Scottish Government events in Brussels: 2019

A record of the events we held at Scotland House in Brussels in 2019.

Annual Fisheries Reception: 16 December 2019

To mark the conclusion of the first day of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Scotland House Brussels and the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation invited key stakeholders to the annual Fisheries Reception at Scotland House Brussels. The event was hosted by the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing MSP, and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

Annual Schuman Christmas Market: 4 December 2019

Scotland House Brussels  participated in the annual Schuman Christmas Market, hosting a stall alongside other Permanent Representations, Embassies and Regional offices. Each country or region offered free tastings of local produce and traditional festive treats for the public. The Scottish stall showcased the best of Scottish cheeses, charcuterie, shortbread and whisky macs. 

St Andrews Day Ceilidh: 29 November 2019 

Scotland House Brussels’ final St Andrew’s event was a St Andrew’s Ceilidh, held on the esplanade by the Schuman Roundabout at the heart of the EU district. The ceilidh was open to the public and featured live music from Scottish folk duo, Aves o’ May. The event served as an opportunity to share Scottish culture with a European audience, who were invited to participate in traditional ceilidh dancing. 

St Andrews Day Concert: 27 November 2019

For the Annual St Andrew’s Day Concert, Scotland House Brussels welcomed Scottish folk duo ‘Aves o’ May’ from Live Music Now. The pair performed a number of traditional songs on the fiddle and clàrsach. In addition to the concert at Scotland House, Aves O’ May also gave an outreach performance at Centre Public d’Action Sociale, a care home in Waterrmael-Boitsfort.

St Andrew’s Day Lecture: 26 November 2019

Kicking off a week of events to celebrate Scotland’s national day, St Andrew’s Day, Scotland House Brussels organised an annual St Andrew’s  Day Lecture, welcoming the Chairman of Visit Scotland, Lord Thurso. He gave a fascinating lecture exploring the challenges of how to deliver sustainable tourism following the declaration of a climate emergency. 

An Evening with Sir James MacMillan: 21 November 2019

Scotland House Brussels welcomed celebrated Scottish composer and conductor, Sir James MacMillan, for an event where Throughout the evening, MacMillan discussed his musical career, influences and inspirations in an informative discussion with award-winning Belgian composer Jeroen D’hoe. This was accompanied by live musical performances of MacMillan’s work by the talented students of the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussels. The event was an opportunity to showcase Scottish talent and culture in Europe and strengthen bilateral cultural links between Scotland and Flanders.  

CivTech in Brussels: 21 November 2019

CivTech®, the Scottish Government’s flagship digital innovation programme, held an event run at Scotland House Brussels. They showcased the CivTech® model which brings together the private sector and public sector to innovatively solve common public sector problems.

Scottish Writers Series: Nordic Noir: 1 October 2019

On 1 October, Scotland House Brussels, partnered with the Embassy of Finland and the Embassy of Norway, to host an evening Writers Series event showcasing the best of Nordic Noir fiction from all three countries. The event welcomed authors Craig Robertson (Scotland), Antti Tuomainen (Finland) and Kjell Ola Dahl (Norway) for an interactive panel discussion moderated by Sofie Verraest from the Munt Punt Flemish Library in Brussels. The event was co-hosted by Scotland House Director Mike Neilson, Finnish Riitta Resch and Norwegian Ambassador Per Sjaastad and served as an opportunity to celebrate Finland’s current Presidency of the Council of the EU.

