By Shane McGinley
France, the UK and former US President Clinton have also backed the bid
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, has announced his country's official support for the UAE's bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai. The Minister announced this news during a bilateral meeting with HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Dubai, the WAM News agency reported.
"The Netherlands is very pleased to support the UAE in its bid for Expo 2020. The consultation and assessment to decide a balanced position was lengthy. The Netherlands was extremely impressed with the efforts the UAE has invested in their bid for Expo 2020. The plans and strategy the UAE has put in place are remarkable," the minister said in a press release after the announcement.
While in Dubai, the minister also met with Dutch companies that have a presence in the UAE. The chairmen of the Netherlands Business Council and the Benelux Business Council both welcomed the decision, while Dutch businesses have expressed a strong voice in favour of supporting the UAE's bid for Expo 2020.
Members of the Business Council believe they can contribute substantially to the UAE to help realise plans for hosting the event. With over 250 Dutch companies in the country, the Netherlands has a substantial presence representing many different sectors, such as oil and gas, water, hospitality, architecture, and creative design. Many UAE landmark projects have been developed with the aid of cutting-edge knowledge from the Netherlands.
One of the most internationally recognised symbols of Dubai and the UAE is Palm Island, land for which was dredged out by the Dutch company, Van Oord. While in the UAE, the Minister went on a boat trip to view the latest Van Oord land reclamation project, Jumana Island, a venture by Meraas Development, one of the key developers in Dubai.
This is the third major endorsement for the UAE after the French and UK governments also revealed their support for the Dubai World Expo 2020 bid.
This summer, Dubai moved a step closer to hosting the event after its bid passed the latest stage and the Thailand city competing was disqualified, reducing the number of contenders to four.
The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) in June approved the UAE’s plans for the international event as meeting the criteria for staging the expo, based on inspections by BIE officials.
BIE officials voted to drop the Thai city Ayutthaya from contention amid concerns the bid did not have sufficient support from the government.
The other cities still in the race are Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey.
The emirate also has the backing of former US president Bill Clinton.
The winner will be announced after a vote by the bureau’s 166 member states at its next general assembly in November.
Bill Clinton may back the Dubai bid, but unfortunately, the United States doesn't get a vote since they pulled out of the BIE during the George W. Bush presidency.
Will it be a winter competition, due to the very hot summers?