Dutch Embassy in Ghana celebrate King’s Day

King’s Day celebration

Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to Ghana, His Excellency Mr. Jeroen Verheul has announced the embassy in Ghana’s preparedness towards this year’s King’s Day celebration.

On 27th April each year, The Netherlands marks King’s Day—a public holiday that commemorates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander who has been in office since 2013, turning 57yrs this year.

According to him, aside from taking stock of the unwavering Dutch-Ghana ties, this year’s celebration also aims at commemorating the Kingdom’s efforts and achievements in fostering national unity in diversity as well as national consciousness towards regional integration.

“There are regional differences and the kingdom is broader than just its territories. Therefore this year’s will not only focus on the King’s Day celebration, but will also serve as an opportunity to celebrate our national unity as Dutch people,” he added.

His Excellency Verheul made this announcement in an interview with the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) at his office in Accra.

As part of activities lined up for the celebration, he noted that, on Monday, 24th April, 2023,  a movie about the transatlantic slave trade showcasing how slaves were brought from Ghana to Suriname to work on sugarcane plantations, producing sugar that was sent to the Netherlands will be shown.

He added that: “We will have a cultural event where we will show a movie about a part of our history and how its links with the history of Ghana, and that of our former overseas territory- Republic of Suriname at  Ussher Fort in Accra. We are organizing this together with the Surinamese Embassy.”

“This will be followed by a thought-provoking poetry event to be held at Terra Alta Performing Arts Center in Accra, Monday, 26th April 2023, where, Lizette Ma Neza a spoken word artist from the Netherlands in collaboration with Ghanaian and Surinamese poets will give a performance to signify the importance of language in poetry,” Mr. Verheul furthermore said.

The celebrations will continue  with the Kings Day reception,  for the embassy’s business relations and government officials at the Ambassador’s residence on, Thursday, 27th April 2023 and climaxed with a musical festival for the Dutch community in Ghana and Ghanaian contacts at its deputy ambassador’s residence on Friday 28th April 2023, he noted.

Diplomatic relations

The ambassador stated that the decades-long relationship that has existed between the Netherlands and Ghana is characterized by successful cooperation and coordination on a number of areas including trade and agriculture, explaining that, they have been long-standing friends even before the latter’s Independence. “Even before Ghana’s independence our relationship with Ghanaians was peaceful and harmonious. The first diplomatic mission that went to Ghana was 322 years ago with the purpose of enhancing trade relations between the two countries,” Ambassador Verheul revealed.

He cited President Akufo Addo’s recent visit to Rotterdam and his subsequent working visit to the Netherlands, focusing on the main elements of trade relations which are on cocoa and horticulture as testament to the successful relationship between the two countries.

“We are working together with Ghanaian authorities to improve our relationship even further. A few weeks ago we had a visit from our deputy minister for foreign and economic relations, H.E. Hanneke Schuiling initiating discussions on renewing our bilateral investment and protection agreement which went successfully and we expect more visits to come to cement the bilateral relationship,” he further stated.

Trade relations

On the topic of trade cooperation between the two countries, Ambassador Verheul noted that The Netherlands is committed to strengthening its bilateral trade with Ghana while focusing on supporting it to enhance local production and processing.

He noted that through enhanced domestic processing means, Ghana can process raw cocoa into its butter, liquor, powder among other things and export them, adding that, the Netherlands aims to support Ghana achieving this aim. “That is one of the key features of our program aimed at enhancing domestic processing of cocoa as well as in horticulture in Ghana,” the Ambassador said.

According to him, The Netherlands is also providing study support to Ghana vis-à-vis improving its production of cocoa.

On the other hand, he cited inter-alia domestic marketing arrangement which favors export of cocoa versus domestic processing as one of the major obstacles needed to be overcome in its processing sector in Ghana, underscoring the need to review marketing arrangements to enhance domestic processing.

“Trade relations are quite balanced in monetary terms but there is a difference in the sense that, Ghana is exporting mostly raw materials and importing manufactured or processed materials from the Netherlands. That difference which has been there for a long time is still prevalent in our relationship, but we are working hard on changing that” the ambassador elaborated.

Political relations

On the political front, Verheul indicated that Ghana and the Netherlands are very much oriented in the same way towards international collaboration and development, expressing optimism to further consolidate that similarity when political consultations take place in The Hague in May this year.

“Last year, we initiated annual political consultations between us, so a delegation came from the Netherlands to Ghana, and in May this year, a delegation from Ghana will go to the Netherlands for political consultations regarding bilateral relations, trade and investment as well as collaboration in multilateral organizations,” he added.

Economic relations

Concerning economic relations with Ghana, the ambassador stated that, “In the framework of the Paris club, as well as a member of the IMF Board of Executive Directors, the Netherlands is looking at how it can also help Ghana reduce its burden of debt, debt repayment as well as interest payments.

Expressing worries about Ghana’s current economic situation depicted by an unstable currency, high inflation rates among others he said: “Now is not a good period for Dutch investors to come here because the economic situation is not conducive. Investors need stability and predictability and that still needs to be secured. What we are doing is preparing the grounds for those investors to come if the economic situation is stabilized”.


He pointed out that the Netherlands being a country with considerable experience and expertise  in agriculture also aims at assisting Ghana with appropriate technologies that will enhance horticulture, vegetables and fruits production for domestic consumption and for regional and international exports.

Security cooperation

On the subject of security cooperation, the ambassador said the Netherlands, although not a member of it, considers the work of the United Nation’s Security Council very important, hence maintaining an intensive relationship with its members including Ghana to consult about its work in maintaining international peace and security.

He however bemoaned the Kingdom’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, describing it as a dark part of our mutual history, difficult to walk away from. “1st July this year would mark exactly 150 ears since slavery was definitely abolished in the Netherlands. We are not proud about our role in that inhuman trade, but neither is it a part of our history we want to shy away from. Therefore we intend to highlight in the coming year, our role in it,” he further said. He pointed to a recent exposition organized by the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, depicting a history of slavery and resistance to slavery based partly on festivals and oral history. “The Netherlands has a wealth of archives safeguarding the details of the way the transatlantic slave trade was conducted. Those written and oral sources can very well complement each other, and that is something we as an Embassy can promote” he said.




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