Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte received a ceremonial welcome at the Istana this morning. He called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who also hosted lunch.

President Tan and Prime Minister Rutte reaffirmed the excellent ties between Singapore and the Netherlands. They noted the long-standing and historical cooperation between the two countries. Prime Minister Lee and Prime Minister Rutte welcomed the strong bilateral partnership, including in emerging areas of cooperation such as cyber-security, and discussed international developments. Prime Minister Lee also thanked the Netherlands for its continued support for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

Prime Minister Rutte delivered the 39th Singapore Lecture, titled "The Netherlands, Singapore, our Regions, our World: Connecting our Common Future" at the Raffles City Convention Centre. The session, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, was attended by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, as well as representatives from the business community, think tanks, educational institutions and the diplomatic corps. Earlier today, Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Masagos witnessed the signing of several agreements between Singapore and Dutch companies and institutions of higher learning to expand joint collaborations at a Business Round Table organised by the Embassy of the Netherlands.

This morning, Prime Minister Rutte visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where an orchid hybrid, Aranda Mark Rutte, was named in his honour.

Prime Minister Rutte will return to the Netherlands tomorrow morning.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore