Ambassadors: Holland confused and introverted

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Ambassadors stationed in the Netherlands describe the country as confused and introverted, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports after a series of interviews with foreign diplomats.

Holland is increasingly turning its back on the world and mistakenly regards foreigners as a problem, say seven of the eight ambassadors interviewed by the paper. This new attitude, they warn, is threatening to undermine the country’s international prestige as well as its material prosperity which largely derives from international trade.

“My sense is that you people are too focussed on yourselves”, Germany’s ambassador Heinz-Peter Behr says. His counterparts from Britain, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Japan agree with his assessment. And even though Israel is the only foreign country to be mentioned in the coalition agreement, “Dutch support is not really helping Israel”, the German ambassador adds. The Belgian ambassador is the only one to take a more positive view of the Netherlands. 

NRC underlines how unusual it is for diplomats to express their views about their host country with such candour.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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