Since the 1990s, the demand for consular services has expanded enormously, together with citizens' high expectations and increased demands for quality. Combined with greater visibility through the arrival of new media and growing public interest in politics, this requires much flexibility from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In spite of increased cooperation among European partners in a number of fields, one central 'European consular service' will not materialize for the time being, because consular affairs are still very much interwoven with domestic politics. This article highlights the most important trends and developments in consular services of the last twenty years. On the basis of a number of cases, the authors indicate how the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to these trends and developments. The Ministry's aim is to maintain high standards and to improve where necessary, through major investments in new instruments, improved public information, continuous staff training and more intensive cooperation with civil society organizations.