About the Ministry
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the channel through which the Dutch Government communicates with foreign governments and international organisations. It coordinates and carries out Dutch foreign policy. The Ministry has two halves: its headquarters in The Hague and its missions abroad (embassies, consulates, and permanent representations).
Who runs the Ministry?
The Ministry is headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is responsible for Dutch foreign policy as well as policy regarding the Netherlands’ cooperation with Europe and is accountable to Parliament. His civil servants help him prepare and deliver that policy.
The Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation is responsible for policy on trade, development cooperation and foreign aid. The Ministry's most senior civil servant is the Secretary-General.
Key objectives of Dutch foreign policy
Based on the policy programme of the first Rutte Government, the government sees its mission as being to promote the security and well-being of the Netherlands and the Dutch people, and to that end it will focus on international stability and security, energy and raw material security, the international legal order (including human rights) and the commercial and economic interests of the Netherlands and Dutch businesses. All this was set down in the coalition agreement of October 2010, and will remain unchanged in 2012. A greater emphasis will be placed on economic diplomacy. In addition, development cooperation, the international legal order and active involvement in European and transatlantic partnerships will remain cornerstones of Dutch foreign policy. These principles have been translated into an integrated policy with three pillars: security, prosperity and freedom.
The Ministry's activities
The Ministry's activities are based on the above objectives. They are:
- to maintain relations with other countries and international organisations;
- to promote cooperation with other countries;
- to help developing countries accelerate their social and economic developme nt through international cooperation;
- to promote the interests of Dutch nationals and the Netherlands abroad;
- to collect information on other countries and international developments for the Government and other interested parties;
- to provide information on Dutch policy and the Netherlands' position on international issues and developments;
- to present the Netherlands to the world;
- to deal with applications from and the problems of foreigners living in the Netherlands or seeking to enter or leave the country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its headquarters in The Hague and a network of missions around the world. For detailed information see: Organisational Structure.
The headquarters in The Hague has four main parts, each with an array of responsibilities:
- the advisors, departments, and central services falling directly under the Secretary-General, including Consular Affairs (DGCB);
- the Directorate-General for Political Affairs (DGPZ);
- the Directorate-General for European Cooperation (DGES), responsible for matters relating to European economic cooperation and integration;
- the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS), responsible for development cooperation.
Ministry staff are employed at:
- 114 embassies;
- 24 consulates-general;
- 345 consulates
- 12 permanent representations to international organisations, including the UN, the EU, NATO, the OECD, the OPCW, and the OSCE;
- 2 Embassy Offices (Almaty and Pristina);
- 1 Representative Office (Palestinian Authority, Ramallah)
- 22 Netherlands Business Support Offices (NBSO)
- 2 Netherlands Agri-Business Support Offices (NABSO)
Consulates are missions headed by unpaid honorary consuls that assist the Netherlands' other diplomatic missions in the same country. The Ministry's headquarters also houses the Permanent Representation to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is based in The Hague.