Delegation of Ukrainian Mayors and companies pays official visit to Westland in the Netherlands


On a significant date for collaborative progress, a Ukrainian delegation travelled to the Netherlands, visiting the World Horti Center in Westland for a major conference on greenhouse horticulture held on 25 April, 2024. This event marked a pivotal moment for local governance and economic collaboration, underscoring the mutual commitment between the regions to leverage Dutch expertise in sustainable agricultural practices to aid Ukraine’s recovery and development.

The Mayors’ Club, an important player in this trade mission, was established in 2005. It focuses on promoting best practices in urban governance and fostering the interaction and development of communities through its network of Ukrainian mayors and heads of territorial communities. This non-governmental organization plays a crucial role in building a democratic society and enhancing local self-governance in Ukraine​.

Yuliya Chufitsova, CEO of Mayors of Ukraine, clearly articulated the goals and motivations of the Ukrainian delegation: “Strong municipalities – strong Ukraine – this is the motto of the Ukrainian delegation that came to the Netherlands. Mayor of Westland, Bouke Arends, and his team met Ukrainian mayors and businesses with a willingness to cooperate and support. It is very important now for Ukrainians to build partnerships to implement joint projects.”

One of the hosts of the Ukrainian delegation to Netherlands, Westland Mayor Bouke Arends highlighted the existing ties and ongoing support: “From the start of the war, the municipality of Westland and its residents have felt connected with Ukraine. We brought relief supplies to the country and to this day we host about 1,500 Ukrainians in our community. Important contacts have been made this week and new collaborations have been forged that will hopefully contribute to rebuilding Ukraine.”

Adding a strategic perspective, Henry Shterenberg, founder of the Economy of Trust Ukraine, emphasized the potential and challenges ahead: “The vision of Economy of Trust Ukraine is not only to elaborate on what Ukraine has to offer economically but also to acknowledge and mitigate the major risks businesses perceive when thinking about Ukraine as the next investment destination. Obviously, that’s war, corruption, and decentralization.”

He continued, “Every war comes to its end, and it’s fundamental to think about the country’s economy before it’s over. Elimination of corruption may not be possible anywhere, but deploying technology as a powerful tool to minimize it is an essential way of thinking. And the most important economy enabler, decentralization, opens Ukraine’s potential to develop economically as it has never been before. Local governments and their institutions are eager to do it because they understand how job creation becomes important for them, but we have to help them with know-how, skills, and best practices, as ones from the Netherlands are demonstrated during this trade mission we are very grateful for.”

This conference not only served as a platform for exchange but also as a beacon of hope for future collaborations aimed at leveraging Dutch horticultural prowess to boost Ukraine’s local economies. This event demonstrates the power of international cooperation and the essential role of local governments in spearheading economic and social recovery.