Bangladesh and the Netherlands share a common foe

One of the main objectives of Diplomat Affairs Magazine is to determine how you are in touch with the Dutch. What better way to do this than to seek similarities between two countries? It becomes even more interesting if these similarities exist between countries, where one would not expect them. Bangladesh, after all, is an upcoming and rapidly developing country at a distance of 7,632 kilometers, or 4,742 miles, from The Netherlands. Yet, the two countries share a formidable foe. Bangladesh and The Netherlands are both Delta countries fighting two forces of nature: Water and wind. In the words of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Ambassador of Bangladesh, the two countries are cousins. Ambassador Belal, who was accredited as Ambassador of Bangladesh to The Netherlands in March, 2014, has often visited coastal areas here, sometimes feeling sadness and wishing his own people could feel as safe and secure as the people in The Netherlands do. He is aware of the high level of innovative technology in the field of coastal protection in The Netherlands and is eager for his country to duplicate this knowledge. Although the complexity of the problems in Bangladesh, such as floods, cyclones, droughts and population pressure, should not be underestimated, definite strides in the right direction have been made. Already the flooding has been reduced somewhat.

The Government of Bangladesh can be praised to have adopted a long term vision in order to deal with these problems. After the tragic disaster in The Netherlands in 1953, when 1,830 people and tens of thousands of animals died during severe flooding, The Netherlands has worked hard at acquiring the highest level of technological knowledge in the field of coastal protection, which has resulted in the building of the famous Delta works in Zeeland. Now this knowledge will be shared with Bangladesh, as on March 12th of this year, His Excellency Mr. Gerben de Jong, Ambassador of The Netherlands to Bangladesh, and Mr. Jaap de Heer, team leader of the Bangladesh Deltaplan, signed the contract on the formulation of the Bangladesh Deltaplan at the Dutch Embassy in Dhaka. This crucial and ambitious plan is expected to be completed within five years and will ensure an immense improvement in the safety of the people living in Bangladesh.

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