Mr. Ate Oostra studied law at the University of Utrecht. In his long career within the public service, Ate dedicated himself especially to the relations between East and West (a.o. as ambassador in China), Eastern Europe and the European Union, international agriculture policies and trade and economy.
From 1987-1990 Ate was posted at The Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta as head of the department Development Cooperation, a job slightly different from others within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As an introduction to the overseas development he was posted a while in Tunisia.
At the embassy in Jakarta he formed a team of 21 co-workers, existing of both Dutch and Indonesians. A great part of the budget of 350 million guilders went to infrastructure; apart from railways also including ports, boats & quays, fibre optic cable, irrigation, drinking water and power plants. Part of his job was the environmental and forestry governance and transfer of technical knowledge and management to industrial and agricultural development. Besides that, the Development Cooperation Department also was, together with the US, a cornerstone of the birth control program ‘dua anak cukup’ (‘two children is enough’).
The presidency of the donor consortium IGGI (with a yearly budget of 4 billion US dollar, half of which came from Japan) formed an important multiplier factor.
This presidency gave the Netherlands a position in which much could be achieved, provided a tactful attitude.
In the late eighties Indonesia still was ruled by the ‘orde baru’ of president Suharto and picked itself up after the severe economic and financial crises in Asia those days. It gained a new self-awareness, but at the same time the bond with the Netherlands still existed. Not only in the government, but also shown by the huge amount of Indonesian supporters of the Dutch national football team!
At that time the Netherlands enabled the education of Ulema’s (Islamic scholars) in Holland, followed by Indonesian mid-career diplomats.
During his later position as Permanent Representative of the EU in Brussels, Ate Oostra watched the unique relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands pressurized. An extra motivation for this ex-diplomat to try to deepen and lend new lustre to the mutual understanding between both nations through INS.