanbul. The Turkey network has a couple of good Dutch and Turkish partners with which we collaborate to increase the bilateral relations. My riorities are economy and trade. This has also led to a generous visa policy towards the Turkish business world, where we renewed the Orange Carpet Facility (“less formalities, first visa 1 year, second visa 5 years”) together with the Embassy in Ankara.
One of the points which I want to address regarding the Turkish economical debate in the Netherlands is to place it in a wider perspective. It seems that companies still don’t realize that Turkey can be an interesting market for them. I went a couple of times to the Netherlands in my first year just because of this reason and as a Consulate we became increasingly active on social media.
The Consulate General in Istanbul attaches great importance to hospitality. My predecessors Onno Kervers and Marco Hennis ensured, together with the team on the post, that guests felt at home. I will pursue this tradition with pleasure and consider Palais the Hollande as an important meeting place for Dutch and Turkish people.
I am living in Istanbul with Kim, with whom I married in April 2014, with my oldest son of 18 years, who started his last year on the International School and of course my dog Randy. My personal ambitions are to learn about the whole country very well, learning Turkish and run every year the half-marathon of Istanbul.
You can follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. I attach great importance to this media partly because they have a low threshold. You can always approach me and I've noticed that in practice, especially via Twitter, it increasingly happens.