Sharing ideas across the Transatlantic
Golden Isles hosts Ard van der Vorst, Netherlands Consul General
Economic development does not occur in a silo, and successful economic development strategies seek to leverage the experience and skills of many. In the Golden Isles, nineteen local organizations adopted a shared vision to strengthen our communities and enhance the quality of life. Working towards this vision challenges our organizations to seek creative solutions to improve our neighborhoods, and when possible, seek out opportunities to learn from outside of our region.
This past month the Golden Isles had an opportunity to host Ard van der Vorst, Netherlands Consul General, and staff. Mr. Van der Vorst set up an office in Atlanta earlier this year to better facilitate economic ties between the Southeast U.S. and the Netherlands. The visit to the Golden Isles provided the Consul an overview of our business climate and an opportunity to discuss priorities for the Netherlands in the United States.
The Consul General was briefed on our economy by representatives from sectors of the local businesses that are of interest in the Netherlands. The Georgia Ports Authority, Gulfstream, Richland Rum, and Reid’s Apothecary all supported the visit with tours and information on their unique organizations. Community leaders joined the day as well, including Mayor Cornell Harvey, City of Brunswick, and Julie Martin, Commissioner City of Brunswick. In addition to sharing similar geography, two-thirds of the Netherlands is below sea level, our region’s share personal heritage; the owner of Richland Rum is a native of the Netherlands!
One item of interest from the meeting was discussion on the “Dutch Dialogues.” The Dialogues are a collaborative effort taking place in the City of Charleston regarding stormwater management, resiliency. This initiative brings an integrated approach to manage the region’s water collectively. It includes community leaders from the City of Charleston, private industry, and academia.
The Dutch are experts in water adaptation with over 800 years of living at the water’s edge. Flooding cannot be “fixed;” however, as the Dutch have learned, risk can be mitigated. Their approach combines integrated planning with urban landscape design. United States cities, including New Orleans and Houston, are using the same method.
“The Development Authority welcomes the opportunity to host professionals, and new ideas, from outside of our region. The same methods may not fit exactly, but it’s essential to learn what’s working well in other areas of the world and what we can borrow for the Golden Isles.” Ryan Moore, President & CEO, Brunswick & Glynn County Development Authority.
Following the Consul’s visit, the two parties are exploring opportunities for future economic and cultural collaboration in the Golden Isles.