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Estonia and the Netherlands »

Estonia-Netherlands relations

06.04.2018


The Dutch - Estonian relations are characterized by a common understanding of the European values and the contribution to ensuring the North Atlantic security area, which create a solid ground for close, harmonious, and mutually beneficial cooperation.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands recognised the Republic of Estonia de facto on 26. June 1920 and de jure on 5 March 1921. After Estonia restored independence, the Netherlands re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 2 September 1991. Diplomatic relations were restored on 21 September 1991.

The Ambassador of Estonia to the Netherlands is Kaili Terras, who presented her credentials on 6 September 2017. The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Estonia is Karen van Stegeren, who presented her credentials on 7 September 2016.

Previous Dutch ambassadors in Estonia

 

  • Willem L.F.C van Rappard                             (1922-1937, resided in Copenhagen)
  • H W G M Huyssen van Kattendijke               (1937-1938, resided in Copenhagen)
  • L.P.J. De Decker                                            (1938-1940, resided in Riga)
  • Joanna van Vliet                                           (2001-2005)
  • Hans Glaubitz                                               (2005-2006)
  • Henk Ary Christiaan van der Zwan               (2006-2010)
  • Maurits Robbert Jochems                              (2010-2012)
  • Jos Schellaars                                               (2012-2016)


Previous Estonian ambassadors in the Netherlands

  • Oskar Kallas                                               (1923-1934, resided in London)
  • Friedrich Akel                                              (1934-1936, resided in Berlin)
  • Karl Tofer                                                    (1936-1939, resided in Berlin)
  • Rudolph Möllerson                                      (1939-1940, resided in Berlin)
  • Clyde Kull                                                    (1992-1996, resided in Brussels)
  • Jüri Luik                                                       (1997-1999, resided in Brussels)
  • Tõnis Idarand                                              (1997-2000) chargé d'affaires
  • Andrus Normet                                            (2000-2002) chargé d'affaires
  • Priit Pallum                                                   (2002-2006)
  • Gita Kalmet                                                  (2006-2011)
  • Peep Jahilo                                                  (2012-2017)

 

Estonia has four acting honorary consuls in the Netherlands. Honorary Consul Jan Brouwer resides in Rotterdam, Nicolaas van de Griendt in Zwolle, Marcel van den Heuvel in Amsterdam, and Theodoor Willebrord (Wibo) Aris at the overseas terrirory (Antilles and Aruba) on Curaçao.

In Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) there exists a Dutch parliamentary group.

The Netherlands represent Estonia on visa issues in six locations (Kenya, Jordan, Suriname, Oman, Aruba, Curacao) according to the bilateral agreement on visa representation for issuing Schengen visas that was concluded in 2008Estonia represents the Netherlands in Pskov, Russia.

Visits

To the Netherlands

June 2017

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Benelux, Nordic and Baltic countries, meeting with Dutch Prime Minister

April 2015

Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus at Global Cyber Conference, meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister

December 2014

Minister of Defence Sven Mikser

August 2013

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

November 2012

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

December 2011

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet at the Conference for Internet Freedom

December 2010

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

October 2009

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip

June 2007

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves meeting with the Queen Beatrix

 

To Estonia

February 2015 Foreign Minister Bert Koenders at the meeting of Baltic and Benelux States foreign ministers
October 2014 Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
April 2014 Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans at the Freedom Online Coalition Conference in Tallinn
April 2010 Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Tallinn
March 2010 Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen
August 2009 Speaker of the Parliament Gerdi Verbeet
October 2008 Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen at the meeting of Baltic and Belenlux States foreign ministers
May 2008 Queen Beatrix state visit

 

Economic Relations

 

TRADE

During past decade, the Netherlands has steadily been among Estonia’s top ten trade partners. In 2014 the Netherlands positioned on 8th place. Trade turnover was 810 million EUR, which is 3,1% of Estonia’s total foreign trade volume (compared to 2,8% and 731 M EUR the year before). The imports from the Netherlands has continuously exceeded the exports to the Netherlands, causing the trade deficit to grow. In the end of 2014 the trade deficit was 164 M EUR.

