Frans Timmermans began his career in 1987 as an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. After taking part in the induction course for diplomats, he worked as a policy officer in the ministry's European Integration Department from 1988 to 1990, before joining the Dutch embassy in Moscow as Second Embassy Secretary.

After a brief period back in The Hague as deputy head of the Ministry for Development Cooperation's European Affairs Section, Mr Timmermans became a member of the staff of European Commissioner Hans van de Broek. He later became adviser and private secretary to Max van der Stoel, the High Commissioner on National Minorities for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

From 1998 he was a member of the House of Representatives for the Labour Party (PvdA). In that capacity, he dealt principally with foreign affairs. He was chair of the Permanent Committee on Economic Affairs and represented the House of Representatives in the European Convention.

In the fourth Balkenende government, from February 2007 to February 2010, Mr Timmermans was Minister for European Affairs. After the fall of that government he returned to the House as the PvdA's spokesperson on foreign policy.

On 5 November 2012 Mr Timmermans was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Rutte-Asscher government.

Since 1 November 2014, Mr Timmermans is the European Commission’s First Vice-President, responsible for better regulation, inter-institutional relations, the rule of law and the Charter of fundamental rights.