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Preface by H.E. Hassan Sobir for the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society

(Ambassador to the Benelux countries and the European Union 2019-2022)

As Ambassador of The Maldives to the Benelux countries and the European Union, it is a great honour to introduce the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society, a new initiative set up by people with a deep passion and admiration of The Maldives.

At our Embassy, we are leading the efforts of the Government of the Maldives to promote our national interest in the Benelux countries and the European Union.

I firmly believe that through the diverse activities of the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society, we will be able to reach a greater public across the Benelux, raising awareness and interest about The Maldives’ rich environment, biodiversity, culture and heritage.

The setting up of this Friendship Society is also very timely. Next year, we will celebrate the Golden Jubilee Year of Tourism, the 50th anniversary of our tourism industry.

We are now reaping the rewards of the pioneering efforts made back in the 1970s, which have transformed The Maldives into a world-leading destination.

As we keep working to elevate relations between Maldives and the Benelux countries to a qualitatively higher level, we are convinced that the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society will be a trusted partner in this exciting journey.

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Preface by Honorary Consul Gerard Huiting for the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society

It is a great honour and pleasure to announce the creation of the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society. For many years I have been fascinated by the Maldives, its rich history and culture, traditions and hospitable people.
Located at the crossroads in the Indian Ocean, The Maldives has been influenced over the centuries by many cultures including Arabs, Africans and Indians, assimilating into a unique culture and identity.

The Maldives is well known in the Benelux as a magical tourist destination famous for its coral reefs and romantic island resorts. In short, Maldives is the ideal place to feel in harmony with nature. Less known is the fact that The Maldives has one of the most sustainable fishing techniques, namely the pole-and-line method, which benefits both the local population and the environment.

Therefore, the Benelux-Maldives Friendship Society aims to bring The Maldives and Benelux closer in the cultural, artistic, tourism and academic domains, strengthening people-to-people linkages in the process through the organisation of events, conferences, fairs, information evenings, and other activities and engaging a wide range of stakeholders from all walks of life.

Dear friends, I look forward to welcoming you on board this exciting journey as we build bridges of understanding between the Maldives and Benelux, promote reciprocal awareness and appreciate each other’s rich history, customs and values through the frequent exchange of information and ideas.