Relations between Switzerland and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are excellent and unproblematic. Economic, cultural and individual exchanges are intensive, friendly and direct. The two countries have very similar perspectives on economic, political and social issues.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–the Netherlands
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The Netherlands and Switzerland work closely at the bilateral level in many areas: key among them are policy on Europe, migration, asylum, transport and agriculture, and cooperation in the areas of science and innovation.
At the multilateral level, the two countries pursue common objectives in particular within the framework of the United Nations (UN).
The Netherlands is an important economic partner for Switzerland. Bilateral trade has been constant for many years, with the volume of trade in 2016 amounting to approximately CHF 10 billion. The Netherlands is one of the most important countries for Swiss direct investment. Equally, at the end of 2015 the Netherlands was the second biggest direct investor in Switzerland.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Scholars and artists from the Netherlands can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Swiss nationals in the Netherlands
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 8,183 Swiss nationals were living in the Netherlands at the end of 2016.
Swiss artists, especially those active in the visual arts, jazz and classical music, are attracted to the Netherlands thanks to the openness of Dutch society, the stimulating art scene, excellent institutions and the availability of public money. Pro Helvetia also supports the activities of Swiss artists in the Netherlands.
History of bilateral relations
After gaining independence, the Netherlands established a diplomatic representation in Bern in 1814, which was transformed into a consulate general in 1832. A year later, Switzerland opened a consulate in Amsterdam, and a further consular representation was set up in Rotterdam in 1847. In 1894 the Netherlands opened a legation in Bern.
In 1904 the Federal Council decided to accredit its 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 took on protecting power mandates for the Netherlands in China (official) and in Bulgaria and France (de facto). In 1993 Queen Beatrix made a state visit to Switzerland. In 2004 Joseph Deiss, the then President of the Swiss Confederation, was invited on a state visit to The Hague.
Switzerland is represented in The Netherlands through its embassy in The Hague, consulates general in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and honorary consulates in Oranjestad (Aruba) and Willemstad (Curaçao). The Netherlands, for its part, has an embassy in Bern, consulates general in Geneva and Zurich, and honorary consulates in Basel and Lugano.