Newsletter HCG Turkey - December 2017 Webversion
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Logo HCG
December 2017
Merry Christmas!


Joost Peters

Dear business partner,

The year 2017 is nearly at its end. We look back on a successful year with bridge-building activities where we were able to make our network available to entrepreneurs, students and artists from the Netherlands and Turkey.

Through this network I recently came into contact with an entrepreneur who makes vodka from tulip bulbs. A special product that has already found its way to the star restaurants in our country. You can read more about Dutch Tulip Vodka in the column Trade Promotion.

In this last newsletter of the year, you will read the enthusiastic internship report of Maryam and Malalay. Two students from the Erasmus MC who finished their internship of choice in the Acibadem hospital in Istanbul.

At the end of November we organised an exclusive painting workshop together with artist Figen Begen. All attendees went home with their own painting. Further on in this newsletter you will find some enthusiastic reactions of the participants.

I would like to offer you a tip for a special night out. Karsu, winner of the Edison Jazzism Public Choice 2016, is returning to the theatres! You can read about her plans further on in this newsletter.

Keep an eye on our newsletter in the following year as well so you will not miss any of the fun activities in or outside the HCG Turkey.

I wish you, also on behalf of my colleagues, happy holidays and a healthy, happy and successful 2018 in every aspect possible!

Joost Peters
Honorary Consul-General of Turkey


From time to time we are asked the question as to why we do not pay attention to current political developments in our newsletters. The answer to this is simple: for political as well as religious matters the Turkish ambassador is the only true spokesperson. The HCG Turkey focuses on her core tasks: trade promotion, student-exchange programs including the provision of internship locations in Turkey and cultural exchange programs.

Source: HCG Turkey

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Trade promotion

Dutch Tulip Vodka

Is it possible to make a high end, delicious vodka from tulip bulbs? The answer is yes and it is called Dutch Tulip Vodka. However this did not just happen overnight...

In 1593 the first tulip finished it’s long journey from Turkey to the Netherlands. The world famous Dutch botanist Carolus Clusius (1526 – 1609) led the tulip’s introduction in the Netherlands and as a researcher explored all the secrets this plant had to offer. This resulted in the tulip becoming an internationally known Dutch icon. Now, four centuries later the innovative Dutch distillery Clusius Craft Distillers follows in the footsteps of Clusius and has discovered how to produce a beautiful, pure vodka from Dutch tulip bulbs: “Dutch Tulip Vodka PURE” is the world’s first and only spirit to be handmade exclusively from Dutch tulip bulbs and natural filtered water from Dutch sand dunes. Each bottle contains 350 tulip bulbs and is numbered by hand. There is also a BLEND version is available. Dutch Tulip Vodka is currently being served at some of the worlds top rated 2 and 3 star Michelin restaurants, bars and hotels. In cooperation with the Honorary Consul-General of Turkey, Clusius Craft Distillers is now looking into possibilities to introduce Dutch Tulip Vodka in Turkey and let this new and innovative product get in touch with it’s ancient roots.

For more information go to

Source: Clusius Craft Distillers / HCG Turkey

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Dutch Tulip

Advice NXT Group

NXT Group is an important business partner in our network. This professional service provider gives advice and supports multinationals, SME’s and government institutions when entering the foreign markets like Turkey, India, Colombia and Iran. They have their own local offices in Turkey, India and Colombia.

The past month we brainstormed with them and gave specific advice on how to solve a problem for one of their business partners in Turkey. Our added value in the matter of this type of entrepreneurial problems can be predominantly found in our year-long experience and extensive network.

Source: HCG Turkey

Logo NXT Group

Internship report Maryam and Malalay

Maryam and Malalay are in their sixth year in medical school. They go to Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. They just completed their internship at the Acibadem Hospital in Istanbul. Read more about their internship here.

When their internships came to an end, Maryam and I thought of going abroad together to do our internship of choice. We really wanted to experience how hospitals abroad function and improve our medical English as well.

Our supervisor at the Erasmus MC told us that our university has links with the Acibadem University, located in Istanbul among other places. We both had never been to Istanbul and were immediately excited about experiencing another culture on one hand and on the other accepting the challenge of experiencing a different medical environment.

We decided to fill out the forms and indicate that we would like to work at the emergency care department. Communicating with Istanbul was rather difficult in the beginning, so we were a bit sceptical about being able to get everything ready in time and that our trip had to be cancelled.

Fortunately the HCG of Turkey helped us out, and the process was speeded up significantly. After some paperwork we could pack our bags and say goodbye to everything that was so familiar to us in the Netherlands.

