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Northern Dutch university offers services in Russia

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GRONINGEN – Dutch relations with Russia date from the 1600s when Dutch traders set up shop in Archangel, Russia’s northern most port. Much later, the Dutch helped build what would be President Vladimir Putin’s hometown St. Petersburg and the country’s navy, among other things. After the Soviet Union collapsed, many western governments and institutions such as universities downgraded their involvement in Russian studies in favour of other pursuits. The Rijksuniversiteit Groningen did not follow this trend. Now that Russia has reemerged as an economic player and a leading energy supplier, the Groningen institution has taken a lead by setting up a Netherlands-Russia advisory centre. The new entity offers a range of services in Russia where it employs a staff of twelve. Among the centre's clients are Dutch giants such as express mail deliverer TNT and energy giant Gasunie.