Relations with Russia have reached a new low: the Netherlands is expelling diplomats


SCHIPHOL – The Netherlands throws several Russian diplomats out of the country. Because the country refuses to issue visas to new Dutch diplomats, Minister Wopke Hoekstra (Foreign Affairs) is now sending a number of Russians away.

Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs.


It concerns about ten Russians, says Hoekstra. After that, ‘a handful’ of diplomats will remain in both countries. The Russian diplomats must leave our country within two weeks. It is not the only punishment, Russia must also close the trade office in Amsterdam from Tuesday. It concerns a building belonging to the Russian trade representation.


It is a new low point in the relationship between the Netherlands and Russia, relations have increasingly soured since the downing of the MH17 flight. Last year, the file came to a head again, when the Netherlands expelled seventeen diplomats from Russia. According to the intelligence service, they were in fact spies. In response, Russia in turn expelled fourteen Dutch nationals.

According to Hoekstra, Russia also continues to try to place new spies in the Netherlands as diplomats. “That is unacceptable and not how it should go,” Hoekstra said at Schiphol on Saturday afternoon after returning from a safety conference in Munich. “We are in charge here, we are in charge of what happens here in the Netherlands. Not her.”

Visa not issued

Since the spy riot, Russia has refused to issue visas to new Dutch diplomats, despite an ultimatum at the beginning of this week. As a result, Hoekstra is forced to close the consulate in St. Petersburg from Monday. There are not enough people to man that post properly.

The Dutch ambassador in Moscow will remain at his post, and his Russian colleague in the Netherlands will also be allowed to stay. “It is important to keep the embassies open as a communication channel, even now that relations with Russia are more difficult than ever,” says Hoekstra. “But fair is fair: a normal relationship and normal times are long gone.”

The closure of the consulate in St. Petersburg is intended as a temporary measure, Hoekstra emphasizes. If enough people are available, the consulate will open again.



  1. There is really no sense having diplomatic relations with mafia land. Might as well have one with the Goti or Gambino crime families.

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