Prime Minister of the Netherlands in 2002-2010 H.E. Dr Jan Peter Balkenende.
Over the past years, Russian-Dutch relations have blossomed, developing along the path of advanced long-term cooperation in the multitude of domains ranging from political dialogue and economic partnership to sports. The Netherlands is a major economic partner of Russia.
The two sates cooperate in large-scale priority projects serving interests that go beyond those of the two nations only, such as Nord Stream, Sakhalin-2, Bergermeer underground gas-storage facility. Together, we enjoy the Hermitage on the Amstel museum which came to be the European center of Russian culture and fine arts. Russia and the Netherlands engage pro-actively in regional partnerships, knowledge- and expertise-sharing, business support and production involving major Dutch companies.
Regular meetings between the leadership of our countries, exchange of delegations, consultations with business leaders are, without a doubt, an important driving-force fostering bilateral relations.
To a large extent all these developments took place due to the invaluable leadership and continuous efforts of Prime Minister Balkenende.
I would like to end by referring to the words of H.E. Dr Balkenede himself saying the following: "The mutual relations between Russia and the Netherlands are strong, and I believe that they will stay strong, for both Russia and the Netherlands understand how important they are to each other".