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The Netherlands can learn from Singapore, says Dutch minister

Friday 25 January 2013

The Netherlands can learn from the positive mentality of people living in Singapore, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans said on Friday, the last day of an official visit to the Asian country by queen Beatrix and a trade delegation.

Timmermans told Nos television he is most impressed by the 'can do' mentality of the Singaporeans. 'Everyone you meet has the attitude that there is no such thing as 'can't do', the minister said.

The Dutch, said Timmermans, often think in terms of what cannot be done.

Queen Beatrix, crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima arrived in Singapore on Wednesday after a two-day state visit to Brunei.

Timmermans told the broadcaster he had raised the issue of democracy while in Brunei, which is a sultanate. 'I made it clear we have different ideas about democracy, elections and an open society,' he said.


© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Pick the right thing to learn, not everything.

By ufo | 25 January 2013 2:59 PM

Sounds along the lines of Obama,'Yes we can' BS..

'Can do' = increase taxes

'Can't do' = afford the mortgage or child care :P

By The visitor | 25 January 2013 6:33 PM

Mr. Timmermans needs a few lessons on diplomacy.

By jaycee | 25 January 2013 6:41 PM

The Dutch think in terms of what cannot be done?!... No, that is not possible!

By Chris V | 25 January 2013 9:43 PM

Singapore should learn from the Netherlands!

By wise owl | 26 January 2013 1:13 AM

The Dutch could also use their clean street policy! Fines are given if you throw your cigarette butt on the street or spit on the street! And...you will never find dog poop anywhere!

By M | 26 January 2013 9:03 AM

First of all only 10%, the rich 10% of Singaporeans are happy. The rest of us struggle everyday with raising cost of living, childcare, crazy standards of education and rather low wages compared. There is dog poo everyday on the pathway when I walk my dogs and if there weren't people paid to pick up after us, we'd be like any other Asian country. Get a clue.

By M | 27 January 2013 12:24 PM


37% of our population are not citizens. All is not well, though yes, a can-do mentality is prevalent. With so many cheap foreigners around, can you say no?

By Danny | 28 January 2013 3:05 AM

'Can do' attitude means either recklessness or terror, and in case of Singapore, and many other countries that us clueless westerners visit — it's the latter one — unless you're in a narrow privileged class. So yeah, they say "can do" to avoid angering the oppressor, and then try to figure it out later, when you don't see them.

Seriously, I get that tourists and expats living in unconscious isolation might miss that — the societies build the illusions because they depend on them for survival — but I'd expect a bit more from a civil servant.

By ModZero | 28 January 2013 3:47 PM

Dear Dutch Minister please introduce the same income taxes as in Singapore and you will see a "can do" attitude :)

By JP | 28 January 2013 9:44 PM

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