Kurdistan Region–Netherlands relations

Kurdistan Region–Netherlands relations are bilateral relations between Kurdistan Region[1] and the Netherlands. While Kurdistan Region has no representation in the Netherlands, the Netherlands has a consulate general in Erbil since 2012.[2] The Netherlands has a military presence in Kurdistan Region and have aided the region with humanitarian aid. The Netherlands also contributed to reforms of the Kurdish economy with 250,000 euros in 2017.[3] In August 2016, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Kurdistan Region and met with high-ranking Kurdish officials and deployed Dutch soldiers.[4] Concerning Kurdish independence, Dutch MP Harry Van Bommel stated that: "I will ask my party to support independent Kurdistan because I think independence is the best way to secure the future of the people in this Region".[5]

Kurdistan Region–Netherlands relations

Kurdistan Region



In the early 1990s, the Netherlands took part in the Operation Provide Comfort, which insured Kurdish autonomy in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. The Dutch government contributed to the American-led operation with an army unit consisting of a medical company, an engineer construction company, headquarters and combat service support company. For this, Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters from the Royal Netherlands Air Force and 13 personnel were deployed to the region.[6] In the aftermath of the operation, the Dutch government participated in the international effort to send humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees stuck in the region.[7]

The Netherlands opened a Liaison Office in the region to strengthen ties, especially economic ties, in 2012. At that time, there were 32 registered Dutch companies in Kurdistan Region.[8] In 2014, it was decided to upgrade the Dutch representation to a consulate general.[9] In August 2014, the Dutch government supplied the Kurdish government with humanitarian aid for the growing number of internally displaced people from the war against ISIS and non-lethal military equipment for the Kurdish soldiers (Peshmerga).[10] In December that year, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders visited Erbil, where he met various high-level Kurdish officials including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir and Chief of Staff of the Presidency Fuad Hussein. The Netherlands also commenced a training program in the region, where 100 Dutch soldiers were to train Kurdish soldiers.[11] In May 2015, Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert visited Erbil and met with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.[12] In May 2016, A Dutch parliamentary delegation visited Erbil to oversee the Dutch contribution in the war against ISIS and the country's aid to Kurdistan Region,[13] and in January 2017 Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Minister for Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen visited Kurdistan Region.[14]

See also


  1. While Kurdistan Region refers to the autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan is a geographical term referring to the Kurdish area of Iraq
  2. "Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands". Department of Foreign Relations - Kurdistan Regional Government. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  3. "The Netherlands is supporting reforms in the Kurdistan Region with a contribution to its Funding Facility for Economic Reform". UNDP in Iraq. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  4. "Kurdistan Dutch PM in Erbil: Our battle against ISIS further improves Kurdistan's stability". Rudaw. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  5. "VIDEO: Dutch MP: Independence best way to secure Kurds". Kurdistan24. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  6. "Dutch contribution". Defence Ministry of the Netherlands. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  7. 1992 International Year Book. p. 352.
  8. "The Dutch Acknowledge Kurdistan's Potential by Opening Consulate". Rudaw. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  9. "Netherlands to upgrade diplomatic presence in Kurdistan". Department of Foreign Relations - Kurdistan Regional Government. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  10. "Netherlands provides humanitarian aid and non-lethal military equipment to Kurdistan". Department of Foreign Relations - Kurdistan Regional Government. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  11. "Netherlands making considerable contribution to Kurdish fight against ISIS". Government of the Netherlands. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  12. "Hennis bij militairen in Midden-Oosten en Irak" (in Dutch). Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  13. "Dutch MPs visiting Kurdistan assess Netherlands' part in ISIS war". Rudaw. 4 May 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  14. "Dutch ministers in Erbil to discuss war against ISIS, IDP crisis". Rudaw. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2017.