Over 500 people gathered at the Ambassador’s residence in Wassenaar, Netherlands, to celebrate India’s 71st Independence Day. This was the first time the flag-hoisting function was held at the Ambassador’s residence and witnessed the largest gathering of the Indian diaspora and friends of India on any such occasion.
India and the Netherlands celebrate 70 years of establishing diplomatic relations this year, with the Dutch being among the first to establish diplomatic relations with independent India.
The event was attended by Deputy Mayors of the The Hague Karsten Klein and Rabin Baldewsingh, Theo Henrar Chairman of Tata Steel Nederland, Eric Niehe former Dutch Ambassador to India, Tanja Jadnanansing, former Dutch parliamentarian and Edo de Ronde of Rotterdam Partners.
The 71st Independence Day celebrations began with the hoisting of the national flag by the Ambassador, singing of the national anthem and reading out of President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation. This was followed by a performance of patriotic songs and Bhangra dance.
The event was organised as an open house and efforts were made to reach out to the Dutch society, with special focus on the 200,000 strong Surinamese Hindustani community in the Netherlands. Netherlands has the largest Indian diaspora in mainland Europe.
Ties between India and Netherlands are warm and friendly, anchored by strong economic and commercial relations which continue to grow.
In the last two years, around $6 billion worth of investments have come to India from the Netherlands and currently over 200 Dutch companies are present in India. India also makes significant investments into the Netherlands, with 220 companies based here and $3.3 billion worth of investments. Two-way trade between India and the Netherlands stood at $ 4.81 billion in 2016.