The Netherlands is refining its international presence

The Netherlands is closing five of its consulates-general and downsizing its large embassies, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. More economical housing will be sought for embassies and consulates, with plans for the Netherlands sharing embassy buildings with other countries.

The government is planning to reduce spending at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by 100 million euros, a large part of which will be borne by the network of international missions. The consulates-general in Antwerp, Chicago, Milan, Munich and Osaka will be closed and aid is being phased out in Bangladesh, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda, affecting the size of the embassies there.

The Netherlands will maintain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and Yemen, but its precise nature will be subject to review, due to the relatively high costs associated with the security situation in those countries.

Six missions have already closed: the embassies in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ecuador, Eritrea and Uruguay, and the embassy office in Almaty. Missions in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Zambia will be closing shortly.

A housing review will also be conducted for all embassies and residences, and a number of buildings will be sold. A percentage of these proceeds will be used to invest in less costly premises.

By contrast, an embassy was opened in Panama and a consulate-general in Chongqing, China. Due to the rapidly changing political and economic situation in Burma, a flexible one-person mission will be set up in the capital city Yangon.

In addition, consular assistance is being modernised and focused on genuine emergencies. Passport and visa processes are being digitised and a single telephone number is being introduced for Dutch nationals in need of assistance, day or night, anywhere in the world.

For more information, "Working together for the Netherlands, worldwide" is the policy letter which outlines how the government plans to ensure maximum flexibility in representing the Netherlands’ interests around the world.

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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