Mayor Watson to lead Ottawa economic mission to Netherlands

amsterdam
Amsterdam's canal and tulips.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson will lead a delegation of local business leaders to the Netherlands later this month, hoping to establish deeper economic connections with the Dutch nation beyond a shared affection for tulips.

Watson announced Tuesday that he, alongside partners from Invest Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism, will depart Sept. 15 for a five-day mission to the Netherlands that will include stops in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague. A press release notes that the Netherlands is Canada’s fifth-largest European trading partner and second-largest source of foreign direct investment from the continent.

Joining the delegation will be representatives from some of the capital’s fastest-growing companies, including Martello Technologies, which acquired a Netherlands-based company last year, and Assent Compliance, which is looking to expand into the European market.

The economic mission will look to promote Ottawa as a prime destination for Netherlands companies to set down R&D roots, highlighting the capital as a hotbed for sectors such as autonomous vehicles. The delegation will also share best practices with its Dutch counterparts on transit, flood prevention and developing a nightlife economy.

Another portion of the mission will look specifically at improving tourism flow between Ottawa and the Dutch nation.

The Canadian Tulip Festival will be on board for the trip, representing the capital’s connection with the famous Dutch export. Not only is the annual festival Ottawa’s most well-attended event, the tulip also calls back to the Second World War, when the capital gave refuge to the Dutch royal family. As a result, then-Princess Juliana gave birth to her daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943 – the Netherlands has sent annual gifts of tulips to Ottawa ever since.