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Visit International Ambassadors


9 May 2023

International ambassadors gain food inspiration in Gelderland

Every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organises a working visit for all international ambassadors to the Netherlands. This year, they visited Gelderland to see and taste the latest food innovations. The ‘Food inspiration tour’ started at Wageningen Campus, the knowledge heart of Foodvalley, and ended at the Open Air Museum in Arnhem. Over 70 ambassadors from all over the world learned about topics such as smart and sustainable food production and technological innovations for healthy food.

Inspiring welcome

Commissioner of the King, John Berends welcomed the audience at Omnia, the dialogue centre on Wageningen Campus. In his welcome speech, he emphasised joint accountability and the importance of cooperation across borders to tackle global challenges such as climate change, migration flows and feeding a growing global population. Culminating in an appeal to the ambassadors to take the inspiration from Gelderland to heart. The ambassadors then attended workshops at various organisations based at Wageningen Campus, such as Unilever, the Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre and OnePlanet Research Centre; a collaboration of WUR, IMEC and the Province of Gelderland where smart chips and sensors are being developed for healthy and sustainably produced food.

“Together with Oost NL, we are there to strengthen the ecosystem in everyday practice.”

Marjolein Brasz – CEO of Foodvalley NL

Making global impact from the region

Marjolein Brasz – CEO of Foodvalley NL – and Wendy de Jong – general director of Oost NL- know what cooperation means in practice. “Together with Oost NL, we are there to strengthen the ecosystem in everyday practice. Working on disrupted supply chains, tight labour markets, high energy prices, all things that impact the food system. The strength of Foodvalley NL lies in the diversity of our partner network with which we take joint action. From farmers to businesses, from doctors to knowledge institutions. They are all needed in building the food system of the future. From our initiatives, we contribute to viable businesses and new healthy sustainable sectors.”

“Oost NL and Foodvalley NL are complementary,” and Foodvalley NL are working closely together as partners in the food transition,” said Wendy de Jong. “Together, we strengthen the ecosystem for innovative companies focused on the food transition. We invest in startups and scale-ups. And assure international companies of a ‘soft landing’ in the eastern Netherlands, with access to the latest knowledge, insights and partnerships. Our booster- and liaison roles are a unique strength. This is how we add value and activity to stay at the forefront of new developments and new market opportunities.”

“Working well together in a specific sector and focusing on knowledge exchange can create a rock-solid ecosystem with global impact on transitions such as making food systems more sustainable.” That is the message Sjoukje Heimovaara, chair of the Board of Governors of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) conveyed to the group of ambassadors. “Many countries are looking with interest at the Dutch innovation model where knowledge institutions, governments, companies and NGOs work closely together. In Wageningen, that is very tangible and so we try to show that up close.”

Understanding food and farming traditions

After the visit to Wageningen Campus, the group visited the Open Air Museum where they gained more insight into Dutch food and farming traditions. Before taking another leap into the future with a sustainable Taste of tomorrow dinner by pioneering food designer Katja Gruijters, inspired by the DNA of six regions of Gelderland.

The visit was organised by the province of Gelderland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with Oost NL, Foodvalley NL and WUR.

Foodvalley_ambassadors visit_may 2023