The Netherlands can learn from Singapore, says Dutch minister

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.