Opinion
19:01 25 November 2021
Post by: WBJ

Ambassadors’ Corner 8

Dutch Ambassador Daphne Bergsma tells WBJ about veganism and vegetarianism, migration, and upcoming Christmas celebrations

Ambassadors’ Corner 8

In Poland, the plant-based protein sources market increased by 28 percent in 2020, which is more than €130 million, according to a Polish business daily. Meanwhile, Warsaw has been named as the sixth most vegan-friendly city in the world by Happy Cow, the world’s largest guide to vegan and vegetarian-friendly businesses worldwide. How popular are vegan and vegetarian dishes in your country? How big are the vegan and vegetarian food markets in your country?

Daphne Bergsma: The Netherlands is a hotspot for plant-based food and Wageningen has been named “the Green Silicon Valley” for its food innovations. We have a successful mix of major companies investing in R&D centered around Foodvalley, favorable government policies for innovations, and a thriving community that is excited about plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy. Dutch people eat the most plant-based products per person in the EU! And since the plant-based food industry is booming in Poland as well, it’s a topic where we see a lot of potential for cooperation. As an embassy, we support in Poland several events about plant-based and innovative food, to create awareness also about more sustainability. And last year we organized a trade mission for plant-based stakeholders from the Netherlands to Poland. We are looking forward to continuing with this topic in 2022!


An unprecedented number of migrants have moved to Poland in recent years. For the fourth year in a row, Poland has granted the most first residence permits to immigrants coming into the EU, the latest Eurostat data reveals. How popular (in numbers) is your country with migrants? Where are they primarily from?

According to the Statistics Netherlands (CBS), 220,853 persons migrated to the Netherlands in 2020. In addition, 152,494 persons emigrated from the Netherlands in the same year. The balance is therefore 68,359 persons. Of the 220,853 people, 11.3 percent have a Dutch background, 53.7 percent have a migration background from Europe (excluding the Netherlands), 16.1 percent with a migration background from Asia, 10.9 percent with a migration background from the US, and 7.4 percent from Africa. The top countries from where people migrated to the Netherlands in 2020 are Poland (25,725 people), countries in southeast and east Europe (including Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria), and Turkey.


Christmas 2020 was the first Christmas to get through the Covid-19 restrictions. In your country, how are Christmas 2021 celebrations going to be different than those of last year’s? Are there any limits on indoor gatherings or travel (domestic/foreign)?

For most people in the Netherlands, Christmas is about spending time with family and close friends, either at a restaurant but mostly at home, with specially prepared dinners and a Christmas tree. Of course last year we were limited to the number of people we could see also at home and people took care especially of the elderly. It is hard to predict what the specific situation will be around Christmas this year with Covid restrictions. I expect that people will still be more cautious anyway than before Covid but that everybody will make sure we will have a chance to see the people that we care about the most. For those who want to travel around this time, we always advise checking the latest travel advice on “Travelling to the Netherlands from abroad” on Government.nl.


opinion
the netherlands
daphne bergsma

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