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 cooperation in the areas of science and innovation. The Swiss embassy promotes exchanges between the relevant offices in Switzerland and the Netherlands on specific topics.
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 and vice versa. Bilateral trade has been constant for many years, with the volume of trade in 2021 amounting to approximately CHF 12.1 billion. The Netherlands is one of the most important countries for Swiss direct investment. At the end of 2020 the Netherlands was the third biggest direct investor in Switzerland.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
The Netherlands is one of Switzerland's most important partners in research and innovation. The only countries with which Switzerland pursues closer scientific cooperation are its immediate neighbours and the United Kingdom.
Scholars and artists from the Netherlands can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
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.
Swiss nationals in the Netherlands
According to the statistics on the Swiss abroad, 8,814 Swiss nationals were living in the Netherlands at the end of 2021.
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 by its embassy in The Hague, and honorary representations (consulates) in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Willemstad (Curaçao). The Netherlands, for its part, has an embassy in Bern and honorary consulates general in Zurich, Basel, Lugano, as well as in Liechtenstein.