Dutch representation at international organisations

The Netherlands is not only represented around the world by embassies and consulates: the bilateral missions. It also has representations at 15 international organisations. These are called ‘multilateral missions’.

Multilateral missions

Multilateral missions represent the Netherlands at such international organisations as the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations. Staff at these missions work with their counterparts from other countries to achieve the objectives of the international organisations concerned while also representing the official views of the Netherlands and promoting Dutch interests. Multilateral missions are headed by ambassadors called permanent representatives.

Multilateral cooperation

Multilateral cooperation takes place in many areas, including:

  • political and economic cooperation between the 27 EU member states;
  • cooperation in Atlantic and European organisations for international peace and security (NATO, WEU and OSCE);
  • worldwide cooperation in fields covered by the United Nations, its specialised agencies (such as FAO, ILO, UNESCO and WHO), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ);
  • economic and development cooperation in the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank, regional development banks and UN agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA;
  • international trade (WTO)
  • human rights (in the UN, Council of Europe, ILO, etc.);
  • environmental issues (in the EU, OECD, UNEP, etc.);
  • energy issues (in the IAEA, etc.);
  • prohibition of the possession and use of chemical weapons (OPCW).

Multilateral tasks are also performed on a temporary basis within the framework of special conferences convened for varying periods. In Vienna, for instance, negotiations took place over several years to reduce the armed forces in both Western and Eastern Europe: first in the Conference on Mutual Balanced Force Reduction (MBFR) and later in the Conference on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE).

The Netherlands has permanent multilateral missions in:

  • Bangkok (ESCAP), Thailand;
  • Brussels (EU, NATO, WEU), Belgium;
  • The Hague (OPCW), the Netherlands;
  • Geneva (the Conference on Disarmament, the UN European Office, WTO and other international organisations including UNHCR), Switzerland;
  • Madrid (WTO), Spain;
  • Nairobi (HABITAT, UNEP), Kenya;
  • New York (UN), United States of America;
  • Paris (OECD, UNESCO), France;
  • Rome (FAO, IFAD, WFP) Italy;
  • Strasbourg (Council of Europe), France;
  • Vienna (OSCE, UNIDO, IAEA), Austria.