Centuries of common history means relations with the neighbouring Netherlands are extremely close. This, of course, is primarily because of the common Dutch language that led to the founding of the Dutch Language Union in 1980. This convention was still concluded by the Kingdom of Belgium on behalf of the Dutch Cultural Community, because, at the time, Flanders still did not have the authority to conclude international treaties. This changed in 1993 with the Saint Michael’s Agreement. In 1995, a Cultural Convention was concluded, ensuring cooperation between Flanders and the Netherlands in the promotion of culture, education, science and well-being.
There were also a number of agreements relating to the expansion and management of the Westerschelde waterway. In addition, treaties were concluded on the subject of the shared rivers of the Scheldt and Meuse with regard to their protection, flow rate and water quality. The prime ministers of Flanders and the Netherlands meet at least once per year, while the corresponding ministers and officials are regularly in contact with each other on a bilateral level, but also in a European context.