Interview with a.e. Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador

21st of February 2014 0

Interview with a.e. Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador

Joan Boer Interview with HE Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador A Friend , linguist, sculptor, musician, and a man with a good sense of humor, behold, the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Thailand. addition, he happens to be a seasoned diplomat with extensive experience in Africa and South America, before He was appointed in Bangkok.

Relations between Thailand and the Netherlands date back as early as 1604. The first Dutch consulate was opened in 1858 as a result of the growing number of Dutch ships to trade goods did to the port of Bangkok. The consulate in 1881 was upgraded to Consulate General and became an embassy in 1957. The property, which the Dutch embassy is now housed, was acquired in 1949.

The embassy

The ambassador believes that the embassy premises â € œeen fantastic Pleka € is that part of the Thai cultural heritage. It is connected with the history as the residence a Thai prince lived, which was in 1932 against the constitutional reform. “To live in the embassy has its advantage because you’re avoiding the heavy traffic on the way to work and home. The downside is that you are always in your work environment, but I’m not complaining, because Heta is a beautiful building and we try so to houdenâ €.


“Currently, there are 42 people working at the embassy, ​​ten Dutch and the rest is Thai, two of the Dutch language beheersenâ €

Career reverloop

Joan Boer was born on January 9, 1950 in Haarlem. “I am happily married for over 40 years and we now have two grown children. My wife and I have to say after all these years still we are building our relationship. It’s fun, my wife really is my soulmate. He is at the Free University in Amsterdam graduated in anthropology and should not therefore call Master (formerly Drs.). He has done volunteer work in Kenya and Rwanda, and in 1979 was employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. Initially worked in departments related to science and technology. He then led departments such as Food, Agriculture and Food.

He was Head of the Directorate for South America at the ministry, where he dealt himself with urban and rural development. He was appointed in 1998 as Deputy Director General of the Directorate for International Cooperation, responsible for bilateral development cooperation and common development. He held that position for six years, until he was appointed ambassador to the Organization for Economic and Social Development (OECD) in Paris in 2004. In 2009 he was appointed Superintendent of the Outer Lande Service in the Department, a position he held until his appointment as ambassador to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

farmer and Yingluck1 Interview with HE Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador

Travel experience

â € œI made my first trip to Thailand in the year I went to work at the ministry in 1979. I was working as a project assistant science and technology and the first project was à © à © n the field of agricultural innovation. I worked with people from the University of Chiang Mai on a program to offer integrated farming help. That you see everywhere now,  but then it was a modern innovative technology for small farmers.

At that time Bangkok was still very rural in a sense, no high rises or Skytrain. Traffic was Ala difficult, but not as intense as it is today. At that time I also had projects going on in countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia «, Chile, Peru and Afrika.â €

“My most extensive experience, I have actually gained in Africa. Before I came to the ministry, I had already worked in Tunisia «, Kenya and Rwanda. The Central African Republic is the only African country I’ve never been, but more than once in all the other African countries. The same applies to Asia “and Latin America. I Indonesia «about 20 times and Thailand 10 times in the last 30 years bezochtâ €

“I am a traveler and I have always found is that if you have a certain place after a few years once visit, you see things that you miss when you actually live. This is à © à © n my â € œspecialiteitenâ € – look and compare “the progress and development of the countries over the years


Asked  to the difficult environment for him, he replied: “I found Chad (West Africa) difficult at times. Of course, just after the Rwanda genocide was very difficult as Ethiopia «and Eritrea. It was very dangerous to work in Columbia at that time because of the fierce battle with the drug cartel. Comparatively speaking, Thailand is a relatively simple standplaats.â €


“I was ambassador to Thailand in 2011, just before the general election and not long before the floods began. At that time I was not yet accredited, which was actually a very big advantage because I could not move about freely. At that time, I visited several refugee camps along the border with Myanmar without a protocol, but in a small group. This is the kind of visit where one learns the most.

