Last week a number of Arabic countries under Saudi leadership broke off relationships with Qatar over Qatar’s alleged support of international terrorism, initiating a diplomatic crisis resembling that of 2014. With the Qatari air space and waters blocked, as well as its only land border – shared with Saudi Arabia – obstructed, this crisis has caused some panic on the Qatari peninsula. As the country produces little other than oil and gas, inhabitants have started to hoard food and drink. As most food is imported from abroad, supermarket shelves in Qatar are increasingly empty.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Qatar remains friendly and mostly revolves around trade. Queen Beatrix paid a state visit to Qatar in 2011, following which there was a remarkable increase in Qatari imports from the Netherlands. Afterwards, various ministers and other trade missions have followed in the Queen’s footsteps and visited Qatar. The Netherlands exports products, such as flour, vegetables, fruit, flowers and dairy products, to Qatar. In 2016, the value of imports from Qatar was approximately 460 million euros, whereas roughly 410 million euros of goods were exported.
The relationship between the two countries also extends beyond trade. Dutch companies like Shell, Arcadis and Van Oord are involved in large oil and gas, as well as infrastructure, projects. Investments are also made in the Qatari health care sector. Similarly, a number of Qatari companies, for instance Katara Hospitality, are also active in the Netherlands.