European Week of Sport: 23 September 2019

As part of the European Week of Sport 2019, an EU initiative aimed at promoting active and healthy lifestyles throughout Europe, Scotland House Brussels, in collaboration with the Welsh Government Office and the Office of the Northern Irish Executive, hosted an evening of Celtic Sports on Monday 23 September. The event took place on the Schuman Roundabout in the heart of the Brussels EU quarter and welcomed public participation in a number of events, including mock highland games, celtic rugby, golf and a ceilidh

Scottish Writer Series: Kaite Walsh: 11-12 September 2019

Scotland based author Kaite Welsh was in Brussels on 11-12 September for a series of events, including a lunchtime Scottish Writers Series event at Scotland House Brussels on 12 September which was moderated by Viccy Adams from Creative Scotland. The series aims to showcase Scottish literary talent to an EU audience. Kaite also participated in an event called Snug Harbor at the Munt Punt Flemish library, alongside Dutch author Claire Polders, where the two writers presented their work and spoke about what inspires their writing. Kaite also featured at Waterstones Brussels’ monthly book club meeting at the Munt Punt.

Industry Reception in celebration of EU-Singapore Relations: Scotland House: 9 September 2019

On Monday 9 September, Scotland House Brussels hosted an evening reception for approximately 100 stakeholders from industry and the EU institutions in celebration of EU-Singapore Relations and the imminent entry into force of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (EUSFTA). This event was organised jointly with spiritsEurope and the Singapore Mission to the EU.   

Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, provided a welcome address at the reception celebrating the partnership, cooperation and friendship that flourishes with open trade relations and the long history of friendship between Scotland and Singapore.  

S Iswaran, Minister for Communications, Information and Trade Relations, delivered a key note speech, noting the importance of the EUSFTA as a pathway to a future EU-Asean agreement. He highlighted the opportunities for EU exports presented by the Asean's rising middle class of affluent and increasingly discerning consumers, as well as the critical role of business in championing the social and economic benefits of the EUSFTA and bringing the agreement to life. 

Ulrich Adam, Director General of trade association spiritsEUROPE, noted the rapid growth of Europe's spirit exports to Singapore which have risen 90 per cent over the last decade. As a major distribution hub in Asia, Singapore is the second-largest export market for European spirits, after the United States, meaning the benefits of the EUSFTA particularly in relation to its high levels of protection for geographical indications for spirits such as cognac and Scotch whisky are extremely valuable.

View the event photo gallery. More information about Mr McKee’s programme of activity in Brussels is on the Ministerial visits within Europe: 2019 page. 

Scotland House Summer Reception: 9 July 2019

The Scotland House annual Summer Reception took place this year on Tuesday 9 July and provided colleagues from both the Scottish Government EU Office and Scotland Europa with the opportunity to thank Brussels-based partners for their collaboration over the past year. 

This year, the reception was hosted by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, who highlighted 20 years of Scottish devolution. During her speech, she highlighted the achievements and changes made by the Scottish Parliament over the past two decades in devolved areas, from education, to climate change, to culture and heritage. She also invited guests to sample some traditional and seasonal Scottish food and drink.

European Sustainable Energy Week at Scotland House: 17-21 June 2019

The European Union celebrates European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) each year, bringing together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power. The official programme is comprised of a Policy Conference – focusing this year on ‘Shaping Europe’s Energy Future’ – and a Networking Village which encouraged participants to exchange ideas and discuss best practise.

In addition to having a stand on Scotland’s contribution to geothermal energy at the Networking Village, Scotland House also hosted its own events to mark EUSEW. To round off the first day of EUSEW 2019, European energy stakeholders were invited to an energy networking reception hosted by Scottish Enterprise, Scotland Europa and the Scottish Government and were able to hear a small taste of Scotland’s energy story. In the following days, Dundee City Council and Transport Scotland delivered an event on the European approach to the transition to zero-emissions transport and a new European Smart Specialisation (S3) partnership between Scotland, Tuscany, Cleantech Region Netherlands and Arnhem Nijmegen was launched in order to further develop geothermal techniques. 

Made in Scotland Festival in Brussels: 11-14 June 2019

The Made in Scotland Festival came to Brussels in June, bringing six successful shows from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to an audience of EU stakeholders, representatives from the cultural industries and local people. The festival, which was funded by the Scottish Government through the Festivals Expo Fund, brought a taste of the Fringe to various venues throughout Brussels. 