Estonian-Dutch trade 2005-2014 (million EUR):

Year Export % of total export Import % of total import
2005 150,1 2,4 280,7 3,4
2006 182,7 2,4 379,9 3,6
2007 215,5 2,7 389,1 3,4
2008 194,1 2,3 362,2 3,3
2009 160,5 2,5 257,4 3,5
2010 203,1 2,3 308,5 3,3
2011 319,4 2,7 465,2 3,7
2012 306,3 2,4 526,4 3,8
2013 281,3 2,3 449,5 3,3
2014 323,0 2,7 487,0 3,5

Source: Statistical Office of Estonia

Major export articles in 2014:

  • Mineral products - 36%
  • Machinery and equipment – 13,8%
  • Base metals and metal products - 10,4%
  • Food and live animals - 8%
  • Wood and articles of wood - 7,7%

Major import articles in 2014:

  • Machinery and equipment - 24,5%
  • Chemical products – 19%
  • Vegetable products - 10,3%
  • Prepared foodstuffs and beverages - 9,7%
  • Plastics and articles thereof - 7,9%

INVESTMENTS

According to Bank of Estonia, direct investments from the Netherlands totalled 1.654 billion euros as of 31 December 2014, which equals ca 10% of all direct investments (FDI) made in Estonia. Netherlands has continuously been the third largest foreign investor in Estonia, after Sweden and Finland. Dutch investments have mainly been allocated into Estonia’s transport and inventory sector (28% of investments), real estate (18%), and professional, research and technical activities (11%).

According to the Estonian Business Register, there were around 315 100% or partially Dutch capital based companies registered in Estonia as of April 1, 2015. The biggest Dutch companies in Estonia are Maxima Eesti OÜ, Alexela Logistics, AS Magnum, Fortum Termest, and Termak Real Estate. Another big Dutch investment in Estonia is AS Vopak EOS, which provides independent tank terminal capacity. Some of these companies are not of Dutch origin, but have their headquarters registered in the Netherlands.

As of 31 December 2014, Estonia has invested a total of 110,9 M euros in the Netherlands, which is about 2% of all of Estonia’s direct investments abroad. Investments have primarily gone to professional, research, and technical activity; financial and insurance activity; wholesale and retail trade; electrical energy supply; transport and inventory; information and communication; and real estate.

TOURISM

The number of Dutch tourists visiting Estonia has doubled during the past three years. While in 2010 Estonia was visited by around 25 000 tourists from the Netherlands, the number reached 50 000 in 2013 and 2014. On average, the Dutch tourist spent nearly 3 days in Estonia.

The number of Estonian tourists visiting Netherlands has grown steadily, year by year. The direct airline between Tallinn and Amsterdam, which is operated by Nordic Aviation Group two times a day, plays an important role in this. However, in 2014 the number dropped. While in 2010 nearly 40 000 Estonian residents visited the Netherlands, and in 2013 the number exceeded 51 000, then in 2014 the number of tourists fell to 46 500.

Source: Bank of Estonia

Defence co-operation

Dutch - Estonian defence cooperation has been active both bilaterally and within NATO.

Estonia highly appreciates the military training opportunities provided by the Netherlands within the framework of different courses, exercises and visits. The Dutch Ministry of Defence has offered policy training courses to Estonian officers and officials at the International Staff Officers Orientation Courses, and also at the Belgian-Dutch mine disarming school EGUERIM. The Netherlands have supported the Baltic Defence College both through financial aid and by sending a lecturer to the school.

