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Dutch cities see Beijing Olympics as promotion opportunity
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09:11, April 22, 2008

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Dutch provincial and municipal governments are still eager to travel to the Beijing Olympics, Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblad reported Monday.

The provincial and city governments believe that the Games are the perfect occasion to "network" and "boost their city and province's international profiles." Many of the governments plan to spend tens of thousands of euros sending officials to the Beijing Olympics, the report said.

The Netherlands' bid to host the 2028 Olympics is also cited as a reason for attending the Games, it said.

Rotterdam, which has Europe's biggest port and is a sister city of China's business hub Shanghai, is sending its mayor Ivo Opstelten, one municipal council executive and five civil servants to Beijing.

The Dutch capital of Amsterdam also plans to send a nine-man delegation, headed by mayor Job Cohen, the paper said.

The province of Flevoland is sending a five-man delegation to the Games, because the province "wants to profile itself in an international setting," spokeswoman Henriette Muller was quoted assaying.

The province of Utrecht will send its provincial commissioner Roel Robbertsoen to Beijing to network on behalf of the province.

The Eindhoven city government plans to send one city council executive and an assistant to Beijing, who are going to support their local swimming gold medal hopeful Pieter van den Hoogenband.

The Netherlands is a trading nation and both the central and the local governments consider it very important to strengthen trade and investment ties with China, which have enjoyed fast economic growth in the past decades.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told the parliament earlier this month that at least 19 government delegations were planning visits to China this year, many of which have been or will be accompanied by trade delegations.

Besides provincial and municipal governments, the Dutch central government is also visiting China. Dutch State Secretary for Transport Tiineke Huizinga will be holding talks in China on inland shipping and the climate.

Earlier this month, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende spoke of the importance of dialogue with China, saying the Netherlands and China need to work together on many issues, including climate and world stability.


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