The Netherlands has been an OSCE participating State since June 25, 1973 and Chaired the OSCE in 2003. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy located on the North Sea, to the north of Belgium and next to Germany. Its location as Europe’s traditional trading hub, as well as its highly-developed manufacturing sector and efficient agricultural sector have made it the sixth-largest economy in Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union., NATO and the Council of Europe. Its population of just under 17 million is 80.7 percent Dutch, 5 percent from other E.U. countries, 2.4 percent Indonesian, 2.2 percent Turkish, 2 percent Moroccan, and 5.6 percent other nationalities. Just over 50 percent of the population is Christian, 42.1 percent is unaffiliated, 6 percent is Muslim, 0.5 percent is Hindu, 0.2 percent is Buddhist, 0.2 percent are Jewish and 0.2 percent practice folk religions.
The Hague has long been the home of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, who has had numerous meetings with the Commission on issues ranging from Georgia to issues of security and inclusion for minorities and Roma.
While the Netherlands was chairing the OSCE in 2003, the Foreign Minister appeared before the Commission in a hearing to discuss issues of security and combating terrorism in the wake of 9/11.
Commissioners and the OSCE have increased attention to xenophobia and racism in the Netherlands over the years following the tragic murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in 2004, which spurred more stringent immigration laws and anti-migrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and political groupings.
Staff Contact: Paul Massaro, senior policy advisor