Estonia has procured and continues to procure various military hardware from the Netherlands. Since 2004 Estonia has purchased over 11,000 trucks and off-road vehicles, about 500 towed vehicles and staff trailers and 81 SISU XA-188 armored personnel carriers. During the Dutch Defence Minister's visit to Tallinn on October 1, 2014 a bilateral letter of intent related to the introduction of the CV90 infantry fighting vehicles in Estonian defense forces was signed. According to the document, the defense forces of the two countries will exchange information about the training, tactics, ammunition used by, and training grounds of mechanised units. On October 1, 2014 a letter of intent was signed on the procurement of 44 CV90 infantry combat vehicles and support hardware from the Netherlands. The deliveries will be made during 2016. Dutch troops with CV90 infantry fighting vehicles participated in the Estonian Independence Day military parade (February 2015) and at a joint training exercise with the Estonian Scouts Battalion.

Dutch F-16 planes have participated in NATO's air policing mission protecting the Baltic airspace (2005). Since September 2014 until the end of the year, five Dutch fighter jets are supporting the NATO's Baltic States air policing mission from the Malbork Air Force Base in Poland. A Dutch Naval group consisting of a submarine, a frigate, a patrol ship and two support vessels will visit Estonia in the second half of October (2014).

At the NATO summit in Wales (Sept 2014) a letter of intent between Estonia, the United Kingdom, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands was signed in order to create a rapid reaction force, the so-called "joint expeditionary force". The force will incorporate ground, seaborne and airborne units. It will hold military operations to defend allies and react to natural calamities and humanitarian crises. It also enables Estonia to carry on close cooperation with our allies from the ISAF operation in southern Afghanistan.

Cultural & education-related co-operation

 

Cultural relations between Estonia and the Netherlands are active and function mainly through direct contacts.

In recent years, several books about Estonian history as well as fiction have been published in the Netherlands:

  • In 2012, a first comprehensive survey about the Estonian history was published in Dutch, the author of which is Professor Cornelius Hasselblad. The work is titled "Ice Age-to-Skype" ("Van Ijstijd tot Skype").
  • In 2008, "Dutch-Estonian Relations between the Two World Wars 1918-1940"  by Onno Bus and John de Jonge appeared.
  • In 2009, Sofi Oksanen's "Purge" was published in Dutch.

Estonian musicians are welcomed guests in the Netherlands. For example, famous Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi was a guest conductor of the Hague Symphony Orchestra Residentie Orkester from 2006 to 2012. He contributed significantly to raising the visibility of Estonian culture and music traditions in the Netherlands. Estonian mixed choir Noorus (Youth) performed in several Dutch cities in September 2014 in the framework of the international choir festival Tonen. Estonian long-term singing tradition was particularly highlighted at the opening concert of the festival, which saw a full house of listeners. In 2012, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO) and Philharmonic Chamber Choir gave a joint concert in Groningen and the popgroup "Ewert & Two Dragons" toured in five Dutch cities. In January 2013, "Ewert & Two Dragons" was awarded with the European Music Prize in Groningen.

Estonian feature movie "Ma ei tule tagasi" (I won't Come Back) by Ilmar Raag won a first prize at the Vlissingen Film Festival "Films by the Sea" in September 2014. Estonian films "Kertu" and "Cherry Tobacco" were screened as well.

Education

In 2007 an Estonian School was registered in the Netherlands. There are about 40 children that participate in the instruction that takes place once a month. In addition, Estonian language classes take place for others who are interested in learning Estonian.

On an academic level, there is close working relationship between the universities of Groningen in the Netherlands and Tartu in Estonia. There exists an agreement of exchanginig the students within the Erasmus programme. Until 2013 it was possible to study Estonian at Groningen University, which was the only one in the Netherlands providing Estonian studies at academic level. In Estonia it is possible to study Dutch in the language centres of both Tartu and Tallinn University.

 

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© Estonian Embassy in The Hague Zeestraat 92, 2518 AD The Hague, Netherlands tel. 31 (0)70 302 9050, e-mail: embassy.haag@mfa.ee