The Academy for International Relations helps central government staff with an international role to learn and develop. We provide learning activities in both Dutch and English, geared to staff with an international role at every stage in their career.
The Academy for International Relations’ learning activities fall into three categories:
International and diplomatic curriculum
Current affairs series
Below you will find some examples of learning activities within the various categories and sub-categories. This will make it easier to find your way in all of our learning activities.
For a complete, up-to-date overview of learning activities, go to the online catalogue. Staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can log in to access the full list of learning activities.
In addition, on this page you will also find information about other learning options, conditions and rules of play for learning at BZ.
1. International and diplomatic curriculum
This part of the curriculum is geared to developing knowledge and skills for jobs with an international focus. Topics include trade and investment promotion, gender, migration, EU policy, religion and various regional studies. Many of the courses are open to civil servants from across central government.
See below for learning activities that are both useful and necessary if you have an international role and are also available in English.
Economic and diplomatic expertise and skills in the field of international trade and foreign investment are essential in an increasingly integrated and complex global economy. Take, for example, the skills you need to help Dutch businesses with their activities in foreign markets, and knowledge of sustainable economic development in developing countries.
For productive international cooperation, up-to-date knowledge of both policy and implementation is essential. The Academy provides learning activities on topics like multilateral cooperation, food security, energy, climate and migration.
Learning activities include:
Conflict and Crisis: putting gender equality up front
Strategic foresight and forecasting
How to respond to climate change (e-learning)
Food and nutrition security (e-learning)
Gender Offcourse (e-learning)
The Dutch approach on SRHR (e-learning)
Gender in sustainable business and development (e-learning)
In order to contribute to peace and security in the world, you need expertise in policy and implementation. But in-depth knowledge of regions is also essential. The Academy provides learning activities on every region in the world, focusing on topics like history, human rights, migration, security, trade, religion and money flows.
It is of essential importance for staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and staff with international roles at other ministries to have an excellent command of at least one foreign language. This makes a crucial difference in representing the Netherlands abroad, enabling us to protect our interests more effectively and achieve better results.
2. Personal development: ‘this is how we work at BZ’
Staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are committed and want to excel in their field. But these days, you need more than expertise in your own field. Make sure that you develop other skills and keep them up-to-date.
The learning activities within themes like ‘personal leadership & cooperation’, ‘digital skills’, 'Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)’ and ‘leadership & management’ focus specifically on the professional development of all staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whether they work at the ministry in The Hague or at the missions.
As a representative of the Dutch government, you have to be aware of the do’s and don’ts in the world of diplomacy. In an international setting, with participants from a variety of cultural backgrounds, sound intercultural skills and knowledge of protocol and etiquette are essential.
Learning activities include:
Working across Cultures, expand your cultural agility
Learning activities under this heading include more than practical training. It’s essential to be able to navigate a digital information structure, work with online systems and process information securely.
Learning activities include:
Information Security - YOU are the key to our protection!
Information management at BZ; 247Plaza, 247Foxy, Sophia
Good leadership doesn’t always come easily. Like every skill, you need to learn how to do it in a way that suits you. Our learning pathways help you strike a balance between the three leadership roles we have defined at BZ: the subject specialist, the social adviser and the manager.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to be an inclusive and diverse organisation that acts with integrity and has a safe and supportive working culture. An organisation where everyone belongs and everyone feels welcome, and where there is scope for authenticity. A working culture like this does not emerge spontaneously, but calls for an ongoing effort from us all. The curriculum focused on D&I is currently being updated – in line with the ambitions expressed by the Senior Management Board for the coming years in the broad field of Diversity, Inclusion and Safe Work Environment (1BZ).
3. Current affairs series: on foreign policy and working in the international arena
In addition to its broad curriculum, the Academy regularly organises lectures and events. The lectures combine academic research with policy and practice. They are given online as much as possible so that every colleague can connect, wherever they are at that moment. This offers colleagues the opportunity to acquire (new) acquaintances in addition to knowledge. Government employees in The Hague and at the missions can register. Our events align with current developments and international strategic themes. Consider, for example, the EU, geopolitical power shifts, economic security, digitization and international cultural policy. The events also offer room for reflection on our work and for sharing experiences.
In addition to research leave, staff with plans to write a doctoral thesis may apply for leave to start their research. The Policy and Academic Research Committee assesses the applications, which must be submitted by mid-January of the year in which leave is requested. Research leave enables the further development of a career track for in-depth knowledge acquisition.
For more information, get in touch with the Policy and Academic Research Committee by sending an email to the Academy’s dean, Dirk-Jan Koch.
Information and conditions for learning at BZ
Read about education support, conditions and rules of play for learning at BZ.
In order to learn and develop, you should first consider the activities on the Academy’s curriculum. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you may make use of the Education and Training Support Scheme, under which you may apply for time and money to do a course at an external institution. Find out more abouteducation and training support for staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the conditions that apply on Rijksportaal (in Dutch).
If you wish to make use of the Academy’s learning facilities and activities, we expect you to comply with our terms and conditions. These contain rules on registration, cancellation and modifications, describe our integrity policy and how we process your personal data, and set out our obligations if the instructor is ill or unavailable. In principle, you will need the permission of your manager before registering for a learning activity.
We hope this online study guide will help you choose your next learning activity.