An Interview With Mr. Jaap W Vaandrager (Netherlands)

On the special occasion of Bahrain’s National Day, Gulf Insider takes a closer look at relationships between Bahrain and some of its major trading partners.

What are your country’s main trading activities with Bahrain?

First of all, trade between the Netherlands and Bahrain has seen a sharp increase in the last few years. In 2017, BH has imported from NL approx. $ 190m and exported to NL $198m. Main imports from the Netherlands into Bahrain are 17% machinery, 12% dairy, 8% chemicals, 8% pharmaceuticals, 5% beverages, 15% is meat, fresh produce, nuts, cocoa, plants, cut flowers, cereals and 5% boats, 5% ceramics. Bahraini exports into the Netherlands are mainly made up of 60% mineral fuels & oils, 20% aluminum and 10 % machinery.

Is there anything that makes your country’s relationship with Bahrain special?

At first glance, Bahrain and the Netherlands may seem to be countries that are stark opposites. Dig a little deeper and you will see that in fact, these two kingdoms have a lot in common. Both countries are sea faring nations; they are both outward looking, business-friendly and exercise great religious tolerance. Bahrain and the Netherlands are small countries in comparison to their neighbors and they have a very diverse population. However, perhaps the most important similarity is that in the Netherlands and in Bahrain, everyone is welcome.

Any interesting news, recent or historical, about your country’s relations with Bahrain?

Two years after the independence of Bahrain, our Dutch national carrier, KLM (then Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) started flying to Bahrain. This year marks 45 years of that first flight. Recently, we have seen many students choosing the Netherlands to complete their higher education. Higher quality of life, cheaper education costs, and more and more English programs on offer are the main reasons why Bahraini students choose to study in Holland.

Any short message for our readers on Bahrain’s National Day?

We would like to congratulate the royal family and the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain on the 47th national day of Bahrain. We wish for continued prosperity and stronger ties between our two Kingdoms.

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