Russian-Dutch relations span over many centuries
Organizing Committee RusPrix Award, 01.01.2010
At the initiative of the Russian Embassy, Russian Chamber of Commerce and the Dutch-Russian Center for Trade Promotion (NRCH), Russian Association of Entrepreneurs (RSPP) and the Association of Russian Journalists, the RusPrix Award was created so that Dutch people and holdings, which have rendered the field of Russian-Dutch relations, could be distinguished.
The historical relationship between the two countries, that was counted mainly from the visit of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great to Holland, actually goes further back into the XI century and teaches today`s generation to understand the mutual benefits of good international relations.
Here you will find a brief overview of the development of this relationship.
Along the shores of the Baltic, Caspian and Black Sea Frisian coins had been used in trade already in the beginning of the second millennium, as archaeologists have shown.
Knowing nothing about Russia, the inhabitants of Amsterdam, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Middelburg and Stavoren ate Russian grain bread in already the XIII-century.
The benefit for Dutch traders, who bought everything what the Russian naturally rich and agricultural land could offer, was already recognised by both countries during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.The fact that Dutch sailors helped designing the first charts of these specific areas, promoted the development of trade contacts extraordinary.
In 1596, William Barentz took his expedition through the Arctic Ocean over Western Siberia to Novaya Zemlya to attempt to sail to China and India.
In the XVII century the Dutch "Fur Coat" got the biggest priorities on the Russian fur market.In the same century official contacts between Russia and the Netherlands strengthened because of the visit of S. Uschakov and S. Zaborovskiy to the Netherlands, two representatives of the Russian Tsar. With Holland’s help, his resulted in a peace between Russia and Sweden in 1615.
Ever since the diplomatic traffic between Russia and the Netherlands gained a structural nature.
The visit of Tsar Peter the Great to Holland, already widely known and described in both countries, represents the culmination of the countries’ relationship. The knowledge about the sea and ship building in exchange of favorable market conditions, development of the scientific, technical and cultural contacts played a major role in strengthening the ties between Russia and the Netherlands.
"There are more works by Dutch artists in Russia than there are in the Netherlands", tell the visitors of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and this shows how important Dutch art has always been to the Russian culture.
Even one of the most beautiful cities of Russia, St. Petersburg, is a copy of Amsterdam’s canals and architecture.
Russia also played a major role in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1813 from the Napoleonic domination.
One of the Dutch queens, who was also very much loved by the people, was Anna Pavlovna, a Russian princess, the wife of William II of Orange and mother of King William III and princes Alexander, Henrich and Sofie-Willemien.
From that perspective there are a few drops of Russian blood in every Dutch prince and princess (and who knows how many ordinary Dutch still).
In 1846 a treaty is signed by both countries on mutual trade and cooperation in the maritime field.
Russia and the Netherlands have worked since 1899 on the first and second World Peace Conference in The Hague and then on its 100th anniversary in The Hague and St. Petersburg.
During the late 19th and 20th century their friendship intensified because of the conflict of Belgium and the Netherlands, where Russia had taken a clear position on the part of the Netherlands. In the situation between France and the Netherlands on Guyana (Suriname), the support of Russia was approved by the Dutch government.
Despite the cooling of the relations since the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Netherlands supported wounded Russian soldiers with medicine and money in the course of the First World War.
During the Second World War, diplomatic relations between the Dutch and Russian governments restored.
The Perestroika and the beginning of the democratic development in post-Soviet countries were very much welcomed by the Netherlands.
Ever since then there is growth in relations between Russia and the Netherlands in the field of the destruction of chemical and nuclear weapons; science; sports; technology; transport; culture; music; police cooperation; financial developments; maritime; space and energy projects.
The Netherlands remain one of the most important economic partners in the enlarged Russian market.
Fantastic cultural projects like the Diaghilev festival, exhibitions of Ilya Repin, Russian landscapes (opened by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev) and Russian fairy tales (all supported by Gasunie and GasTerra) attract large numbers of visitors and stimulate mutual interest in further development of cooperation between the Netherlands and Russia.
People and companies that promote such relationships may make the Award nominees and become winners of RusPrix.
Through the organisational committee of the RusPrix, largely entrusted to the Foundation of the Public Diplomacy Corps, the initiators of this project indicated that all investments, all effort and all services of the Netherlands to Russia do not go unnoticed and are valued higher and higher.