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Canada-Netherlands Relations

The Canada - Netherlands bilateral relationship is dynamic and forward-looking. We benefit from important mutual commercial and foreign policy interests; we share values of open, liberal democracy; and our citizens have significant person-to-person ties underpinned by a rich military and royal history.

One of Canada’s most significant trade, investment and innovation partners

The most recent figures show that the Netherlands ranks as the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada. In 2011, Dutch FDI in Canada totalled $56.3 billion, representing 9.3% of total FDI stock in Canada. Two-way merchandise trade was valued at $8.1 billion in 2012. The Netherlands was Canada's 6th largest merchandise export market, with $4.5 billion in exports that year. Bilateral trade in services totalled $2.2 billion in 2010. Canada's services exports to the Netherlands totalled $961 million (11th position globally) and services imports from the Netherlands to Canada, $1.3 billion (11th position globally) that year. The country is a particularly key logistics partner in positioning Canadian goods elsewhere in Europe and other regions. It is often referred to as the “gateway to Europe” with an enormous import, transport, distribution and logistics infrastructure built around the Rotterdam sea port and the Schiphol airport. In fact much of Europe's well-developed and sophisticated Distribution Value Chain originates in the Netherlands. The country counts a highly international and diverse workforce, and attractive tax regimes make it an ideal location for Canadian companies to invest. Furthermore, the Netherlands is a key R&D and innovation partner for Canadian firms, institutions and centres of excellence which have a diverse array of joint projects and programmes with their Dutch counterparts in areas as diverse as urban planning and sustainable cities, global health services, agricultural improvement, and green energy.

Working side by side to create a more peaceful and prosperous world

The Netherlands is a constructive international partner for Canada. We are broadly like-minded, as open Western liberal democracies with a tradition of tolerance, respect for human rights and rule of law. The Dutch are well-regarded multilateral players alongside Canada in the UN, NATO, OSCE, and the various international judicial institutions headquartered in The Hague. The complementarity in our approaches provides lessons-learned in both directions. We also share mutually-beneficial partnerships and perspectives with the Dutch on police, security, intelligence and migration issues. These partnerships and exchanges take place with the Dutch in Europe – but also in the Americas, where the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a neighbour sharing interests and responsibilities with us in an area of keen foreign policy interest for Canada.

An important link in Canada’s storied military heritage

Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana and her family lived in Ottawa during much of the occupation, and Canadian forces spearheaded the Liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War Two. The Royal Family gifted Ottawa with a multitude of tulip bulbs in recognition of the wartime links. This was the genesis of Ottawa’s well-known Canadian Tulip Festival, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012.

Significant people to people links

The ties forged during the Second World War are but one part of the warm personal ties that link our countries. About one million persons of Dutch origin reside in Canada, a figure which translates to 3% of the Canadian population. Meanwhile, the Canadian Embassy in The Hague is aware of between 4500 to 5000 Canadians who live in the Netherlands.

March 2013

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