The Round Table event was held at Nieuwspoort, Holland’s main press center adjacent to Parliament in The Hague, on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 14:00-17:00

Central theme

The New Media Landscape / Laptop Diplomacy


13:30 – 14:00 Meet and greet
14:00 – 14:05 GMAS word of welcome, Ms Elizabeth van der Wind – Hamill
14:05 – 14:10 GMAS senior advisor, former Ambassador of the Netherlands, Mr Eric Niehe, moderator
14:10 - 14:20 Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANP), CEO, Mr Guido van Nispen
14:20 - 14:30 Media Info Groep (MIG), Account Manager International Relations, Mr Ghalied Rodjan
14:30 – 14:50 Clingendael Institute‘s Professor Dr Jan Melissen, Keynote speech: ‘Diplomacy in the Digital Age’
14:50 – 15:00 Session break
15:00 – 15:30 Panel discussion / intervention:

15:30 – 16:30 Q & A for Heads of Mission
Concluding remarks, Mr Eric Niehe
16:30 – 17:00 Reception, drinks & snacks


Who were the invitees?

The invitees were all the Heads of Mission accredited in the Netherlands. 24 Ambassadors attended. In addition 17 other embassies were represented by a staff member.

Interview BNR Radio

Listen to the BNR Radio interview (Dutch spoken) with Prof. Jan Melissen & Former Ambassador Eric Niehe.




A recent report by the Clingendael Institute titled ‘Futures for Diplomacy; Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century’, states:

“[…] Communication is the essence of diplomacy, determining its purpose and operational modes. Each phase in the long evolution of diplomacy has therefore been marked by the need to adjust to and seek to shape the dominant features of the communication and information environment. Over the last two decades, rapid developments in the speed and direction of communication have begun to pose fundamental questions as to what diplomacy actually is.

[…] Underpinned by an active international media whose presence adds a variety of dimensions to the conduct of international policy and the revolution in communications and information technology enabling groups and individuals both to acquire and deploy information directly and outside the traditional official channels, the context of diplomacy looks very different from that of the Cold War era.  Interpreting these developments is one of the central challenges confronting governments.  […] the integrative diplomacy model recognizes that a more complex communications environment is reshaping diplomacy and the forms and structures through which it is required to operate.”

While in over a dozen references the lengthy Clingendael report rightly identifies the media as a factor to be reckoned with by the modern Laptop Diplomats, it is tacitly assumed that timely and reliable media-monitoring is ubiquitously available to foreign missions in the Netherlands.  That, of course, is not always the case.  There is obviously much information to be obtained via newspaper and magazine subscription and online sources.

But such quantitative information overload is deceptive inasmuch as it obscures the panorama view that includes selection and analysis of offline copyrighted articles and/or access to all radio and television items as well as the new Social Media.  Such custom-tailored deliverables for foreign missions in the Netherlands are at present not readily on offer other than from Global Media Analysis Services (GMAS) and as such constitutes our Unique Selling Point [USP].

To highlight this important issue GMAS is taking the initiative to organize the First Annual High-Level Round Table 2015 in The Hague in order to demonstrate to Heads of Mission the vast array of Dutch traditional and new media input impacting on the perceived national interest of individual countries with representation in the Netherlands.  It is only by comparing and contrasting the totality of media-monitoring coverage to that presently available to an embassy or international organization that shortcomings may come to light.  Because contrary to the old adage, what you don’t know, can hurt you.

The Clingendael report again:

“Contemporary diplomacy is engaging an increasingly wide range of actors alongside professional diplomats.  This reflects the growth of civil society and their claims for participation in the processes of world politics.  The global financial crisis has re-awakened long-standing concerns with commercial diplomacy and hence relations between diplomats and the business community.  How to accommodate these interests, whether in multilateral or national diplomacy, is one of the key challenges facing diplomacy.  This phenomenon has given rise to a number of images that seek to capture the ways in which international processes are changing such as ‘multistakeholder’ and ‘network’ diplomacy.  These acknowledge the growing interaction between the agents of the state and international organizations and non-state actors, whether located in civil society or the business community.”

Who are the speakers?

Keynote speaker:

  • Professor Dr Jan Melissen, Clingendael Institute

Panel members:

  • Mr Ard van der Vorst, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Head Management Newsroom

  • Mr Willem Post, City of The Hague, Advisor International Affairs

  • Mr Guido van Nispen, The Netherlands main news agency ANP, CEO

  • Mr Bernard Hammelburg, BNR news radio, Senior Foreign Affairs Commentator

Media partners:

  • Mr Guido van Nispen, The Netherlands main news agency ANP, CEO
  • Mr Ghalied Rodjan, Media Info Groep, Account Manager International Relations


  • Mr Eric Niehe, former ambassador of the Netherlands, GMAS senior advisor