Bilateral forums

The Netherlands maintains ties with various European countries with a view to consultation and knowledge exchange.

Apeldoorn: British-Dutch Dialogue

The Apeldoorn Conference Series is a bilateral meeting between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which was initiated in 1999 by the then Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Wim Kok. The conference provides a platform for business people, academics and politicians to discuss current political and social issues. It has taken place every two years since 2000. In 2004 a Young Apeldoorn Conference was also set up for young professionals under 35. Both conferences are held in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom alternately.

Contact
British Council Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 550 6060
information@britishcouncil.nl

Cross-border cooperation
For over half a century, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany have worked to improve cross-border cooperation. In 2009 a cross-border cooperation task force (GROS) was set up, comprising representatives of nearly all ministries and border regions, in a bid to solve the most urgent cross-border problems. When a problem is identified, seminars or workshops are organised with neighbouring countries to find solutions that generally involve harmonising legislation or aligning procedures.

The task force seeks to:

  • eliminate the bureaucratic obstacles encountered by cross-border commuters;
  • promote the recognition of secondary school diplomas;
  • facilitate cross-border transport by  train and bus, as well as by ambulance;
  • promote partnership between hospitals on either side of the border;
  • foster cross-border cooperation in crisis management,  disaster response and
  • between police and law enforcement authorities in border areas.

Dutch-German Conference
The Dutch-German Conference was established in 1994 by the then German and Dutch foreign ministers, Klaus Kinkel and Pieter Kooijmans. It brings together prominent figures from the worlds of politics, business, science, academe, culture and government with a view to strengthening bilateral ties. It also furthers knowledge of political and social developments by focusing on topical and social issues.

The conference is organised by a Dutch and a German steering committee and is held every 18 months in the Netherlands and Germany alternately.

Contact:
Dutch-German Conference Secretariat
c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Western and Central Europe Department/Western Europe Division (DWM/WE)
+31 (0)70 348 6737
dwm@minbuza.nl

Franco-Dutch Cooperation Council
The aim of the Franco-Dutch Cooperation Council is to strengthen relations between the Netherlands and France and promote dialogue in a range of areas. Its members are prominent in the fields of politics, the media, scholarship, culture and industry and have a special interest in Franco-Dutch relations. Projects and meetings are set up at various locations, in France and the Netherlands alternately.

The Council carries out a number of projects:

  • Since 2004, annual exchanges have taken place between journalists from leading French and Dutch newspapers. These have led to a greater understanding of one another’s work and a better knowledge of the situation in the host country.
  • Since the establishment of the Council, the annual Erasmus-Descartes Conference has been held in Paris and Amsterdam alternately. The conference themes are both political and scholarly. Every two years, up and coming Dutch and French young people from the the world of business, politics and academe meet to discuss current issues and exchange ideas. 

Contact (the Netherlands):
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Western and Central Europe Department/Western Europe Division (DWM/WE)
+31 (0)70 348 5115
dwm@minbuza.nl

Contact (France):
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Paris
+33 1 4062 3330
par-pcz@minbuza.nl

Hungarian-Dutch Round Table Conference
The aim of the Hungarian-Dutch Round Table Conference is to enable civil servants, businesspeople and academics to exchange thoughts on a particular theme. The first such conference was held in Budapest in 2005 and centred on the Lisbon Strategy. Seminars have focused on themes such as water and transport,  and innovation in the field of energy and the environment. Besides constituting a political platform, the conference seeks to bring together representatives of the business world. It is held in Hungary and the Netherlands alternately.

Contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Western and Central Europe Department/Central Europe Division (DWM/ME)
+31 (0)70 348 5115

Utrecht Conference (Poland)
The Utrecht Conference came into being in the spring of 1999. Initially, its aim was to strengthen bilateral ties with Poland and to provide Dutch expertise to support Polish accession to the European Union. After Poland joined the EU, emphasis shifted to partnership within the Union.
The Utrecht Conference is held annually and provides a platform for bilateral consultation between various ministries. Recent issues discussed included the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, EU external relations, the economic crisis, energy and climate. The conference is held in Poland and the Netherlands alternately.

Contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Western and Central Europe Department/Central Europe Division (DWM/ME)
+31 (0)70 348 5115

Wittenburg Conference (Turkey)
The first Dutch-Turkish bilateral conference (a Dutch initiative) was organised by the foreign ministers of the two countries and held early in 2008. The main aim of the conference, which is attended by members of government and civil servants, is to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the Netherlands and Turkey. It also enables knowledge and experience to be exchanged on political, economic, social, cultural and other relevant issues. The conference takes place annually in the Netherlands and Turkey alternately.

Contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Western and Central Europe Department/Central Europe Division (DWM/ME)
+31 (0)70 348 5115