On the first night, after an opening reception hosted by the First Minister, the audience were treated to an uplifting performance by Ian Johnston - Scotland’s leading learning-disabled artist - and Gary Gardiner from 21Common. The following night, across town at the Beursschouwbourg, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans hosted a reception before a double-bill of performances dealing with stories of war, ‘The Tailor of Inverness’ and ‘Letters for Peace’. On the penultimate evening at Théâtre de la Vie, the performance of ‘The Gospel according to Jesus, Queen of Heaven’ combined theatre with storytelling, spoken word and ritual surrounding transgender issues. Following the performance of  Douglas on the Friday evening, the Made in Scotland Festival ended in style with interactive performance (I Could Go On Singing) Over The Rainbow by FK Alexander followed by a closing party at contemporary art centre Recyclart, featuring DJs from Scotland and Brussels.

Scotland House Discussion Series: A joined-up approach to managing the water environment – a research perspective: 14 May 2019 

The Scotland House Discussions Series continued with a session led by Dr Richard Allen and Dr Kerry Waylen from Scotland’s premier interdisciplinary scientific research institute, the James Hutton Institute (JHI). This instalment of the Discussion Series took place as part of EU Green Week and served to highlight the Scottish research perspective on protecting our natural capital. 

During the event, the speakers presented JHI’s research experience on a wide range of topics in relating to Scotland’s natural capital, highlighting Scotland’s research experience in these areas and the valued work with European partners. They also presented case studies from making Scotland a ‘Hydro Nation’, where water resources are developed so as to bring the maximum benefit to the Scottish economy, to ongoing Horizon 2020 research. 

Scottish Writers Series with Peter May: 13 May 2019

Scotland House Brussels Scottish Writers Series events continued with a session hosted by renowned crime author Peter May. The event, moderated by Alan Bett from Creative Scotland, provided a platform for May to discuss what inspires his writing and what’s next for his work. The audience were also able to ask the author questions about his work, including about his time in Brussels when he was researching for the political thriller 'The Man with No Face' which is set in the city.

Scotland House Discussion Series: Collaboration – the cornerstone of European leadership in science and innovation: 25 April 2019

Dame Anne Glover delivered April’s instalment of the Scotland House Discussion Series. She shared her perspective as a renowned Scottish molecular biologist and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on Scotland’s contribution to the European research and innovation ecosystem. 

The event was an opportunity for all attending to discuss and reflect on Scotland’s history of outstanding scientific endeavour, invention and innovation and its partnership with others which allows for improved innovation, collaboration and learning.

Scottish Financial Enterprise Reception: 19 March 2019

Scotland House Brussels hosted a reception to highlight Scotland’s expertise in the financial services. The event underlined the 300-year-long legacy of the Scottish financial services sector, cementing Scotland’s place as a world leader in areas such as FinTech. 

Graeme Jones and Stephen Ingledew, the CEOs of Scottish Financial Enterprise and FinTech Scotland respectively, addressed European financial services stakeholders to highlight Scotland’s contribution to the sector and the recently-launched Scottish Financial Services Prospectus which was produced in collaboration between the Scottish Government and industry.

Burns Concert: 22 January 2019

Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Mike Russell MSP, hosted Scotland House Brussels’ annual Burns Concert and Reception. The well-attended event saw musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland perform some of Burns’ best-loved works to an audience of key Brussels contacts and stakeholders. Following the concert, guests were invited to stay for a networking reception that featured the best of Scottish food and drink.

Burns Supper at the Residence of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU: 21 January 2019

The Scottish Government EU Office hosted its 12th annual Burns Supper this year at the residence of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU. Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Mike Russell MSP, was present to host the event and deliver the Immortal Memory. The Burns Supper was attended by colleagues from Romania and Finland and offered an opportunity to wish them luck in their respective Presidencies of the Council of the EU. Musical entertainment was provided by students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.



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