Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson announced today that he will lead a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. The five-day mission, taking place from Sunday, September 15 until Friday, September 20, will recognize the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, which was led by Canadian forces, and will strengthen business and tourism relations between Ottawa and the Netherlands.

While in the Netherlands, the delegation will meet with partners in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, with some delegates also travelling to Eindhoven.

The mission’s goals include:

  • Promoting Ottawa as the preferred Canadian destination for Dutch leisure and business travelers;
  • Facilitating business development in the Netherlands for Ottawa-based companies operating in key sectors, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities, software and defence; and
  • Exchanging information and best practices in areas such as flood prevention, active transportation, affordable housing and the nightlife economy.

Mayor Watson will host events in The Hague and Amsterdam, participate in meetings with Dutch counterparts and stakeholders, and sign partnership agreements advancing Ottawa’s business and tourism ties with the Netherlands.


“Ottawa has a long history of cooperation and friendship with the Netherlands, as well as strong economic and cultural ties. There are opportunities for greater collaboration in many innovative and technology sectors, as well as increased activity in leisure and business travel. I look forward to leading this delegation of business community leaders and building on our 75 years of friendship.’’
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“From the annual Canadian Tulip Festival to skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa offers an intriguing mix of familiar-yet-different experiences for visitors from the Netherlands. Whether they’re in town for a meeting or convention, as part of an organized tour, or on a personal holiday, Dutch visitors will discover Canada in one city when they visit Ottawa. This mission allows us to expand our existing relationships and to forge new ones.”
Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism

“As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is a hotbed of disruptive technology, with decades of internationally recognized expertise, more than 1,750 world-class firms and the second-highest concentration of tech talent in North America. Many of these companies have established strong ties with the Netherlands. We look forward to strengthening these relationships, building new connections, and exploring mutually beneficial opportunities this week.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa


Mayor Watson will be leading a delegation of 20 business and tourism leaders, representing the following organizations and local companies:

Invest Ottawa
Ottawa Tourism
Canadian Tulip Festival
Assent Compliance
Martello Technologies

Quick facts

  • As the birthplace of Princess Margriet and home of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa holds a special relationship with the Netherlands and the royal family.
  • The Dutch royal family took refuge in Ottawa during the Second World War.
  • In 1943, Princess (later Queen) Juliana gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
  • Immediately following the Second World War, the Dutch royal family presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulips in gratitude for the hospitality provided by the city and an additional 20,000 tulip bulbs in 1946 as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.
  • The Netherlands continues to send a gift of tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of international friendship.
  • As Canada’s fifth largest European trading partner and second largest source of foreign direct investment, the Netherlands is one of Canada’s most significant trade, investment and innovation partners.
  • Ottawa has a history of cooperation and friendship with The Hague, having furthered and strengthened mutual administrative, economic and cultural ties through agreements in 1984 and 1992.