Dutch firms no longer welcome in KSA

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Updated 18 May 2014
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Dutch firms no longer welcome in KSA

Saudi Arabia has banned Dutch companies from participating in its future projects because the Dutch government has not taken action against the leader of the ultra rightist Freedom Party for abusing the Kingdom and Islam.
The Council of Saudi Chambers has reportedly received a letter in this respect from higher Saudi authorities urging them not to involve Dutch companies in local projects either directly or indirectly.
The government order also called for reducing the number of visas issued for Dutch businessmen and investors and limiting the period of visas, unless they are currently involved in vital projects.
Sources from the CSC confirmed that the government has instructed to halt the exchange of visits by delegations from both countries.
The move comes after the Saudi ambassador in Netherlands sent a letter to the foreign minister on the recent insult of Islam and Saudi Arabia by Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders.
Businessman Abdul Rahman Al-Rabeeah, president of the Saudi-Indian Business Council, welcomed the government’s decision. “Those who attack Islam and Saudi Arabia without any genuine reason are not welcome in the Kingdom,” he told Arab News. He said responsible governmental bodies in foreign countries must understand the consequences of such irresponsible behavior.
The CSC said the government’s decision would be circulated among all government bodies as well as chambers of commerce and industry, businessmen and businesswomen and commercial firms.
The Netherlands is one of the top 10 business partners of Saudi Arabia with two-way average annual trade volume reaching over SR25.3 billion. Until the end of 2008, Dutch investments in the Kingdom amounted to around $7.5 billion in over 119 investment projects.
Some Saudi companies responded quickly to the decision and stopped their dealings with Dutch firms.
In a recent statement, Wilders, who is a member of the Dutch Parliament, attacked the Saudi flag and said the Shahadah or the Islamic declaration of faith written on the flag must be replaced by the profanities he suggested.
He also blamed the Kingdom for the terrorist attacks that have taken place across the globe.


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.