DIPLOMACY AND BUSINESS
This year (2022), the Netherlands and Armenia celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations, on the occasion of which a book was published "Armenia in the Ancient Dutch Maps”. It contains about fifty very old maps, made by the Dutch, including the first map of Armenia, which was published in 1695.
However, the trade relationship between the Dutch and the Armenians dates back centuries.
Armenian and Dutch interactions are believed to have started in the 13th and 14th centuries, when Dutch merchants arrived in Cilicia and Armenian trading houses opened in The Low Countries ( now Netherlands and part of Belgium). Armenians brought into the Low Countries carpets, dyes, cotton, and spices from Armenia and from around the world.
From notarial archives of Amsterdam from 1578 to 1842 it appears that hundreds of Armenian traders lived in Amsterdam during that period.
Their legal position in Amsterdam was favourable. Armenians could buy their “Poortership” (citizenship),had freedom of religion, could continue to dress according to their custom and could print Armenian books.
They were accepted as a part of street live, as can be seen from engravings and paintings.
In 1699 they even received permission from the East India Company to trade in a Dutch colony, "Dutch East Indies” ( now Indonesia).
At the present time, there are also very good trade relations, thanks to active embassies of both countries and business initiatives.
A Dutch writer has said in De Amsterdammer, a magazine of the date of August 14, 1887 that:“ The story of the Armenian community is a golden page in the history of the city of Amsterdam.
As far as I am concerned, trade between the Netherlands and Armenia is still a golden page in our (modern) history.
’s-Hertogenbosch (NL), July - 2022
Morris Kerens (HTS)
Johannes Lingelbach, “Gezicht op de Dam (1656)” with Armenian merchants in the left corner.
Facade of the Armenian Church in Amsterdam, Kromslootsteeg