Treaties Division

Concluding treaties is a way of forging relations with other countries in all manner of subject areas. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is currently party to over 6,000 treaties, and signs about 100 new treaties every year.

Treaties Division

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for concluding treaties. The Treaties Division of the Legal Affairs Department carries out the procedures for approving and publishing treaties: formulation, signature, coordination of approval procedures, ratification, entry into force and publication of treaty texts and data in the Treaty Series (Tractatenblad). The Treaties Division is also responsible for depositary tasks and the publication of consolidated versions of the treaties on the internet.

Types of treaties

The legal definition of a treaty is a binding arrangement concluded in writing between states or between states and an international organisation. Whatever its form or its name, whether it is called an agreement, an arrangement, a convention or a protocol, it will still be a treaty.

There are two types of treaties: bilateral and multilateral ones. A bilateral treaty is concluded between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and one other party; a multilateral treaty is signed by more than two parties, including the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Treaties can be about almost any subject, ranging from aviation to road transport, taxes, human rights and extradition.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands comprises the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. A treaty is signed for the entire Kingdom, after which the individual parts of the Kingdom decide whether the treaty should be effective for them. In practice the term "the Netherlands" is often used where the Kingdom of the Netherlands is actually meant.

Treaty texts

The texts of treaties can be found in the Dutch Treaty Series. The Treaty Series contains the texts and related data. Issues of the Treaty Series published from 1995 onward can be accessed via www.officielebekendmakingen.nl.
The consolidated versions of the texts are also available on the Internet under Wet- en Regelgeving on the Overheid website. ‘Consolidation’ entails combining the original texts and all the amendments. When the text of a treaty is amended, a new issue of the Treaty Series is published. If there are many amendments to the text, the only way to piece together the omplete text is by referring to a whole stack of issues. Once the consolidated texts have been published on the Internet, the complete texts will be immediately accessible.