I also went to other parts of the country such as the Northeast, where I talked to people without that they knew I was an ambassador of a foreign nation. The first trips I made mostly by train which was really nice. Now, when people see the diplomatic license plates on my car, is there like a screen between me and the people. Everything is arranged, the Thai people are very good at it, but when you place an ambassador in a cocoon. That’s what I find difficult. I enjoy more than just walking in the city. The country talking in unaccompanied and there to look around, to people about what is going on. I can go wherever I want, everywhere but I’m not really pretty in my dress choice. A T-shirt for example, I can only wear on the beach, not when I am in town walking. Â There are about 10,000 Dutch people who live here, I am regularly in the news, so they know me. It’s like a living in a glass house “
 joan farmer Interview with HE Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador

Thai language

Mr. Farmer has a strong linguistic background and speaks several languages, but his frustration is that he does not speak the Thai language. “Thailand is the first country where I am and posted  which I can not speak the language.  I think that is a terrible handicap, it is à © partement of the things I miss here. If I were working in Kenya is not a problem. For my Swahili is not bad here, but … sometimes I know the words, but I do not understand what people are talking about. I would like to contact with people and listen to their stories. I am unable to adequately express myself out. Work and live in an area on the Dutch embassy so does the incentive to learn Wega €


Typical day

“I’m normally between 5:30 and 6:00 am, because if the birds start to sing I start my day, â € said Mr. Boer jovial. “I look through the tweets and then go for a swim before my physical condition. That swimming is also a great opportunity to advance to do for the day to come.
Some ideas «nI start the day around 8:00 am and make a round at the embassy, ​​for example, to ask the people of the Consular Section or the day before has occurred. Something special A normal working day has a few events inside and outside the embassy. I spend about one week a month in Myanmar. I do not go every month to Laos and Cambodia, because we do not have as much capacity to serve those countries. Of course, Thailand is my primary responsibility – we have about 200,000 Dutch tourists every year and only a few thousand, who visit Laos or Cambodia


We have approximately 300 Dutch companies in Thailand  and only five or six in Laos, so there is a relative weight to be weighed. Since consular and economic issues are the main reasons for our presence here determines the priority.

Consular Affairs

“I spent a lot of my time to the consular duties. Dutch pensioners, problems with residence permits hebben example. Then there are the tourists, more than 90 percent of the Dutch return home satisfied and happy terug after a trip to Thailand, but sometimes there are small problems caused by scammers and other bad characters.

Joan Boer Bangkok Interview with HE Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador For example, someone renting a motorcycle or jet ski and when he returns claiming the owner damage ( not damaged) jet. There is the issue with tuk-tuks in Phuket, where the journey takes six or seven times more than in Bangkok. In the worst cases, people are beaten for refusing to pay to scammers. 200 or 300 baht That is unacceptable. That’s not the friendly attitude towards tourists that Thailand is famous for.

There is room to expand in Thailand, but tourism as tourists are seen as cash cows properly then reaches a point that people are not coming. Netherlands is à © partement of the 18 EU countries that matter has been submitted to the Governor of Phuket to do more to protect. Tourists in Phuket requesting a complaint

Together with other ambassadors, I am constantly trying to come to scams and other problems. solutions in consultation with the Thai government That’s a lot of my time in it. EA © n the results of these discussions is that the Thai government has indicated that it is unlawful for a business owner to keep. Passport of a foreigner â € œin bewaringâ € now This is very important because if you want to rent a motorcycle or jet ski you had to choose between not getting the motorcycle or jet ski and giving the passport, so the passport was issued. Toerista as If you are in a situation of scam gets, you can not just walk away without passport. Now the entrepreneur is only one copy of the passport and make that de-escalating conflict. This is à © partement of concrete things that our group of ambassadors has been able to achieve with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. We’ll see how this works in Phuket.

Bilateral relations

“We have a community of between 5,000 to 10,000 Dutch expats living permanently or semi-permanently in Thailand. I do not know how many Thai people live in the Netherlands, but I have met in many parts of the Netherlands and I think that’s quite a significant number.

There are about 300 Dutch companies in Thailand, including some big boys like Shell, Unilever and Foremost. A Dutch company (Driessen) in Chiang Mai makes the trolleys for almost all airlines. We have a jewelry factory in Hua Hin, where 200 women work. Recently we had an agricultural fair in Thailand, where 70 to 80 companies acte de prà © sà © ance gifts with new innovative products.

