The combined history of the Netherlands, Malaysia and Singapore dates back to the year 1641, when Singapore and Malaysia where still united in one country called Malay. This was the year in which the Dutch VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie/East India Company) captured the city of Malacca from the Portuguese. The reason the Dutch wanted to be in Malacca was to enforce a trading treaty with the local inhabitants. For the locals this was an improvement over the Portuguese because the Dutch did not intervene with local matters and were solely interested in trading.
In 1824 the Dutch left Malacca, and with this also Malay, because of the Anglo-Dutch treaty with which Britain gained control over Malay and the Dutch got the colony of Bencoolen. The Dutch remained present in the South-East of Asia, but never regained control of any part of Malay.

Nowadays the relationship between the Netherlands and Malaysia is still based on economic relations. To the Dutch, Malaysia is the second most important trading- and investment partner in the South-East of Asia. This is why a lot of Dutch multinationals choose to have their regional offices in Malaysia.

To Singapore the Netherlands is the most important trading partner in the EU and one of the most important trading partners in the world. As well as Malaysia, Singapore is also a very popular country for Dutch multinationals to have an office. One of the reasons for this is the large amount of collaboration in research, development and investment between the two countries. This goes for companies, universities as well as research facilities in both countries.

Because of the good relationship between the two countries and the Netherlands and the fact that lots of Dutch multinationals have regional offices there, a lot of Dutch students are interested in studying, doing research or an internship in one of the countries. To maintain and enhance this good relationship between the Netherlands and the two countries, communication and transport are important factors.  With this Study tour we hope to secure and enhance the connectivity between companies, research facilities and universities in the South-East of Asia and the Eindhoven University of Technology. By visiting the companies, universities and cultural sites in both countries we hope to increase our knowledge about the technological challenges, the culture and the way of life there.


Kelsey Viehmann