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Canada-Netherlands Relations

The Canada-Netherlands bilateral relationship, while anchored in a shared WWII history, is dynamic and forward-looking. We benefit from mutual commercial and foreign policy interests, which flow from our common commitment to multilateralism, free and inclusive trade and the rules-based international order. Our citizens have significant person-to-person ties underpinned by immigration past and present.

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

The Netherlands is a country steeped in a long history of commerce and represents a gateway to Europe across the spectrum of trade, investment and technology exchange. The Netherlands is Canada’s second largest source of foreign direct investment. In 2020, the stock of Dutch direct investment in Canada was valued at nearly $147.9 billion.

Bilateral merchandise trade totaled $8.6 billion in 2020, with Canadian merchandise exports to the Netherlands at $5.4 billion, and imports at $3.2 billion. In 2020, Canada’s services exports to the Netherlands totaled $1.2 billion and services imports from the Netherlands to Canada were valued at $1.6 billion.

The Netherlands has an enormous transport logistics infrastructure built around the Port of Rotterdam (the largest in Europe) and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The country counts a highly international and diverse workforce and attractive tax regimes, which serve to attract investments from Canadian companies.

Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service in the Netherlands places a strong emphasis on the promotion of Dutch investment in Canada and technology exchange.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

Provisional application of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) started on September 21, 2017, at which time all economically significant parts of the Agreement entered into force. CETA is already generating new economic opportunities for both Canada and the Netherlands. Canada-Netherlands bilateral merchandise trade increased by 41.9% percent since CETA came into effect (compared to pre-CETA (2016). The Dutch parliament is studying legislation to ratify CETA. Find out more: Answers to common questions about CETA.

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

The Netherlands is a strong international partner for Canada. We are like-minded across a broad spectrum of issues, including our common commitment to human rights, multilateralism and the rules-based international order. 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 security, intelligence and rule of law issues. Our interests also converge in the Americas, where the Kingdom of the Netherlands –which includes the constituent countries of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten and special municipalities of Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire– is a neighbour and friend.

An important link in Canada’s storied military heritage

The Canadian Forces spearheaded the Liberation of the Netherlands during World War II. At the same time, Canada welcomed Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana and her family. The Royal Family gifted Canada a multitude of tulip bulbs in recognition of these wartime links. This was the genesis of Ottawa’s well-known Canadian Tulip Festival.

Significant people to people links

The ties forged during the Second World War led to significant people-to-people links. About one million persons of Dutch origin now reside in Canada, a figure which translates to 3% of the Canadian population. Following the adoption of a motion in Parliament, and in recognition of our close bond, Canada celebrated its inaugural Dutch Heritage Day on 5 May 2019.

Recent high level interaction

Then-Governor General Julie Payettte paid a two-day visit to the Netherlands August 30-31, 2019. She attended a commemorative event to kick off the year-long commemorations of “75 Years of Freedom,” highlighting Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands. She also met with King Willem Alexander, Prime Minister Rutte and Princess Margriet and visited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Then-Foreign Minister Blok made an official visit to Canada on 3 April 2019. Minister Freeland hosted him for a working lunch and earlier in the day he met with members of the Dutch-Canadian community. Prime Minister Rutte made an official visit to Canada on 25 October 2018. This visit also marked the first time a Dutch prime minister delivered an address to the Canadian Parliament. Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands paid a state visit to Canada in May 2015, which included meetings with then Prime Minister Harper and Governor General Johnston. 

The last Canadian ministerial visits to the Netherlands were undertaken by then-Minister of Health Petitpas Taylor (International AIDS Conference, July 2018) and then-Minister of Justice Wilson-Raybould (March 2018). 

Diplomatic Representation 

Canada is represented in the Kingdom of the Netherlands by its Embassy in The Hague, which is also accredited to the Dutch Caribbean countries of Sint Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao. The Netherlands has an Embassy in Ottawa, Consulates-general in Toronto and Vancouver, and honorary consuls in Calgary, Edmonton, Fredericton, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

May 2021

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