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Netherlands

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Netherlands country brief

Key engagement

Australia and the Netherlands work closely to advance bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation across shared goals in human rights, rules-based trade and international security.

In December 2020 Australia and the Netherlands committed to establishing a General Security Agreement to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation, including in the areas of critical minerals, disinformation and countering foreign interference, cyber security and emerging technologies.

Australia and the Netherlands continue to coordinate closely to pursue truth, justice and accountability for the downing of MH17, in which both countries suffered significant loss of life.

In a milestone agreement in January 2023, Australia and the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote clean energy supply chains between Australia and the Netherlands on green hydrogen, via the Port of Rotterdam.

Outlook

2022 marked 80 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Netherlands. Building on the excellent engagement of 2022 and 2023, Australia looks forward to further progressing this strong, mature and dynamic relationship – including through further engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

Bilateral relations

Australia and the Netherlands enjoy a warm bilateral relationship grounded in a shared strategic outlook, strong trade and investment ties, extensive people-to-people links and a shared commitment to the international rules-based order. We work together in multilateral fora to support human rights, trade liberalisation and international security.

A Declaration of Intent on a Strategic Dialogue between Australia and the Netherlands was signed by Foreign Ministers in November 2016, committing the countries to enhanced cooperation on these and other issues.

Foreign policy

The Netherlands contributes actively to promoting and defending international peace and security. The Netherlands is the fifth largest economy in the EU and relies on an open rules-based trading environment. The Netherlands is a strong proponent for human rights and is the seat of the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Other foreign policy priorities of the Netherlands include strengthening international institutions, addressing global poverty, climate change, energy and supply chain security, international terrorism, arms control and human trafficking.

Fast Facts

Dutch visitors to Australia (2022)
31,420
Australian resident returns from the Netherlands (2022)
20,820
Resident Australian population born in the Netherlands (2021 census)
71,520
Australian residents of Dutch descent (2021 census)
381,948
Dutch working holidaymakers (2022)
2,222
Dutch student enrolments in Australia (2022)
840

High level engagement

  • July 2023 — Dutch Minister for Long-term Care and Sport, Conny Helder, visited Australia for the 2023 FIFA Womens' World Cup.
  • July 2023 — Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the sidelines of the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Vilnius.
  • February 2023 — Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP, met with Dutch Minister of Defence, Kajsa Ollongren, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
  • January 2023 — Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen MP and Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy, Rob Jetten signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote clean energy supply chains between Australia and the Netherlands on green hydrogen.
  • August 2022 — Assistant Minister for Trade, Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, met with Dutch Vice Minister Thijs van der Plas on the sidelines of the 10th Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York.
  • June 2022 — Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the sidelines of the NATO Leaders Summit in Madrid.
  • April 2022 — Then Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne met with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, on the sidelines of the NATO Foreign Minister Summit in Brussels.
  • November 2021 — Then Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the sidelines of the COP26 Conference in Glasgow.
  • December 2020 — Then Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Mark Rutte held a virtual leaders’ meeting.

Agreements with the Netherlands

Australia has numerous bilateral agreements with the Netherlands, including on social security, double taxation, mutual legal assistance and cultural cooperation.

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Public diplomacy

The Australian Embassy in the Hague promotes Australia’s reputation as an open and tolerant society, and a like-minded democracy with shared values and common interests.

This includes furthering Australia’s reputation in the Hague based international organisations, such as the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

A core and enduring element of the Embassy’s public engagement is its participation in the many remembrance events that recognise the important service of Australians in the Netherlands during the World Wars.

Australian Embassy in The Hague

Facebook: @AusinNL

X: @AusAmbNL

LinkedIn: Australian Embassy in the Netherlands

Economic diplomacy

The Embassy’s economic diplomacy efforts focus on promoting Australia as a sophisticated open economy that is transitioning towards a low-carbon future. Its outreach aims to increase awareness of business opportunities in Australia and with Australian businesses, especially in high tech and sustainability-related sectors.

Two-way trade in 2022 was $13 billion.

The Embassy’s economic diplomacy with the Netherlands has five pillars: promoting Australia as an attractive destination for foreign investment; supporting and facilitating Australian businesses and improving market access; increasing science, technology and innovation links; and advocating for the global rules-based trading system.

Further economic and trade information [PDF].

Australia continues to seek opportunities to promote Australian business and raise awareness of potential benefits of increased trade between Australia and Europe, including the Netherlands.

Business

The Netherlands is a significant trading and investment partner for Australia. It is Australia's largest EU export market, with $9.2 billion in goods and services exported in 2022.

The Netherlands is also an attractive destination for Australian investment. It has an open economy and outward focus, a sound public sector and dynamic private sector, good social services and modern and effective infrastructure. Major Australian companies present in the Netherlands include Amcor, Atlassian, Macquarie Capital, Worly, and Tritium.. A number of Australian businesses also have European headquarters or marketing and sales offices in the Netherlands, such as Quantum Brilliance.. In 2022, the total stock of Australian investment in the Netherlands was valued at $58 billion.

The Netherlands is an important international investor and home to several large companies with multinational operations, such as ING Group and Rabobank. It has one of the world's most highly developed pension fund industries – with significant levels of private assets under management – and a strong venture capital market. In 2022, the stock of the Netherlands’ investment in Australia was valued at $88 billion, the ninth largest source of foreign investment.

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) Amsterdam Office opened in 2021 to further facilitate foreign direct investment into Australia and focus on trade promotion to and from Australia.

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