The 39th Singapore Lecture “The Netherlands, Singapore, our Regions, our World: Connecting our Common Future” by His Excellency Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of The Netherlands

This lecture was delivered at the Raffles City Convention Centre on 24 November 2016.

H.E. Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivering the 39th Singapore Lecture (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

39th Singapore Lecture
Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam delivering his opening address (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Thursday, 24 November 2016 – Prime Minister Mark Rutte of The Netherlands delivered the 39th Singapore Lecture hosted by the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute this afternoon at the Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore.

Titled “The Netherlands, Singapore, Our Regions, Our World: Connecting Our Common Future”, the talk discussed the defining similarities between the Netherlands and Singapore and how these have grounded the intimate ties between the two states, despite being “thousands of kilometres apart.”

Both are small, densely populated states strategically located at opposite ends of the large and populous Eurasian landmass. Their coastal location has meant that both have had to innovate to survive, with an understandably particular focus on water management, urban infrastructure, and logistics development. Both are among the most competitive and innovative economies in the world today, and are ranked among the best places in the world to be born in.

The long-time collaboration and friendship between Singapore’s first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and his key economic adviser, the Dutchman Albert Winsemius, exemplified this unique relationship.

Mr Rutte noted that the success of the two countries and their strong bilateral relationship are built on the principles of international openness and cooperation, and in defence of their core national values. These similarities also mean that the two countries are now facing very similar future challenges—from the threat of climate change to difficult issues related to free trade and international law.

In light of this situation, both will now need to work together more than ever in continued support of their principles and for their continued success, Mr Rutte concluded.

Participants at the 39th Singapore Lecture (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s lecture was attended by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister, Environment and Water Resources, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr Jaya Ratnam, Singapore Ambassador to the Netherlands, EU, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The delegation from the Netherlands included Mr Jacques Werner, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Singapore, Mr Paul Huijts, Secretary General, Chief of Staff, Ministry of General Affairs, Mr David van Weel, Foreign Policy and Defence Advisor, Ministry of General Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Paul van Nunen, Director, Government Information Services, Ministry of General Affairs, Mr Peter Potman, Director, Asia and Oceania Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr Ernesto H. Braam, Counsellor, Regional Strategic Advisor for Southeast Asia, Embassy of the Netherlands

About 550 people, including diplomats, government officials, business leaders, academics, students and members of the media, also attended the lecture.

The Singapore Lecture series is an intellectual highlight designed for world statesmen and leaders to present their insights on relevant issues of regional significance to a wider audience in Singapore. The most recent Singapore lectures were delivered by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s Opening Remarks

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PM Mark Rutte’s Singapore Lecture: “The Netherlands, Singapore, Our Regions, Our World: Connecting Our Common Future”

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Straits Times – Dutch PM: Don’t turn inwards, stay open to improve lives

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Xinhua News Agency – Dutch PM visits Singapore to enhance cooperation

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