Germany and the Netherlands: Bilateral relations

03.03.2023 - Article

Germany and the Netherlands enjoy wide-ranging, close and friendly relations at the level of both government and civil society. There are intensive contacts between their members of government and parliament at national and Land level. Regular visits and encounters take place, also at the highest level. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, most recently visited Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on 4 October 2022 for the meeting of the German-Netherlands climate cabinet.

Traditionally, the President of the Bundesrat in office visits the Netherlands and receives a top-level welcome – most recently Minister President Bodo Ramelow on 23 March 2022. The King and Queen of the Netherlands came to Berlin on a state visit from 5 to 7 July 2021. On 5 May 2021, then Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first German head of government to give a speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation. The German-Netherlands climate cabinet took place in Berlin on 4 October 2022 and the fourth German-Netherlands intergovernmental consultations are scheduled to be held on 27 March 2023. The Netherlands is one of Germany’s closest bilateral, EU and multilateral partners.

Exports and innovation play a very important role in the Netherlands’ economy. Strong sectors include services, particularly in the financial sector, as well as trade, agriculture and industry. The manufacturing industry is often highly specialised. The Netherlands is the fifth-largest exporter in the world (source: International Trade Centre), with 75 percent of its exports going to the EU and 22 percent to Germany. The country is the second-largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world after the United States (with an estimated volume of 95.6 billion euro in 2020). In 2020, the Netherlands was Germany’s most important trading partner in the EU for the fourth time in a row and its second-largest partner worldwide.

Cultural relations between Germany and the Netherlands are very intensive. Cooperation and exchange between organisations and people involved in vocational training, education, research and culture is close. Around 24,000 Germans study in the Netherlands, making up 20 percent of all foreign students.


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