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Dutch Ambassador goes digital in Leeds

The Dutch Ambassador to the UK was in Leeds today to attend an event taking place as part of Leeds Digital Festival. The Northernlands Data and Startup Summit, which is a collaboration between ODI Leeds (Open Data Institute) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, marks the start of activity to create, support and amplify the cultural links between the Netherlands and the North of England.

The event brought together the people who are creating the data economy both in the Netherlands and the UK and was an important step in strengthening the connection between the two countries, sharing experiences and creating links to support each other, collaborate and do business.

The Dutch Ambassador, Simon Smits, at a Q&A session with Paul Connell, Founder of ODI Leeds, at today’s Northernlands summit

Later in the day, the Ambassador, Simon Smits, was welcomed to Leeds Civic Hall by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Graham Latty, who discussed current and future areas of cooperation between Leeds and the Netherlands.

The Ambassador was keen to learn about the way in which the Visit Leeds team is working to attract more visitors from the Netherlands to the city, hosting visits from the Dutch media and travel trade and working closely with organisations such as P&O ferries.

Representatives from the Council’s Children’s Services told the Ambassador about the partnership they have developed with colleagues in the Dutch town of Hoogeveen over the last three years. A delegation of 30 practitioners, managers and politicians visited Leeds in 2018 to look at the Child Friendly Leeds ambition and Leeds’ work to promote restorative practice.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Graham Latty, said “It was a great opportunity to welcome the Dutch Ambassador to the city as part of a new initiative to encourage closer cooperation between the Netherlands and the North of England.

“This start-up summit has given us the opportunity to showcase our city to those businesses working in the Netherlands’ digital and tech sector, and also very importantly provides a platform on which we can build positive relationships through shared learning and ideas.”

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