When we arrived to Istanbul we immediately got rid of our warm winter coats because the weather was lovely. We noticed that the weather in Istanbul is constantly changing: during the day it was extremely hot and at night it was freezing cold. The traffic was very chaotic as well, but fortunately the public transport is very good. You will always get from A to B. At times we truly held our breath when we watched the driving skills of the drivers.

We started our internship at the emergency care department. The thing that struck us was the kindness of the doctors as well as our fellow students. Everybody included us and they tried to translate from Turkish to Dutch as much as possible. The students at the emergency care department had 12-hour shifts. We started our shift at 9.00 am and finished at 5.00 pm.

We also noticed that drips were installed quite quickly on patients in Turkey. Even when the illness is rather mild, the patients would receive a drip with for instance paracetamol. In the Netherlands we would simply give patients a pill. The explanation of the doctors was that the Turkish patients expected this intervention, otherwise they had the feeling that they were not helped properly.

In the Netherlands we as residents often complain that we work long hours during the week and have to study during the weekends. We were very surprised to hear that the students in Turkey are attending a course during the weekends (from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm) in preparation of their final exam, which is crucial for their specialisation after graduation. We often saw them studying when they were not seeing patients. We are happy that things are different in the Netherlands, where there is no such thing as a final exam.

At the end of the work day we always tried to find nice spots nearby. We spent our weekends visiting tourist spots and our fondest memories are from our boat trips. We also really enjoyed the serenity during our breakfasts and dinners at the sea side.

All in all, we really enjoyed our time in Istanbul. We came back after six weeks with great memories and new friends.

Bron: Malalay Sarwar / HCG Turkey

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Maryam and Malalay
Art and culture

Exclusive painting workshop with Figen Begen

Thursday 30 November, ten enthusiastic women gathered at the HCG Turkey. They joined the exclusive painting workshop of the Turkish artist Figen Begen. It was a very creative afternoon.

Painting with acrylic is one of the specialties of Figen Begen. She shared the tricks of this technique during the exclusive workshop that the HCG Turkey organised. All ladies went home with their own painting. Read some of the enthusiastic reactions:

“Both experienced and inexperienced painters combined, learned a lot, a great deal of creativity, a lot of fun, a sweat and professional artist and beautiful paintings as a result. A great afternoon!”

“I really enjoyed the workshop. I learned a lot due to the examples that I saw around me and the constructive remarks that Figen gave us.”

“How fun was this inspiring painting workshop! I felt like a true artist and the result was surprisingly good due to the great guidance of Figen.”

Source: HCG Turkey

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Exclusive artworkshop with Figen Begen

Children’s workshop Ebru

Every year the HCG organises a cultural activity together with the Guney Institution for children who are learning Turkish at the Turkish Language institution in Leiden. This year ten children between the ages of seven and eleven could join an Ebru workshop.

Ebru is the art of ‘marbling’. Marbling is ebru in Turkish, which means cloud or cloudy. The Ebru technique consists of the splattering of pigment paint mixed with a few drops of ox gall on the surface of a bath of water in which some kitre (Arabian gum) is dissolved. The paint floats on the water surface and forms droplets which can be shaped with little pens, sticks, brushes or combs. This way beautiful patterns are formed. The workshop was led by Ebru Durmaz.

For more information go to

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Children's workshop Ebru

Cultural tip!

Karsu, winner of the Edison Jazzism Public Choice 2016, is returning to the theatres!

In her new show ‘Karsu plays Atlantic Records’, Karsu tells the story of Ahmet Ertegün, a Turkish ambassador’s son and founder of Atlantic Records seventy years ago. He stood at the cradle of careers of among other Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and Cher.

Karsu, of Turkish descent herself, shares with ‘Karsu plays Atlantic Records’ (directed: Leoni Jansen) a real story for the first time expressed by a concert. A story relatively unknown to the Netherlands, but a tale of great relevance. A story of Ahmet Ertegün and the early years of Atlantic Records.

The show can be visited from February 2018 throughout the whole country.
Take a look at the trailer on YouTube

In spite of her short career, singer and pianist Karsu (Amsterdam, 1990) had shows in more than twenty countries. She played three times in the famous Carnegie Hall in New York and twice at the North Sea Jazz Festival. In September 2015 her second studio album called ‘Colors’ came out, for which she received the Edison Jazzism Public Choice in June 2016. In 2017 she played ‘Play My Strings’ in the theatres, where for the first time she gave a more profound meaning to her theatre concert. The Parool gave Karsu four stars (of five) and wrote: “Her voice is a powerful weapon that is crystal clear in English and very accessible, while in Turkish it is moving and mystifying.” and “Bridge builder is not even a strong enough word, Karsu doesn’t even see the water.”

Source: Press release Karsu / HCG Turkey

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