• The Hague

Relations between The Netherlands and Wallonia-Brussels

 
Presence of Wallonia and the Wallonia/Brussels Federation in the Netherlands is ensured by the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation and by the AWEx Bureau which share an office in The Hague, and by the Wallonia Belgium Tourist Board based in Amsterdam. The presence seeks to strengthen ties with the Netherlands, especially in the culture and education sectors, but also economically and commercially, in terms of university co-operation and research, in the field of tourism, etc.
 
Bilateral agreements
 
  • Escaut – Meuse Agreements signed in Charleville-Mézières on 26 April 1994 by the three Regions of Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
  • A Cooperation Treaty between firstly, Belgium's French-speaking Community, the Walloon Region and the Bruxelles-Capitale Region's French Community Committee and secondly, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was signed on 28 March 2002.
  • Signing, on 11 March in Liège, of a letter of intent between the Netherlands' Minister of the Economy and the Walloon Region's Minister of the Economy, SME, External Trade and New Technologies seeking to encourage co-operation in the fields of the economy, research and innovation.
  • Agreement between Belgium's French-speaking Community and the Netherlands Government concerning co-production of films, signed in Brussels on 25 February 2016.
 
Bilateral cooperation
 
Trade:
 
  • The Netherlands is traditionally Wallonia's third biggest client. The Dutch market absorbs 8 to 9% of Walloon exports and there is potential for expansion.
  • Country number three to supply Wallonia (also Belgium's number three supplier), the Netherlands accounts for some 13 to 14% of Walloon imports.
  • Action taken by Wallonia in External Trade focuses mainly on construction, health, audiovisual technologies, agro-industry, food, hospitality, gastronomy and the High Tech sector.
 
Culture:
 
  • Delegation participation in the EUNIC cluster (European Union National Institutes for Culture) in the Netherlands. The cluster was chaired by the Wallonia-Brussels Delegate from 2013 to 2015.
  • Exhibiting of our artists and creators in the Netherlands in the field of cinema, music, comic strips, theatre and literature.
  • Significant presence of film directors, French-speaking and from Wallonie-Bruxelles Images at the IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) and IFFR (International Film Festival Rotterdam) international festivals. Partnership between the Delegation and the Belgisch Film Festival in Utrecht and the Go-Short Film Festival in Nijmegen.
  • Participation of Wallonie-Bruxelles Musiques in the EUROSONIC Noorderslag Festival (Groningen) and the Classical Next Forum in Rotterdam.
 
Education:
 
  • Bilingual teaching project at the Porta Mosana College in Maastricht, award of the DELF qualification to students who have followed the "Further French" course, teaching of French language modules (History and Art) and organisation of traineeships in Wallonia for Dutch students.
  • Delegation participation in a coordination platform in the Netherlands seeking to encourage teaching of French. The Delegation is also a partner in the "Strategic agenda for internationalisation and teaching of neighbouring languages" in the Province of Limburg (NL).
  • Dutch language assistant exchange schemes in Wallonia and Brussels to encourage bilingual FR/NL teaching and French-speaking Belgian assistants to teach the French language in the Netherlands.
  • Delegation participation, jointly with the Wallonia Belgium Tourist Board in the Netherlands, in the biennial Conference for teachers of French in the Netherlands. Wallonia-Brussels stand and participation of the Delegation and several players from Wallonia and Brussels. The conference brings together over 500 Dutch teachers of French.
  • Exchange Programme for French teachers from Holland in Brussels and Belgium French speaking teachers in The Hague.
  • Exchange school programme.
 
Higher education/research:
 
  • Cooperation between the Liaisons Entreprises Universités Network (LIEU) with Eindhoven Polytechnic University and the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.
  • On the margin of the Belgian sovereigns' State visit to the Netherlands (November 2016), organisation of a gathering between university Rectors from French-speaking Belgium, the FNRS and the Nederlandse organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek [Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research] (NWO).
 
French-speaking areas:
 
  • On the Delegation's initiative, in 2014, French-speaking Ambassadors' Group set up in The Hague with special focus on promoting multilingualism, especially the French language, in international institutions based in The Hague. The Group was co-chaired by Belgium and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation from 2014 to 2016.
  • Delegation participation in the organisation of "Mois de la langue Française et de la Francophonie" (Month of the French Language and the French-speaking World) in the Netherlands (March).
  • Delegation participation in a coordination platform in the Netherlands seeking to encourage teaching of French.
  • Award of a "Wallonia-Brussels" prize at the French Song Contest “Concours de la chanson française” organised in The Hague by the Alliance Française in the Netherlands.
 
Mobility – Grants:
 
  • Award of four grants per year to young Dutch people so that they may participate in the "Français Langue Etrangère (FLE)" [French as a Foreign Language] training scheme at the University of Louvain and the University of Liège.
  • Award of two grants per year to Dutch diplomats for the "French for International Relations" traineeship, organised by the University of Mons.
  • Grants scheme seeking to facilitate the participation of young lawyers in "Private and Public International Law Summer Schools" run by the Hague Academy of International Law.
 
 Politics:
 
  • March 2013, meeting in Liège between the Walloon Minister, Jean-Claude Marcourt and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans. Signing of a letter of intent seeking to encourage co-operation in the fields of the economy, research and innovation.
  • Meeting between the Walloon Minister, Jean-Claude Marcourt and the Dutch Minister, Lilianne Ploumen, responsible for External Trade and Co-operation in Development, in February 2014 in Eindhoven on the theme of opportunities for competition.
  • Meeting between the Walloon Minister-President, Paul Magnette and the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte in January 2015 at the Catshuis in The Hague.
  • Presence of the Walloon Minister of Tourism, René Collin, at Fiets en wandelbeurs in Utrecht in January 2016.
  • Meeting between the Wallonia-Brussels Federation's and the Dutch Ministers of Culture and Education, Joëlle Milquet and Jet Bussemaker in Brussels in February 2016. Signing of an Agreement between the Government of Belgium's French-speaking Community and the Netherlands Government concerning co-production of films.
  • Visit by the President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation's Parliament, Philippe Courard, in September 2016.
  • Participation of the Walloon Minister-President, Paul Magnette, in the Belgian sovereigns' State visit to the Netherlands in November 2016.
  • Visit to Wallonia by the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade, Lilianne Ploumen, in February 2017. Meeting with the Minister-President of Wallonia, Paul Magnette, and the Minister of Economy, Jean-Claude Marcourt. Participation in the Netherlands-Wallonia economic day in Liège.
  • Visit to the Netherlands of Walloon Minister-President, Willy Borsus, on the 29th of January 2019 and meeting with the Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Catshuis in The Hague.
 
Multilateral cooperation
 
International organisations:
 
  • On the initative of the Wallonia-Brussels Delegation, setup of a partnership between Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI) and the Hague Academy of International Law.
  • Interreg IVA Euregio Meuse Rhin (EMR) cross-border scheme
  • The Interreg IV scheme marks a new phase in co-operation for EMR, focussing on economic structure and development of a modern region in the fields of technologies and knowledge, guaranteeing a competitive economy and significant quality of life.
  • EMR is equally focussing on other fields such as tourism, culture, training, housing and the environment.
 
In the Benelux countries:
 
  • The Benelux Treaty enables full, complete participation of federal entities in the actions of the Benelux countries, and the Delegation is keen to hear about any opportunity in the field.
  • Appointment of a "Benelux correspondent" within WBI.
  • Many Benelux activities in the Netherlands and Belgium in the fields of cross-border affairs, logistics, teaching, etc..