The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Visitors’ Programmes

The Visitors Programmes (‘bezoekersprogramma’s BZ’) are an instrument of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs designed for public and economic diplomacy purposes and for Holland Branding. Between thirty and forty international delegations are invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to visit the Netherlands.

The programmes serve incoming visits to the Netherlands only. The programmes are financed by MFA and are carried out by the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO.nl) – Netherlands Enterprise Agency. RVO.nl takes care of the planning, content and logistics, and hosts the delegation. In organising and developing the programmes, RVO.nl works closely together with the Ministry of FA, the Dutch embassies and partners in the Netherlands.

Goal & themes

In general, the programmes are aimed at fostering the exchange of knowledge, building networks and exploring opportunities for cooperation with the Dutch – either in G2G, K2K, B2B or a combination – in a specific sector or on a specific theme. The themes of the programmes are various, including water management, agro & horticulture, food security, logistics, circular economy, port development & infrastructure, peace & justice, international law, human rights, LGBTI rights.

For whom

The programmes are open to the embassies in the designated focus countries for either ‘influentials’ or ‘high potentials’ or journalists.
The programmes offer opportunities for delegations to visit the Netherlands in the framework of three programmes:

Influentials can be politicians, scientists, civil servants, journalists and businessmen, or a mix. High potentials (aged 27–35) are promising young professionals (future leaders) in government, politics, business, civil society, education and science. All three programmes are Public Diplomacy/Economic diplomacy/Holland Branding instruments of the Ministry of FA (BZ/COM).

Annual report 2017

Yoka Brandt: "A solid international network is very important to the Netherlands. We all agree on that. It is often up to our colleagues at the missions to maintain that network and Yoka Brandtto help it grow, according to the demands of our policy priorities. We not only share interests with our stakeholders; we can exchange knowledge with them, too. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs visitors’ programmes are an ideal public diplomacy tool for inviting members of these networks to the Netherlands to exchange knowledge, experience and expertise.

In 2017 we organised a range of activities. We offered programmes for journalists in the context of the state visits to Italy and Portugal. Influentials from Russia’s LGBTI community visited the Netherlands to tap into new networks to help them continue their work in Russia. And high potentials involved with water management, logistics, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, food security and sustainable energy were given the chance to find out more about the Netherlands’ work in these areas. Each visitor then takes their new network and knowledge home with them. Ultimately, this results in promising partnerships for the Netherlands.

This year the visitors’ programmes were once again successfully organised by our colleagues at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl).

We look forward to another year of interesting programmes and fruitful cooperation between the missions, the ministry and of course RVO.nl."

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