Netherlands: Dutch minister tweets about Afghanistan summit

Maxime Verhagen

Maxime Verhagen

During the recent Afghanistan summit in The Hague, Dutch readers could read updates and direct responses to questions about the summit on Twitter. The updates were posted by Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Mininster of Foreign Affairs, who hosted the summit. Mr Verhagen is an avid Twitter user.

The day before the summit, Mr Verhagen posted updates about participants to the summit arriving at the airport. He also included a couple of pictures:

4:49 PM Mar 30th: Op weg naar het vliegveld van Rotterdam om gasten voor de conferentie te verwelkomen.

On my way to Rotterdam airport to welcome guests to the conference.

5:28 PM Mar 30th: President Karzai geland, klaar bij de rode loper

President Karzai has landed, I'm waiting for him on the red carpet

8:52 PM Mar 31th: Secretary of State Clinton begroeten

Welcoming Secretary of State Clinton

He also took the time to respond to questions. @jellekaat asked:

5:36 PM Mar 30th: @MaximeVerhagen gaat u elke gast persoonlijk ontvangen op het vliegveld?

@MaximeVerhagen will you welcome every guest personally at the airport?

7:14 PM Mar 30th: @jellekaat Nee dat zou ondoenlijk zijn, alleen de hoofdgasten president Karzai en dadelijk secretaris-generaal van de VN Ban Ki-Moon.

@jellekaat No, that would be impossible, just the main guests, president Karzai and in a few minutes UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon.

@paulhottinga was worried about the inconveniences for the general public caused by the security measures surrounding the summit:

1:52 PM Mar 30th: @MaximeVerhagen hoe gaat het met de voorbereidingen? Was er geen mogelijkheid de delegaties in te vliegen ipv verkeersinfarct die dreigt?

@MaximeVerhagen how are the preparations coming along? Wasn't it possible to have the delegations fly in to prevent the imminent traffic problems?

7:40 PM Mar 30th: @paulhottinga We doen ons best om de overlast binnen de perken te houden en de gasten toch veilig te kunnen ontvangen.

@paulhottinga We are trying our best to limit the inconvenience as much as possible while still being able to receive our guests safely

@Bartdejong86 wondered why president Obama wasn't attending the summit:

1:34 PM Mar 30th: @MaximeVerhagen ik was benieuwd waarom Obama niet bij de top aanwezig is. afgelopen week was hij veel in het nieuws m.b.t. Afghanistan

@MaximeVerhagen I'm curious why Obama isn't attending the summit. Last week he was in the news a lot with regards to Afghanistan

7:43 PM Mar 30th: @Bartdejong86 Het is een conferentie voor ministers van BZ, daarom komt secretary of state Clinton.

@Bartdejong86 This is a conference for Ministers of Foreign Affairs, which is why secretary of state Clinton is attending.

On the next day, the day of the summit, Mr Verhagen still managed to find the time to post updates:

12:07 PM Mar 31st: Conferentie toegesproken: naar een nieuw contract tussen de internationale gemeenschap en Afghanistan

Addressed the conference: on to a new contract between the international community and Afghanistan

12:14 PM Mar 31st: Goede toespraken en bijdragen van collega's, er is nieuwe energie voelbaar in de zaal over Afghanistan.

Excellent speeches and contributions from colleagues, a new energy about Afghanistan is tangible in the room.

1:50 PM Mar 31st: Ochtendsessie afgesloten Nu lunchen, onderussen gaan we door met de discussie.

Morning session finished Time for lunch now, while we continue the discussion.

3:12 PM Mar 31st: Beginnen aan een hele serie 1 op 1 gesprekken, eerst met mijn Pakistaanse, meteen daarna met mijn Russische collega.

Starting a whole series of 1-on-1 talks, first with my Pakistani, then with my Russian colleague.

5:51 PM Mar 31st: Conferentie afgesloten, deelnemers bedankt, deze voor het familieplakboek Nu de persconferentie.

Conference is finished, have thanked the participants, a picture for the family scrapbook Next: the press conference.

9:35 PM Mar 31st: Vandaag helaas geen tijd gehad om te reageren op vragen, heel veel dank voor alle twittersteun.

Have had no time today to respond to questions unfortunately, many thanks for all your Twitter support.

According to his latest Twitter updates, Mr Verhagen is now in Strasbourg for the 60th anniversary NATO summit:

Apr 3rd: Op weg naar Straatsburg voor de NAVO top van vanavond en morgen.

On my way to Strasbourg for the NATO summit this evening and tomorrow.

Apr 4th: NAVO top ter gelegenheid van 60 jarig bestaan. –

60th anniversary NATO summit –


  • Congratulations on your first article on Global Voices. Saw the announcement of its publication re-tweeted on Twitter– how circular is that?

    ~ Maya
    (GVO, Israel)

  • Enjoyed reading this -thanks for posting up. Good to see a minister using this as a two-way communication rather than a boring broadcast service.

  • Rachel Page

    I find it interesting the he did that. Anyway, thanks for the updates. Best Bankruptcy Lawyer

  • Karen Patrick

    I find it amusing that our leaders around the world are using Twitter just like us average people. bankruptcy filing

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