The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates and carries out the foreign policy of the Dutch government. Unique among Dutch ministries, Foreign Affairs has two parts: the Ministry headquarters in The Hague and the missions abroad.

Political leaders

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is responsible for Dutch foreign policy and the Ministry's overall leadership. He is assisted by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, who formulates and implements foreign aid and development cooperation policy. These Government members are the Ministry's political leaders.

Senior civil servants

The Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, and four Directors-General are the Ministry's most senior civil servants. The Directors-General head the Ministry's five Directorates-General, which serve the political leaders within specific spheres of foreign policy.


  • The Directorate-General for European Cooperation develops and coordinates Dutch policy on Europe and the European Union.
  • The Directorate-General for Political Affairs develops policy on peace and security matters, and advises the political leaders on foreign-policy issues. 
  • The Directorate-General for International Cooperation is responsible for development cooperation policy, its coordination, implementation, and funding. 
  • The Directorate-General for Foreign Economic Relations develops Dutch policy on open international economy and sustainable globalization and is responsible for economic diplomacy.

Dutch missions abroad

Around the world, the Ministry has more than 150 embassies, consulates-general, consulates and permanent missions to international organisations, also known as 'missions'. In addition, it has some 360 honorary consulates, with more limited powers. The missions promote the interests of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and of Dutch people abroad. As well as embassies, consulates-general and consulates, which are bilateral missions, the Netherlands has 16 multilateral missions or permanent representations to international organisations like the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations.

Advisory bodies

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advised on different issues by the following advisory bodies:

  • Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV)
  • Advisory Committee on Issues of Public International Law (CAVV)
  • Netherlands Development Assistance Research Council ( RAWOO)
  • Government Committee on Private International Law


The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) contributes to the economic independence of developing countries by helping them sell their products and services in the European Union.

Autonomous administrative authority

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a single autonomous administrative authority, the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO).

Special Appointments
The Ministry also has a number of special ambassadors, each dedicated to a particular theme.