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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the Netherlands
Bilateral relations are excellent and without problem. Economic, cultural and individual exchanges are intensive, friendly and direct. The two countries have very similar perspectives on economic, political and social issues.
The Netherlands and Switzerland work closely at the bilateral level in many areas.
- Transport policy, in particular transferring freight transport from road to rail
- Water management
- Agriculture, in particular research and sustainability
- Science and innovation
At the multilateral level, the two countries pursue common objectives in particular within the framework of the United Nations (UN).
Switzerland is represented in the Netherlands by its embassy in The Hague, the consulates-general in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and the consulates in Oranjestad (Aruba) and Willemstad (Curaçao). In addition, Switzerland has a permanent mission to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. The Netherlands has an embassy in Bern, consulates-general in Geneva and Zurich and honorary consulates in Basel and Lugano.
The Netherlands is an important economic partner for Switzerland. Bilateral trade has been constant for years; Switzerland traditionally runs a trade deficit with the Netherlands. The Netherlands is one of the most important target countries of Swiss direct investments. At the same time, as at the end of 2012, the Netherlands was world-wide the biggest foreign direct investor in Switzerland with a total amount of
CHF 15 billion.
Researchers from the Netherlands may apply at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists. Several Swiss academics occupy faculty chairs or teach at Dutch universities.
As at the end of 2012, 7,389 Swiss nationals were living in the Netherlands
Swiss artists, especially those active in the visual arts, jazz and classical music, are attracted to the Netherlands in particular due to the openness of Dutch society, the stimulating art scene, excellent institutions and government support. Many Swiss artists also visit the Netherlands. Pro Helvetia supports activities of Swiss artists in the Netherlands.
After gaining independence in 1814, the Netherlands established a diplomatic representation in Bern, which was transformed into a consulate-general in 1832. One year later, Switzerland opened a consulate in Amsterdam. In 1847, Switzerland opened another consular representation in Rotterdam. In 1894, the Netherlands opened a legation in Bern. In 1904, the Federal Council decided to accredit the Swiss envoy in London to the Dutch government, and in 1917, Switzerland established a legation in The Hague. In 1957, both the Netherlands and Switzerland upgraded their legations to embassies.
During the Second World War, Switzerland accepted the protecting power mandates for the Netherlands in China (officially) and in Bulgaria and France (de facto).