The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte, spent three days on a working visit to Sydney and Melbourne from 9 to 11 October 2019.
Mr Rutte’s busy schedule began at Admiralty House where he was appointed an Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia for his exceptional leadership to establish the MH17 Joint Investigation Team.
He then met with Prime Minister Morrison for bilateral talks, which included discussions on MH17, strengthening the trade and investment relationship, the circular economy and opportunities for closer international cooperation.
Later in Sydney, Mr Rutte toured the State Library of New South Wales to view items of Dutch-Australian heritage. He also attended business events at the Sydney Opera House, met with the Premier of New South Wales and delivered a keynote speech at the Lowy Institute where he said:
“I believe that Australia and the Netherlands should work closely together in pursuing that goal. I believe that for many reasons. Because we share a long history, going all the way back to the early 17th century, when the Dutch ship Duyfken – the little pigeon – landed in northern Australia.
It was a wonderful experience yesterday at the State Library of New South Wales to see the maps and journals documenting these first encounters between Australia and Europe”.
Prime Minister Rutte visited the State Library of New South Wales where State librarian Dr John Vallance welcomed PM Rutte in the Mitchell Vestibule with the Tasman Map mosaic floor. PM Rutte was also able to closely observe the original Tasman Map, one of the State Library’s most valued possessions, along with the Huijdecoper manuscript by Tasman and Blaeu’s Atlas Major.