Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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.

Working for the Netherlands, worldwide

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works hard for Dutch nationals and for Dutch interests and values around the world. Together with other countries, we work to tackle global challenges. The ministry works to ensure: 

  • Prosperity and fairness: We promote international trade, help Dutch businesses do business with and in other countries, and promote sustainable trade and shared prosperity.
  • Security and stability: We offer help and mediation to countries affected by conflict and violence, and enhance stability in vulnerable countries by working to improve living conditions.
  • Justice and freedom: We contribute to a well-functioning international legal order and promote international agreements in order to tackle global issues.
  • Dutch nationals abroad: We give support to Dutch nationals in difficulties abroad and try to prevent such situations from occurring by providing information and advice.

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 development 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 Netherlands

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.

Missions abroad

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.