It is a two way street, for Thai companies such as PTT (oil) to invest in Ea © Nederland. one of the first questions that Thai people here ask me if they go to the Netherlands, or they there also can find. Thai food I tell them that this is not a problem, because there are many Thai restaurants in the Netherlands. “
 Netherlands Embassy Bangkok Interview with HE Joan Boer, Dutch ambassador

Promoting cultural activities

“Our embassy also aims to promote in various ways the Dutch culture. We hope that Thai and Dutch people get to know them better. Organizing cultural events together We participated in the Bangkok Dance and Music Festival in September, where we have sponsored four Dutch jazz groups and hope that Thai jazz artists also going to occur in the Netherlands. There are also regular concerts or recitals at the residence, where we invite to a diverse Thai public.

Dutch museum Baan Hollanda in Ayutthaya, opened on April 3, is a historical place where Dutch merchants ZOA € ™ s 400 years ago, had a trading post. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday. Everyone can be the history of the Dutch in Thailand see and enjoy Dutch treats like waffles with a cup of coffee.

Dutch aid

“During the floods in 2011, I was on a boat at Don Mueang, moving in 1.6 meters of water, knowing that it was a normal part of Bangkok. I saw a huge potential for assistance, we have also offered. As regards water, there are many similarities with the situation in the Netherlands. The Dutch have the technology to prevent flooding, and not only that. We have the knowledge and experience to be of service to other countries in water

This is à © partement of the things I want to accomplish in my time as ambassador here. I have not yet succeeded, but it takes time. I am here for four years and that’s not really a long period. I continued the job that my predecessors began  and maybe someone else will take over. My work in that respect “

 © Private Life

“My job is à © partement of much hard work and frankly, sometimes I do not think I have enough time for a number of social issues associated with this job, as it expiration of receptions. Luckily I have or do I have time, both private and official ©, for visiting the regioâ € ™ s in Thailand. I have visited many places. It’s a big country and there is always something new that makes traveling fascinating. For example, I want more to the northeast, and conversations with politicians and officials without preconceived agenda. I’d like to just see what happens in the country, which is what I find really interesting, “

Thai food

â € œEen thing I love to do in Thailand is Thai food. It is fantastic and not only in the restaurants. For even the street vendors serving delicious food, they are specialists, perhaps the best cuisine in town. If I’m somewhere in the country and there for 40-50 baht â € œpad Thaia € eat, I can only say that I get quality presented. I’ve never been sick from eating in Thailand. Thai cuisine is so rich. “


Asked about a flaw of Thailand, Mr. Boer pauses for a moment and then says, Â he sometimes finds that the Thai people â € Oete verlegenâ € is. Well, we Dutch are quite right, and that makes a Thai partner too shy. I find it hard to Thailand to build on an equal level, which I love to hear what is really happening instead of beating around the bush a relationship. It’s complicated, I feel that a Dutchman churlish in the eyes of Thais. Dutch do not talk so much, we look and get to work. “


“My wife and I both love modern art in every sense of the word. Discovering! The Thai way of making art is different from the European way, but there are also similarities in techniques, etc. and that’s what I find really fascinating.

I am also an admirer of modern ballet and modern dance, my wife and I love to dance, so when we get a chance to make a dance we do so with great pleasure.

My real passion is sculpting. Thailand is truly a source of inspiration for me. I recently went to Saraburi to buy a quarry, marble and other types of stones. Sculpting is like to talk with the stone. A very slow conversation admittedly, but it is a reflective process. Working with new stones, which behave differently than the stones that I know from Europe is just fantastic.


I paint but my wife does. She is a portrait painter. She makes a lot of portraits of people she ontmoet. here We appreciate the art in the broadest sense, both to look at it as the practice itself. My wife plays piano and I play a little accordeon. For sculpture, I can find time, but unfortunately for playing accordion weinig.⠀

Excellency, thank you for this interview!

(abbreviated) interview Maximilian Wechsler was i n August 2013 in The BigChilli, a very readable Ena nicely executed English expat magazine / website in Bangkok.

Filed under § Thailand — Tagged with , , , , ,

Share it!

Was it good for you to?

Related posts

Similar posts to this one


Support for the site!

No sponsors at the moment.

Your opinion matters. Add it below.

Tip: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Hotels – great deals!


Copyright Thailand Now! since 2010. All rights reserved. Design and the Absolute Theme by Tommie Hansen.