Burgemeester Welcome Netherlands India Business Meet (NIBM)
Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen
Cap Gemini, Reykjavikplein, 11 september 2019
Dear all, dear Ambassador Venu (Rajamony), dear NICCT chairman Edith (Nordmann), dear hosts Hans (van Waayenburg) and Jurgen (Wasser), distinguished guests,
Thank you, dear Vidhya (Sampath) for your kind introduction. Welcome (and welcome back) to Utrecht. Aap ka Utrecht mein swagat hai… I would like to welcome you all to the heart, the very heart of the Netherlands.
Wherever you are from: The Hague, Amsterdam or even Amstelveen: please feel welcome to our region and city. A region with a vibrant Indian community. Utrecht is one of the four Dutch cities with a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. This statue is a tribute to: the founder of the modern state of India, a tribute to his message of nonviolence and the warm and friendly ties between Utrecht and our Indian community. The friendly relations between Utrecht and India have a long history.
Let me tell you an interesting story… Perhaps you recognize this building. You can find it in Agra. This is the burial place of Jan Willem Hessing. And this is Jan Willem… Mr. Hessing joined the Dutch East Indian Trading Company, the world’s first multinational. October the second 1762, Hessing left the Dutch company. We are not exactly sure why, but perhaps he was not satisfied with his salary… He was hired by an Indian maharaja. And became a colonel in his army. Fought in various battles, against troops of other Indian rulers and the British army. He was appointed commander of the famous Red Fort of Agra.
And is therefore considered a hero in India… He died as a very wealthy man, so I suppose the maharadja paid him much better than his Dutch bosses did… Jan Willem Hessing, dear all, was born, here in Utrecht. An Utrecht hero in India, so maybe we could therefore conclude that the first friendly contacts between people from Utrecht and India are very old.
So let us today, here, in the birthplace of a famous Dutchman in India, celebrate a long lasting partnership. The Netherlands and India have much to offer to each other. In the fields of: logistics. Pharmaceutical research, development and industry. There is lot of cooperation between Indian companies and the Utrecht Region. And: High tech. This year, India welcomes the Netherlands as the Partner Country for the TechSummit 2019, next October in New Delhi. I am sure we are all really looking forward to it’s results.
This year, the NIBM is dedicated to the development of smart industry, and the technological challenges which are impacting nearly all areas of today’s life and business. Smart industry is a growing industry. In India, and also in the Netherlands, our economies are on the rise. For Utrecht we take great pride in collaborations with partners all over the world to create a healthy urban life for citizens. And our partners in Utrecht Science Park make quite a contribution to that mission. For instance with the Indian company Biological. But also with “world first’s”, like the 3D printed human skull. And the Utrecht based 3D printing company Ultimaker. We see new, joint opportunities in many areas, like smart industry.
So let us take our beneficial cooperation to new heights. Today, Utrecht is the main stage to honour existing friendships and enter into new partnerships. And taking our long lasting Dutch-Indo friendship - Jan Willem Hessing was a fine example of that - to the next level. Please feel welcome in Utrecht.
Dear friends of NICCT, dear Mr Ambassador, please come back to Utrecht. For now I wish you all a good and inspiring business meet.