Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the UAE, inaugurated the ‘Emirates-Netherlands Sunflower Walkway’ in the Corniche area of Abu Dhabi to celebrate the 50th anniversary of exceptional friendship between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while a group of children from the Dutch community in the UAE presented Her Excellency with a bouquet of sunflowers on behalf of the Dutch embassy.

The new ‘Emirates-Netherlands Sunflower Walkway’, designed to strengthen ties between the two countries, is a unique landmark with components inspired by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s famed paintings from the 18th century depicting scenes of nature. It allows residents and visitors to the UAE capital to unwind and take in the beauty of hundreds of sunflowers glistening on the sidewalks, creating a magnificent work of art in the heart of the city.

At the opening of the walkway, His Excellency Saif Badr Al Qubaisi, Director General of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, highlighted the deep ties between the two countries and the positive impact they have had on each other over the decades. “Sunflowers along the Corniche will add a natural and aesthetic touch to the city, making it even more enjoyable for all.”

Visitors and residents will be able to scan QR codes on sunflower bowls placed along the promenade to learn about the history of Dutch-Emirati relations. In addition, they will have a chance to enter a competition to win a trip to Amsterdam to see Van Gogh’s famed sunflower paintings.

Lody Embrechts, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UAE, said: “Sunflower drawings were very important to the famed artist Van Gogh, who referred to them as an expression of ‘gratitude’ when displaying his stunning paintings. These sunflowers are now an indication of our “gratitude” for the long-standing relationship between our two countries.

“Today, we continue the journey that began fifty years ago when H.E. Ambassador Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s founder, and declared the beginning of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Through our commitment to collaborative action and cooperation, as well as the exchange of Dutch expertise and experience in critical areas such as water supplies, sustainable energy, and food security, our connection has grown deeper and stronger.”

As part of the Dutch-Emirati Awareness Program, sunflower seeds will be provided to students at national schools in the UAE for planting. To inspire the youth and to stimulate their creativity, everyone will have the opportunity to enter a painting competition in the style of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” works.

The Dutch Ambassador added: “Young people have always been at the centre of our regional initiatives. Our collaboration with Her Excellency, the Minister of Youth, and youth centres around the UAE has enabled us to accomplish even more cooperation in recent years. We are ecstatic to see young people from all around the UAE working together..”

For more information about the “Sunflower Walk” competition, you can click on the link: http://qrco.de/NLsunflower

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