Belgium–Netherlands relations

Belgian–Dutch relations refer to interstate relations between the Belgium and the Netherlands. It can be seen as one of the closest international relationships in existence, marked by shared history, culture, institutions and language, extensive people-to-people links, aligned security interests, sporting tournaments and vibrant trade and investment cooperation. Both nations are members of the European Union and NATO and, together with Luxembourg, form the Low Countries and the Benelux economic union.

Belgian - Dutch relations


Diplomatic mission
Embassy of Belgium, The HagueEmbassy of the Netherlands, Brussels


Relations were established after Belgium became independent from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1839. Both nations are great allies with cultural similarities and close cooperation between both governments. The language spoken in Belgium is known as Dutch/Flemish (Nederlands/Vlaams), and is the most-spoken language in both countries. Approximately 35,000 Belgian nationals live in the Netherlands,[1] while there are around 111,000 Dutch nationals in Belgium.[2]

Thanks to their shared history and the Dutch language, the Netherlands and Belgium have strong cultural ties. In 1980, the two countries set up the Dutch Language Union to encourage greater cooperation in the field of Dutch language and literature. The Union offers services including language tools like dictionaries and a language advice service, education in and about Dutch, literature and reading skills, and activities promoting the Dutch language in Europe and the rest of the world. The Union also works to showcase the two countries’ shared cultural heritage.[3]

Many television programmes and series are made mutually between the two countries, such as So You Think You Can Dance, Studio 100 and Benelux' Next Top Model. The two countries were joint hosts of the UEFA Euro 2000 football tournament and unsuccessfully made a bid to host the 2018 World Cup football.[4]


1960, visit and dinner in the Royal Palace of Brussels

State visits

  • 1938: Visit of King Leopold in Amsterdam.
  • 1960: Visit of Queen Juliana to Brussels.
  • 2016: State Visit of King Philippe to King Willem Alexander, the King and Queen were bestowed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.


The Duke of Brabant was invited to attend the inauguration of King Willem Alexander and Queen Mathilde is a godmother of Princess Alexia of the Netherlands.

Queen Beatrix attended the state Funerals of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola. Queen Juliana attended the Wedding of King Baudoin and Queen Fabiola in 1960.

Country comparison

Belgium the Netherlands
Population 11,099,554 17,011,595
Area 31 000 km2 (11,969 sq mi) 42 000 km2 (16,216 sq mi )
Population Density 364/km2 (942/sq mi) 405/km2 (1,049/sq mi)
Capital Brussels Amsterdam
Largest City Antwerp – 510,610 (Brussels – 1,830,000 Metro) Amsterdam – 810,084 (1,575,263


Government Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Head of State Philippe Willem-Alexander
Head of Government Alexander De Croo Mark Rutte
Official language Dutch, French, German (de facto and de jure) Dutch, West Frisian (de facto and de jure)
Main religions 58% Catholicism, 7% other Christian, 5% Islam,
2% Other, 27% irreligious
29% Catholicism, 19% Protestantism, 5% Islam,
5% Other, 42% irreligious
Ethnic groups 59% Flemish, 32% Walloon, 10% other 81% Dutch, 19% other
GDP (PPP) $420.307 billion, $37,883 per capita $696.308 billion, $41,447 per capita
GDP (nominal) $484.692 billion, $43,686 per capita $800.535 billion, $47,651 per capita

Resident diplomatic missions

Embassy of Belgium in The Hague

See also


  1. "Western Europe". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Aid and Development Cooperation. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  2. "België in trek bij Nederlanders". CBS (in Dutch). 9 January 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  3. "Relations the Netherlands - Belgium". Government of the Netherlands. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  4. "Associations of Belgium and the Netherlands officially announce interest in submitting joint bid". 14 Nov 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-11-15. Retrieved 14 Nov 2007.