Arctic Council’s Oulu SAO meeting May 15-16, 2002: Arctic Policies of the Observer Countries: Agenda Item 9. The Netherlands.

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"Mr. Chairman, The Netherlands has been involved in the Arctic region for centuries. As you know, the Barents Sea is named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz, who spent a grueling winter on Novaya Zemlya in 1596/97 in his quest for a Northern sea route to Asia. As a seafaring country, and a country actively involved in the protection of the global environment, we continue to have a great interest in Arctic affairs. We realize that the Arctic region plays an role of the utmost importance in climate issues. Not only does the region play an essential role in the global climate system, but Arctic research can also teach us a lot on how this system works./.../"