J.J. Weltvree, a castaway, was the first Dutch to naturalize to Korean during the Chosen Kingdom. Another Dutch castaway, H. Hamel, landed on Jeju Island in 1653 and returned to his homeland and introduced Korea to the western world when he wrote a book on his experience in Korea. Joon Lee was dispatched by Korea to the Hague World Peace Conference in 1907.
When he was disallowed from attending the conference as a Korean representative he protested by committing suicide.
Formal diplomatic relations between the two nations was established on April 4 of 1961. The Netherlands Embassy in Korea opened up in December 1968 and the Korea Embassy in the Netherlands opened in October 1969. Agreements between the two nations include the Patent and Trademark of 1966, the Visas Waiver of 1970, the Aviation of 1970, the Investment Guarantee of 1974, Double Taxation Avoidance of 1978, Economic & Technical of 1982 and the Marine Transport of 1995. Prime Minister Cork, the crown prince William Alexander and the Minister of National defense, De Glaff, visited Korea in 1996, 1999 and 2000 respectively. The Mayor of Seoul, Gun Go, visited the Netherlands in 1999 and the Minister of Environment, Myeong-ja Kim, visited in 2000.
Dutch semi-conductor manufacturing equipment and organic chemicals valued at US$ 1.17 billion were imported by Korea while computer related machinery and tools, mobile phones, construction equipment, etc. worth US$ 2.66 billion were exported to the Netherlands from Korea in 2000. The Netherlands was the 13th largest importer of Korean goods, the 3rd largest in Europe only after the U.K. Moreover, their investment amount in Korea ranked larger than any other nations except U.S. and Japan. Korean Immigrants and expatriates numbered 1,171 in 2001. The Netherlands established formal diplomatic relations with North Korea in January 2001.