Sri Lanka and The Netherlands have had relationships for over 400 years. The relations between two countries in respect of educational aspects, commenced after the establishment of the Netherlands Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC) in 1952. The NUFFIC coordinated training and higher education facilities in The Netherlands along with Government of The Netherlands. During the last six decades, a large number of Sri Lankans was able to obtain higher education in different disciplines in The Netherlands through the assistance of the NUFFIC and the Government of The Netherlands. This training has proved extremely useful in the diversified national development programmes of Sri Lanka. Many of these alumni occupy very high positions in State and Private Sector organizations in Sri Lanka.
Fourteen Alumni who had followed different higher educational programmes in The Netherlands gathered in Colombo on 21st December 1970 and established an organization called the Netherlands Alumni Association of Lanka, commonly referred to as NAAL. The concept of the Netherlands Alumni Associations was mooted by then Director of NUFFIC, Drs. Evert Jongens who has over the decades been a true friend of Sri Lanka in the fullest sense of term “friend”.
This organization has been registered as a Guarantee Limited (non-profit organization) under the Department of Registrar of Companies in Sri Lanka.. Members have to pay an annual subscription and are eligible to obtain Life Membership after two years as a member. NAAL is recognized by the Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands, NUFFIC, several municipalities in the Netheralands and other institutions such as the Federation of the Municipalities in The Netherlands (VNG) and other Alumni Associations in the world. It is governed by an Executive Committee elected at the Annual General meeting. One of the objectives of NAAL is to promote relations between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. NAAL Executive Committee implements a number of programmes with the assistance from City of Velsen and other Dutch private donors. One of the initial coordinating roles of NAAL was the implementation of the Galle –Velsen Twinning Program. 1976 was a land mark year for both Galle and Velsen as this Dutch Municipality commemorated the 100th anniversary of North Sea Canal along with a Sri Lanka week in Velsen with the initiative of Drs. Evert Jongens, the founder of Stiching Netherlands. In the same year Galle was looking for a friendly city in the Netherlands and on 13th November 1976 a new Chapter of the Two cities, Galle in Sri Lanka and Velsen in The Netherlands was opened up.
Promote fellowship and goodwill among its members
Liaise with Institutions in The Netherlands and disseminate technological programs
Advice and assist prospective Sri Lankan participants of study programmes in the Netherlands before departure
Promote or participate in social and cultural development projects in collaboration with Dutch Universities,institutions, and non-governmental organizations.
Work for the general welfare of members