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

Directorate-General for European Cooperation (DGES)

DGES develops and coordinates Dutch policy on Europe and the European Union. It is responsible for the Netherlands’ relations with other EU member states and candidate countries. It also develops coherent Dutch policy in areas including transport and the environment in the EU, and in regional and interregional organisations such as the Council of Europe, the OECD and Benelux. DGES consults with the other Dutch ministries at official level to coordinate the Netherlands’ contribution to EU decision-making. This makes DGES an important link between the other ministries and the Dutch Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels.

Directorate-General for Political Affairs (DGPZ)

DGPZ develops policy on peace and security and advises the Ministers on foreign policy. Accordingly, it gives advice on the Netherlands’ contribution to international organisations, its standpoints in these organisations, and political issues between countries. DGPZ’s policy areas include the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP) and the political role of NATO and the UN. Important DGPZ themes are conflict prevention, crisis management and human rights.

Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS)

DGIS is responsible for development cooperation policy and for its coordination, implementation and funding. An important DGIS focus is coherence between Dutch and EU policy on developing countries. In order to formulate and carry out development policy, the Netherlands works with the governments of other countries and with international organisations such as the UN, the World Bank and the EU. Civil society is another important source of partners, which include non-governmental organisations such as Novib and interest groups such as the employers’ confederation, VNO/NCW, and the small and medium-sized enterprise lobby group, MKB-Nederland. DGIS themes include gender, AIDS, education, sustainable economic development and the environment.

Directorate-General for Foreign Economic Relations (DGBEB)

DGBEB boosts international economic activity, creates favourable conditions and encourages foreign firms to settle permanently in the Netherlands. Its mission is to promote the competitiveness of the Netherlands, an open world economy and sustainable globalisation. This mission can be expressed in the following objectives:

  • promoting free international trade and strengthening the global economic legal order while taking into account corporate social responsibility;
  • promoting international enterprise and offering support to Dutch businesses in promising markets and sectors;
  • formulating policy on globalisation and the use of public goods, supporting the internationalisation of Dutch businesses and strengthening the position and image of the Netherlands as an excellent place to set up in business in order to attract high-calibre foreign investment.

DGBEB consists of three departments:

  • Economic Diplomacy and Transition Department
  • International Trade Policy and Economic Governance Department
  • International Enterprise Department