Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands)

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dutch: Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken Logo.jpg
Logo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Rijksgebouw Den Haag.jpg
Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Department overview
Formed March 12, 1798; 219 years ago (1798-03-12)
Jurisdiction Kingdom of the Netherlands
Headquarters Rijnstraat 8, The Hague, Netherlands
Employees 3,000
Annual budget €11,5 billion (2013)[1]
Ministers responsible
Department executive
  • Joke Brandt, Secretary-General
Website (in English) Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Dutch: Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken; BZ) is the Dutch Ministry responsible for Foreign relations, Foreign policy, International development, International trade, Diaspora and matters dealing with the European Union, NATO and the Benelux Union. The Ministry was created in 1798 as the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Batavian Republic. In 1876, it became the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Dutch: Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken) is the head of the Ministry and a member of the Cabinet of the Netherlands. The current Minister is Halbe Zijlstra.[2] The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (Dutch: Minister voor Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking) is a Minister without portfolio within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The current Minister is Sigrid Kaag.[3]

Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
This article is part of a series on the
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The Ministry is responsible for the foreign relations of the Netherlands and its responsibilities are as follows:[4]

  • 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 Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Development Cooperation (Netherlands) rovide political leadership to the Ministry. The ministry consists of four directorates-general, which deal with a particular policy area:[5]

  • The Directorate-General for Political Affairs is concerned with peace, security and human rights. This includes the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, the political role of NATO, the United Nations ands the guidance for embassies and other diplomatic missions.
  • The Directorate-General for European Cooperation concerns itself with the European Union. It is responsible for Dutch relations with EU members and candidate countries. It also coordinates policy in other regional organizations like the Council of Europe, the OECD and the Benelux
  • The Directorate-General for International Cooperation is responsible for international development, in line with the four Dutch priorities of water, security and the rule of law, food security and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • The Directorate-General for Foreign Economic Relations promotes the interests of Dutch businesses abroad and helps shape the Dutch contribution to the global economic order.

The Netherlands has about 140 diplomatic missions abroad,[6] see list of diplomatic missions of the Netherlands.


The Ministry was formed in 1798 as the Department of Foreign Affairs.[7] Since 1965 a special Minister for International Development has been appointed in each government with the exception of the First Balkenende cabinet and the First Rutte cabinet).

List of Ministers of Foreign Affairs

See List of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.


  1. ^ (in Dutch) V Buitenlandse Zaken, Rijksoverheid, September 18, 2012
  2. ^ (in Dutch) "Nieuwe minister Halbe Zijlstra (VVD) spreekt graag duidelijke taal". NOS. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2018. 
  3. ^ (in Dutch) "Diplomate Sigrid Kaag wordt nu zelf de baas". NOS. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  5. ^ "Rijksoverheid". Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  6. ^ "Rijksoverheid". Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "Geschiedenis ministerie BZ". Rijksoverheid. 

External links

  • (in Dutch) Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (Rijksoverheid)
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