The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works hard to promote Dutch interests and values around the world. Our embassies, consulates and permanent representations in around 150 countries function as both political antennae and our voice abroad. We assist Dutch nationals abroad and we negotiate and cooperate on many issues in the European Union and in organisations like NATO and the United Nations.
Working for the Netherlands, worldwide
The Netherlands has close links with the world around us. This brings us benefits, including economic prosperity, but also involves risks. Because what happens far away – like terrorism, refugee flows and climate change – often affects us at home too. Through international cooperation we can tackle such problems and strengthen our economy.
BZ works to promote:
- Prosperity: As a trading nation, we maintain close ties with many countries. The Ministry encourages exports and investments, opens up markets and guarantees access to knowledge and raw materials. We use our experience and network to help Dutch businesses, both big and small. In this way, we can expand their opportunities to sell products and services globally. We work hard to achieve a level playing field and, as a result, sustainable and fair trade.
- Security: Unstable countries are a breeding ground for terrorism, people smuggling and other forms of crime. We work with others to combat these threats, by ensuring aid for areas ravaged by war where people are fleeing violence. We try to mediate, block terrorist financing and stop the spread of weapons. And we're working to achieve greater stability by improving living conditions in poor, vulnerable countries and encouraging self-reliance.
- Justice (working for a fair world – making the world a little bit better): A world where ’might is right’ is not in the Netherlands' interests. That's why we work to promote the international legal order, so that people can live in freedom and dignity and minorities are protected. We work to make agreements to tackle global challenges, such as poverty and food scarcity, climate change and epidemics. In developing countries, we work on issues such as economic resilience, better healthcare, food security and clean drinking water.
- Dutch nationals abroad: The Dutch love to travel, and there are Dutch nationals living and working in many other countries. They want to know which parts of the world are safe, what they need to do if they encounter problems and who they can contact in an emergency. We offer a modern service and our embassies, consulates and the 24/7 BZ Contact Centre are standing by, day and night, ready to help. From assisting in the aftermath of a natural disaster or during political unrest to helping customers apply for a new passport and providing travel advice.
Today, the whole world seems just one click away.
One click that removes borders and connects us.
Making the world smaller and our world bigger.
But that can make us feel vulnerable, as we face the unknown.
Events happening far away, feel closer to home.
Jan-Kees Goet (Ministry of Security and Justice, Director-General for Immigration):
If I have time in the evenings I watch the 8 o’clock news.
And I can be pretty sure it will open with a story about migration.
It’s a serious subject that puts big demands on our staff.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Security and Justice are a team.
And that togetherness is the key to our success right now.
We know that what we have learned here, can be of great value elsewhere.
Felix Hoogveld (Ambassador to South Sudan):
So there’s flooding in a large camp for displaced persons.
The Netherlands can help because we have the know-how to develop the area.
That that are places in the world, where human rights are at stake.
Sebastiaan van der Zwaan (Director Justice and Peace):
If human rights defenders are under pressure in their own country we step in to help.
As part of our Shelter City initiative we offer them temporary shelter in the Netherlands.
Justice and Peace works closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry’s large network makes it easier to figure out who needs our help the most.
We know there are people fighting for freedom, and that we need to protect them.
We want to cross borders to share what we are good at with the rest of the world.
Paul Polman (CEO Unilever):
The Dutch are at the forefront for setting the world on a new pathway for a sustainable future.
One example for this has been the joining of the Ministries of Aid and Trade, which I believe has been a smart decision.
As we need both to reach the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people.
If we work together, we can achieve more.
Without the result being at the expense of others.
Henk-Jan Beltman (Chief Chocolate Officer Tony Chocolonely):
We want our company to grow. We want to make an impact.
The Orange Trade Mission Fund is helping us gain a commercial foothold in the US.
With support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A partnership that energises me.
If you go abroad, where it’s safe and where it is not.
Frank Oostdam (Director, Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators, ANVR):
We regularly discuss travel advice with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It helps us provide our customers with good, up-to-date advice.
Pepijn Trapman (regional manager, ICCO, Nepal):
I will never forget Saturday 25 April.
The day started off so well.
We were celebrating King’s Day with the local Dutch community.
Suddenly, everything started shaking.
People were panicking and screaming.
We kept getting wet as water sloshed out of the swimming pool.
I just managed to grab my son Daniel and hurl him to the ground.
And if you do get into difficulties, you need to know that there is someone who can bring you back to safety
Pepijn Trapman (regional manager, ICCO, Nepal):
We were lucky. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs got us out of the country to safety.
They did a fantastic job.
Right now, as the world becomes both smaller and bigger it’s important that we are there for the Netherlands, world wide.