Plans for an EU-funded knowledge and innovation community in food research which would strengthen links between Norfolk and the Netherlands were discussed during a recent visit to Norfolk by the Dutch ambassador.

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Pim Waldeck was taken to the Norwich Research Park (NRP) in what he described as an informative visit to the county.

It is hoped a proposed community would strengthen the links between the NRP and the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

Mr Waldeck, who was accompanied by Tessel van Essen who is senior commercial attaché at the Netherlands embassy, said: “I much appreciated this very informative visit putting great emphasis on the important historic, current and future economic links between East Anglia and the Netherlands.

“The embassy of the Netherlands greatly supports these trade links and we will continue our efforts in assisting companies that are looking to work on either side of the North Sea.”

Matthew Jones, chief operating officer at Norwich Research Park said: “We are keen to strengthen our existing business and research relationships with the Netherlands, particularly in the food, health and environment sectors.

“We were delighted to share the world-class expertise on the Norwich Research Park with the Ambassador and Attaché and to discuss opportunities for closer collaboration.”

The visit was organised by Andrew Wood in his capacity as both as a member of the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce and head of the Anglo Dutch desk at Birketts.

He said: “Businesses in Norfolk in particular are well placed to work with companies in the Netherlands.

“This visit follows a pattern I have established over the last 15 years as part of Shaping Norfolk’s Future highlighting the close historic and geographic links with the Netherlands, which culminated in the Apeldoorn conference of 2005.”

During the visit, which also included a dinner at Birketts law firm in Norwich, the leaders discussed holding a further conference on North Sea offshore wind opportunities and collaboration with Dutch companies, building on the success of the Anglo-Dutch wind conference organised by EEEGR in Cambridge in 2011.

The Dutch ambassador also met representatives from local businesses and organisations interested in increasing connections to the Netherlands and from Dutch companies already doing business in the UK.

annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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