Even as bilateral trade between the Netherlands and China grows, more education links brings mutual benefits as well, Pauline van der Meer Mohr, the chairwoman of Erasmus University Rotterdam, told Xinhua recently in an exclusive interview.
"I think all Dutch universities are very keen to establish links with Chinese partners nowadays," Mohr said.
Mohr traveled to China earlier in May to ink an agreement with Chinese Fudan University -- the latest cooperation amid some 50 MoU agreements her university has signed with 15 Chinese partners.
"I noticed during my trip to China how much education is part of the Chinese dream. We see that also from the Chinese students who come to study here," Mohr said. "They are extremely dedicated and hardworking, and obviously very intelligent."
"What we offer, for example, is critical thinking." She said.
Mohr said the rising number of Chinese scholars globally offers the Dutch more access to the understanding of China on a deeper level.
"I saw Chinese universities offering international programs that attract quite some students from around the world. That's very attractive to our students," she said.
To Mohr, more China-related changes are taking place in the Netherlands as well, such as the Chinese language becoming more popular.
"When I was young, nobody in this county was even remotely interested in learning Chinese. Now, it's a big groundswell in this country. The ministry of education is being pressured to make Chinese mandarin language at least an elective course at primary schools, if not compulsory," he added.
"In Holland, we all learn English and in the past, we used to learn German and French. But the question now is why shouldn't we learn Chinese, because that's the language of the future."
This change of language course means a lot, she felt. "It changes the way a nation thinks about the world, its own position in the world and the importance of a country like China," Mohr said.