The participation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was official. The organisation was entrusted to a commission composed of Mr. Th. Stuart, Commissioner General, Mr. Bernard Veldhuis, Secretary General, and Mr. G. Fabius, Treasurer. A committee chaired by Mr. J. G. Van Hemert, assisted by Messrs. Boissevain, vice-president and secretary, took care of the colonial part.
The Dutch palace, situated on the Avenue des Nations, between the French Navy palace and the Belgian palace of Mines, Metallurgy and Small Tools, had been designed by Mr. Van de Voorde in a style inspired by Dutch constructions; its gables, its bulbous turret, its sloping roof, dotted with charming dormer windows, had a very marked national character. From the whole of the products exhibited, a lesson of things emerged which Mr. Hubert brought out with infinite appropriateness in the magnificent speech which he pronounced at the inauguration of the Dutch section.
The most perfect order had indeed presided over the interior arrangement of the palace. The industrial arts were particularly well represented there; the silver and silverware, the earthenware, the ceramics, excellent in material and form and known everywhere, the pottery, bulging or curiously contoured, of colours both delicate and savoury, seemed ready to leave their display cases or exhibition stands to be placed
on old burnished oak sideboards, or take their place on window sills and reflect on their varnished sides some pretty harbour landscape or the green meadow on the horizon of which a windmill erects the cross of its wings.
In the field of decorative art, sculpture was a real revelation. At the back of the main hall stood a large altarpiece which showed a real concern for art and an undeniable mastery of the craft; its creator devoted ten years of his life to the creation of this work.
Among the other products of the Dutch Section were magnificent leathers, books, especially art books, and engravings that reminded us that the Holland of the Elzeviers had not let the traditions of good taste, care and art that made it famous in the past be lost.
In addition to the products of the general classification, a colonial section presented the products of India, and the government of the Mother Country pointed out its social and hygienic institutions.
The Ministry of Justice exhibited documents relating to the penitentiary system. The Ministries of Agriculture, Industry, and Public Works, likewise testified, by the elements of appreciation which they placed before us, to their concern to respond to the economic development of the nation, by a constant improvement of all that could favour cultivation and breeding, the situation of the workers as well as the great public services.
No less interesting was the area of maritime facilities. Holland was a master in every respect, in that of the ports and their equipment, as well as in that of the comfort of the new large liners and their speed.
But Holland's participation in the Ghent Exhibition was much broader. Although this is not the place to speak of it specially, it would be to diminish the scope of the so cordial gesture of Holland towards our country, if we did not recall the glorious participation of its horticulturists in the Floralies, of its athletes in the great sports competitions, of its artists in the International Exhibition of Fine Arts.
The Belgians, and especially the people of Ghent, grateful for the powerful element of success brought by Holland to their World's Fair, will not lose the memory of it; they will associate to it the memory of the kind and sympathetic Mr. Stuart, the distinguished Commissioner General of the Dutch Government.
©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle & Internationale de Gand 1913