Scotland has offices in key locations around the world that work to promote Scottish interests overseas and strengthen our relationships with key countries and continents.
Scotland not only prides itself on being a good global citizen, we like to think we’re a good friend too – you know, the kind of country that no event is complete without inviting! From ancient and historical links to blossoming new connections, today Scotland maintains strong and lasting relationships with countries all across the globe.
Complementing these ongoing relationships are a group of eight international offices situated in key locations around the world: Belgium, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Ireland & the USA. These offices play a critical role in supporting Scotland’s international collaboration, which not only delivers economic benefits but also helps address societal and global challenges.
Although the scale, scope and focus of our international network varies depending on location, each of the offices are dedicated to:
Find out more about our international hubs below.
Located in the heart of the EU quarter and known as Scotland House Brussels, our Belgium office has promoted Scottish interests and engaged with EU institutions, Member States and other European actors for more than 20 years - ensuring Scotland’s voice is heard. The office promotes Scotland’s expertise across a diverse range of policy areas such as Research & Innovation, Renewables, Equalities and other key topics, as well as showcasing Scotland’s reputation for cultural excellence and renowned food, drink and hospitality.
The office is also dedicated to maintaining a close working relationship with the EU, its Member States, representations from other countries and their regions to understand and influence EU policy and programme developments, that affect Scotland’s citizens, organisations and economy.
Canada is a like-minded partner for Scotland on a whole range of policy areas – including climate change, equality, social enterprise and the arctic. Our team, based in Ottawa, work alongside colleagues from Scottish Development International and Visit Scotland to promote the very best of Scotland to a Canadian audience as a location to work, visit, and study and invest. Canada holds an affinity with Scotland that is uniquely strong and more than 5 million Canadians claim Scottish ancestry.
Scottish goods and services are in high demand throughout Canada – especially our food and drink, with the country listed as one of the top 15 export destinations for Scotland. It is also a great source of international study tourism into Scotland, with 115,000 Canadian visitors each year and 1,000 Canadian students studying in Scotland’s universities.
Scotland and China have a long history of friendship and co-operation across everything from academia to cultural and tourism exchanges as well as business and trade links. Situated in Beijing, the Scottish Affairs team works to promote and strengthen these ties between our two countries and today people in both countries benefit from a partnership that fosters the exchange of knowledge and resources.
In recent years, Scotland has seen major investments from China in industries such as oil and gas, textiles and engineering and we have been collaborating on research into fields such as renewable energy and technologies. On top of this, a unique symbol of our friendship can be found at Edinburgh Zoo – which houses the only pair of Chinese giant pandas in the entire UK.
The ties between Scotland and France stretch back many centuries, with the Auld Alliance, or ‘Vieille Alliance’ as it is known in France, first agreed way back in 1295. Though the terms of this alliance have changed many times throughout history, this connection remains just as solid today as it ever has been.
Opened in 2018, the Paris office helps to increase Scotland’s influence and engagement with France. It does this by building on existing trade and investment activity and promoting strong links between French and Scottish businesses, academia and other organisations. The office also works to identify innovation-focussed opportunities in France, and encourages more collaboration between business, research, education and cultural institutions.
The German office, based in Berlin, was established in 2018, but connections between the two countries date back to the times of William Wallace in the 13th century. Wallace sent a letter to the mayors of Lübeck and Hamburg in 1297 to build trade relationships between Scotland and the two cities, calling them “his beloved friends”. This carried into the modern day, when Munich became Edinburgh's first twin city, followed by Glasgow with Nuremburg, and Inverness and Augsburg.
Today, Germany is one of Scotland’s top five export destinations, is the 3rd largest inward investor and offers significant opportunities for exchange and collaboration in areas such as innovation, manufacturing, energy and climate change. Germany is also Scotland's biggest partner in Europe for academic research collaboration – 18 Scottish universities have 98 unique links with German Higher Education Institutes.
Our Celtic neighbours to the west, connections between Scotland and Ireland go back many centuries and the two countries are inextricably linked. Launched in 2016, Dublin was Scotland’s first innovation and investment hub – serving as Scotland’s representation throughout Ireland. The Dublin office provides dedicated support for building on the many pre-existing links between our two countries – promoting trade and investment, strengthening government-to-government relations and enabling greater collaboration on economic, academic and innovation projects.
The Dublin hub works across a range of sectors, including financial services, creative arts, culture and heritage, and renewable energy and energy efficiency. On top of this, it also links up Scottish and Irish businesses that might be interested in events or opportunities in either country.
Our London Innovation and Investment Hub – named Scotland House London – operates as a collaborative project between the Scottish Government, our enterprise agencies and VisitScotland. Scotland House provides a permanent presence in London from which to pursue economic and business opportunities, raise the profile of Scottish investment opportunities and help protect Scotland's place in Europe.
As well as this, the hub also supports the development of international collaborations and research partnerships, provides for a platform from which to access innovation and research funding and helps strengthen inter-governmental relations. Scottish businesses and organisations can also become members of Scotland House London, giving them access to our facilities, meeting rooms, event space and community.
Based in the British Embassy in Washington DC, the Scottish Affairs Office in the USA was established in 2001 with the aim of promoting Scotland’s interests through political, cultural and economic diplomacy. The office looks to build on these connections by deepening links across diaspora, promoting a strong cultural relationship and cultural exchange opportunities and highlighting excellence in higher education.
Today more than 5 million Americans claim Scottish ancestry and the US is Scotland’s largest overseas market as well as the largest source of foreign investment. On top of this, US students account for the second largest overseas group in Scotland and we welcome hundreds of thousands of American visitors every year.