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Our relationship with the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a close partner of New Zealand, with a relationship based on shared values and interests, and extensive people-to-people connections.

In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that significant numbers of Dutch immigrated to New Zealand. By 1968, they formed the biggest group of non-British immigrant groups and today more than 150,000 New Zealanders claim Dutch heritage. There is also a sizable expatriate New Zealand community in the Netherlands.

We have numerous links in the areas of scientific research and education. There is strong academic and research cooperation between Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Massey University. The two institutions have engaged in staff exchanges and researchers collaborate on issues such as global food safety, agriculture and environment policy, agricultural economics and agribusiness.  The Netherlands is an active member of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, a New Zealand initiative focused on the research, development and extension of technologies and practices that will help deliver ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cultural connections between our two countries were enhanced in 2010, with “Te Hono ki Aotearoa”, a waka taua, being provided on permanent loan to the Volkenkunde Ethnology Museum in Leiden. As the only “living” waka in Europe, it has its own Dutch student crew trained in tikanga Māori, kawa, haka and waiata. 

While New Zealand ground troops were not on Dutch soil during World War II, the link between the two countries is significant and remains relevant today. Thousands of young New Zealanders flew with the British Royal Air Force in World War II and in separately designated New Zealand squadrons. 256 New Zealand airmen killed in World War II lie buried in the Netherlands, in 85 different cemeteries.

Trade

2017 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$1.4 billion

 

Exports to the Netherlands

$874 million  

Top exports: sheep meat, dairy products and unwrought aluminium

Imports from the Netherlands

$571 million

Top imports: machinery, tobacco and food preparations

GDP

US$824.8 billion

 

The Netherlands economy is the 17th largest in the world and the sixth largest in the European Union, despite a population of only 16.9 million. It is home to a number of major multinational firms such as Heineken, ING, Philips, Unilever, Rabobank and Shell. The Netherlands is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of goods, a significant exporter of commercial services and the eighth-largest importer of goods.

The Netherlands is an important export destination for New Zealand’s goods and a significant source of investment. 

For the year ending December 2017, the Netherlands was our fourth-largest trading partner within the EU.  Its strategic location within Europe, a population with strong language and entrepreneurial skills, quality infrastructure, and an open and outward-looking economy make the Netherlands an attractive gateway to Europe for New Zealand companies. Fonterra and Mainfreight have both chosen to locate their European Headquarters in the Netherlands.

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for the Netherlands.

For more information, read the Embassy of the Netherlands in New Zealand website (external link).

Embassies

Recent official visits

New Zealand to the Netherlands
  • April 2018: Members of Parliament Hon Amy Adams, Hon Jacqui Dean and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
  • March 2018: Hon Andrew Little, Minister of Justice
The Netherlands to New Zealand
  • November 2016: King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, with Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp and a trade delegation
  • April 2015: General Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defence
  • February 2014: Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs

News & Events

Centenary of the Liberation of Le Quesnoy

Europe
North America
France

The official commemoration to mark the centenary of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division will be held in the township on 4 November 2018.

Statement on Situation in Chechnya

Netherlands
Russia

Equal Rights Coalition members urgently call on Russian authorities to investigate reports of arbitrary detention, torture and killing of gay men by security services in Chechnya.

Europe and UK trade issues

Europe
United Kingdom

Latest update for New Zealand exporters on Europe and UK trade issues.