Joined UNESCO: 01/01/1947

Hosts the International Court of Justice (ICJ) - The Hague.

Head of State and/or Government

Head of State: His Majesty King Willem-Alexander
Prime Minister: Mr Mark Rutte

Permanent Delegation to UNESCO

H. E. Mr Hans Carel Wesseling
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiairy, Permanent Delegate (12/09/2018)

Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to UNESCO
7, rue Eblé 75007 PARIS
Web site

National Commission for UNESCO

Chairperson: Ms Andrée van Es
Secretary-General: Ms Marielies Schelhaas

Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO
Kortenaerkade, 11 2502 LT The Hague Netherlands
+31 70 42 60 263
+31 70 42 60 359
scunesco(a); info(a)
Web site

Read more National Commission for UNESCO

Representation in the Executive Board

The 1991 amendment modified Article V of the Constitution, regarding the status of members of the Board. From the 27th session of the General Conference (1993), the Executive Board consists of Member States rather than of persons (26 C/Resolution 19.3).
Title Name Years Sessions
MemberMr Hugo R. Kruyt1946-19471-4
MemberMr Frans Bender1951-195627-45
MemberMr Bernard J.E.M. de Hoog1966-197475-95
MemberMr Johannes Sizoo1991-1993138-144

Participation in subsidiary organs

Organs elected by the General Conference

Intergovernmental Council for the International Hydrological Programme
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication
Bureau Member
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Headquarters Committee
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)

Other intergovernmental organs

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Member (Term expires : 2022)
Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (UNESCO, Paris, 1970)
Member (Term expires : 2019-2023)

Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference

37 session of the General Conference

Her Excellency, Ms Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings

36 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Robert Zeldenrust, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received

35 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mrs Sharon Dijksma, State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science

“I am happy to align myself fully with speech made by the Swedish presidency of the European Union.”
“Challenges like education for all and protection of cultural and natural heritage need international cooperation. (…) UNESCO should focus on a limited number of tasks that cannot be performed as well or better at a national or local level by other international organizations or by civil society.”
“Is UNESCO, the way it is currently organized, able to fulfil all its tasks in an effective manner? My answer is no. Of course, much of the work UNESCO does is essential and world-class, but with regard to the main issues on our agenda, our contribution is still insufficient. An important reason for this is that the relationship between the Members States and the Secretariat has turned upside down. UNESCO has become an international secretariat supported by Member States, instead of an organisation of Member States supported by a secretariat.”
“Please allow me to share a few suggestions with you how to get the responsibility back to the Member States. Why don't we change the General Conference, for example, into a forum to discuss the plans of the Member States? Because, let's be honest, it is us, the Member States, and not the Secretariat, who have to solve the major problems in the fields of education, science and culture.”
“Furthermore, I believe we should make better use of our permanent representatives. (…) and that could easily be repaired by regularly convening the General Conference at the level of permanent representatives, for example once a month, to discuss one or more specific items.”
“UNESCO's future and the way we will deal with the challenges of today and the next decades are our responsibility as Member States. In order for us to succeed we, the Member States, should not try to shift this responsibility to the Secretariat, but we should take it on our own shoulders, leaving to the Secretariat the important role of supporting us in our endeavours. That way we can really make a difference in this world.”

34 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Ronald Plasterk, Minister of Education, Culture and Science

Gender equality is a human rights issue and a question of justice. Without the full involvement of women, it will be impossible to solve global challenges of the world. Gender equality, together with reducing poverty and fighting famine, is part of the goals set up for 2015.
However, women and girls all over the world still encounter all kinds of discrimination and are victims of human traffic, genital mutilations and systematic rape. Furthermore, they are also denied proper education. Education is a foundation on which gender equality must be built.
The Dutch Government has taken actions to ensure gender equality in the country, but much is still to be done. More women should be involved in decision-making processes, in the business community and academia fields.
“UNESCO is in a unique position under its mandate to promote gender equality. […] Gender equality must remain on the international agenda. We can, of course, all contribute to this by keeping the issue high on the domestic agenda in each of our own countries.”
The Netherlands welcomes the priorities set up by UNESCO in the Medium-Term Strategy for the years 2008-2013. Education is the key to address gender equality issue as well as the African continent problems. UNESCO has the required experience in the field of education that has to be shared with Member States.
“The Netherlands wants the United Nations as a whole to be more effective including in the area of promoting equal treatment for men and women. And while the new “One UN” reforms and UNESCO’s involvement in them are of vital importance, achieving gender equality remains a task and a responsibility for the entire United Nations organization.”
“I applaud UNESCO for introducing a separate action plan to apply the gender equality principle throughout its own Organization, but UNESCO should also ensure that the same applies to UNESCO institutes, programmes and projects.”

Celebration of anniversaries

  • Three hundredth anniversary of the completion of Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary (1997).