The project teams Netherlands-Turkey (NLTR2012) and Netherlands-Russia (NLRF2013) worked from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A programme was put together in cooperation with other departments and economic, social and cultural partners such as Dutch Culture and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Design agency LAVA was chosen to design both campaigns. The basis of the communication strategy for both bilateral years was the programme. Dutch and Turkish/Russian parties organised trade missions, cultural exchange and festivals, there were state visits from both sides and NGOs worked together on social projects.
September 2013, a Dutch cultural festival was organised in Gorky Park, featuring the Kyteman Orchestra, a Paul Verhoeven retrospective, and the work of various Dutch artists.
Political and social unrest
The programme and campaigns of both bilateral years were overshadowed by diplomatic conflicts and political and social unrest. The arrival of the heads of state of these countries in the Netherlands and especially the reception of Putin by Queen Beatrix in the Hermitage Museum caused a storm of criticism, especially from human rights activists. While the cultural programmes and mutual (trade) delegations continued, most of the time was spent managing public opinion and the political debate. The policy officers and spokespersons at the Ministry and at the embassies and consulates worked overtime.