The Netherlands’ decision to host the nuclear security summit in The Hague was absolutely worth it, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters in his final press conference.
Not only did the summit generate important measures to boost nuclear security but it enabled the prime minister to do some ‘Holland promotion’ among world leaders, he said.
For a few days, the Netherlands was at the centre of world attention, the prime minister said.
In particular, the press conference hosted by Mark Rutte and US president Barack Obama in front of Rembrandt’s massive Night Watch painting generated a lot of newspaper front pages including the New York Times, Times, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemein.
Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan said the cost of Obama’s 90 minute visit to Amsterdam – put at some €360,000 – is peanuts compared to the benefits to the city’s tourist industry.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper welcomed the fact world leaders were not expected to cycle – like they were during a major European summit 16 years ago.
This year, instead, the 53 guests were treated to a short film and musical performance focusing on a glowing nuclear rod as a sort of Olympic torch and the best of the Netherlands, including Johan Cruijff, skater Ireen Wüst and Van Gogh. (see below)
Queen Máxima also made an impact on the guests at Monday night’s banquet. Obama, French president Francois Hollande and British prime minister David Cameron were ‘mad about Max’, according to the Daily Mail.
The first visit to the Netherlands by Chinese president Xi Jinping was not without controversy. In Amsterdam, Tibetan demonstrators were shielded from the president’s gaze by Chinese security agents who erected large screens to hide the protestors.
Some 140 arrests were made during and in the run-up to the summit, most of which involved demonstrators, police confirmed on Tuesday evening. Most have also since been released, police said.
Some 60 people were fined €150 for demonstrating in a place where gatherings were not allowed. In the main, demonstrations were held without incident and the summit proceeded in a ‘safe, undisturbed’ manner.
US secret service
Three secret service agents responsible for protecting president Obama in Amsterdam were sent home on Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to the Washington Post.
One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, sources told the paper. Hotel staff then alerted the US embassy in The Hague and the embassy informed the security team.
The incident happened a day before Obama was due to arrive. A spokesman for the secret service told the paper the agency ‘did send three employees home for disciplinary reasons’.