Introduction    Netherlands Top of Page
The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU), and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999.
   Geography    Netherlands Top of Page
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
Geographic coordinates:
52 30 N, 5 45 E
Map references:
total: 41,526 sq km
land: 33,883 sq km
water: 7,643 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Land boundaries:
total: 1,027 km
border countries: Belgium 450 km, Germany 577 km
451 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters
mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m
highest point: Vaalserberg 322 m
Natural resources:
natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 21.96%
permanent crops: 0.77%
other: 77.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:
5,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
89.7 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 8.86 cu km/yr (6%/60%/34%)
per capita: 544 cu m/yr (2001)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; acid rain
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Geography - note:
located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)
   People    Netherlands Top of Page
16,715,999 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.4% (male 1,485,873/female 1,416,999)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 5,720,387/female 5,604,014)
65 years and over: 14.9% (male 1,070,496/female 1,418,230) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.4 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 41.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.412% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
10.53 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
8.71 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.73 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.4 years
male: 76.8 years
female: 82.14 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
18,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2007 est.)
noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)
adjective: Dutch
Ethnic groups:
Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Netherlands Antilles & Aruba 0.8%, other 4.8% (2008 est.)
Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006)
Dutch (official), Frisian (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 17 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
5.3% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Netherlands Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
name: Amsterdam
geographic coordinates: 52 23 N, 4 54 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: The Hague is the seat of government; time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, not to the Caribbean components
Administrative divisions:
12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland (Fryslan), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant (North Brabant), Noord-Holland (North Holland), Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland (Zealand), Zuid-Holland (South Holland)
Dependent areas:
Aruba, Netherlands Antilles
23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581 they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)
National holiday:
Queen's Day (Birthday of Queen-Mother JULIANA and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX), 30 April (1909 and 1980)
adopted 1815; amended many times, most recently in 2002
Legal system:
based on civil law system incorporating French penal theory; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), son of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Jan Peter BALKENENDE (since 22 July 2002); Deputy Prime Ministers Wouter BOS (since 22 February 2007) and Andre ROUVOET (since 22 February 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch
note: there is also a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councilors that provides consultations to the cabinet on legislative and administrative policy
Legislative branch:
bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils to serve four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held 29 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2011); Second Chamber - last held 22 November 2006 (next to be held by early 2011)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CDA 21, PvdA 14, VVD 14, Socialist Party 11, Christian Union 4, Green Left Party 4, D66 2, other 5; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - CDA 26.5%, PvdA 21.2%, Socialist Party 16.6%, VVD 14.6%, Party for Freedom 5.9%, Green Party 4.6%, Christian Union 4.0%, other 6.6%; seats by party - CDA 41, PvdA 33, Socialist Party 25, VVD 22, Party for Freedom 9, Green Party 7, Christian Union 6, other 7
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (justices are nominated for life by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Pieter VAN GEEL]; Christian Union Party [Arie SLOB]; Democrats 66 or D66 [Alexander PECHTOLD]; Green Left Party [Femke HALSEMA]; Labor Party or PvdA [Mariette HAMER]; Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]; Party for the Animals or PvdD [Marianne THIEME]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Mark RUTTE]; Reformed Political Party of SGP [Bas VAN DER VLIES]; Socialist Party [Agnes KANT]; plus a few minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Christian Trade Union Federation or CNV [Rene PAAS]; Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers or VNO-NCW [Bernard WIENTJES]; Federation for Small and Medium-sized businesses or MKB [Loek HERMANS]; Netherlands Trade Union Federation or FNV [Agnes JONGERIUS]; Social Economic Council or SER [Alexander RINNOOY KAN]; Trade Union Federation of Middle and High Personnel or MHP [Ad VERHOEVEN]
International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Regina "Renee" JONES-BOS
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300, [1] 877-388-2443
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Michael GALLAGHER
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: [31] (70) 310-2209
FAX: [31] (70) 361-4688
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; one of the oldest flags in constant use, originating with WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, in the latter half of the 16th century
   Economy    Netherlands Top of Page
Economy - overview:
The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade. The economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs no more than 3% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. The country has been one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the four largest investors in the US. The pace of job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007, but economic growth fell sharply in 2008 as fallout from the world financial crisis constricted demand and raised the specter of a recession in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$687.5 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$909.5 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.1% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$41,300 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 24.4%
services: 73.6% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
7.75 million (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 18%
services: 80% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
4.5% (2008 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 22.9% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
30.9 (2007)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
revenues: $408.5 billion
expenditures: $398.8 billion (2008 est.)
Public debt:
43% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8.72% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the Euro Area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
Stock of quasi money:
Stock of domestic credit:
$1.876 trillion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$456.2 billion (31 December 2008)
Agriculture - products:
grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock
agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
2.1% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:
105.2 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - consumption:
122.8 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - exports:
5.48 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - imports:
23.09 billion kWh (2007)
Oil - production:
88,950 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
984,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.639 million bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:
2.648 million bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
100 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production:
76.33 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
46.42 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
55.66 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
25.73 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.416 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance:
$47 billion (2008 est.)
$537.5 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Germany 24.4%, Belgium 13.6%, UK 9.1%, France 8.5%, Italy 5.1%, US 4.3% (2007)
$485.3 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partners:
Germany 17.7%, China 10.5%, Belgium 9.3%, US 7.3%, UK 5.8%, Russia 5.1%, France 4.4% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$24.28 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.277 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$726.9 billion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$872.5 billion (2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6734 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)
   Communications    Netherlands Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
7.334 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
17.3 million (2006)
Telephone system:
general assessment: highly developed and well maintained
domestic: extensive fixed-line fiber-optic network; large cellular telephone system with 5 major operators utilizing the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology; one in five households now use Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
international: country code - 31; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 5 (3 Intelsat - 1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (2007)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 567, shortwave 1 (2008)
Television broadcast stations:
342 (2008)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
10.983 million (2008)
Internet users:
15 million (2007)
   Transportation    Netherlands Top of Page
27 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 20
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2007)
1 (2007)
gas 3,816 km; oil 365 km; refined products 716 km (2008)
total: 2,801 km
standard gauge: 2,801 km 1.435-m gauge (2,064 km electrified) (2007)
total: 135,470 km (includes 2,582 km of expressways) (2007)
6,215 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2007)
Merchant marine:
total: 622
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 381, carrier 19, chemical tanker 44, container 76, liquefied gas 15, passenger 16, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 11, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 23, specialized tanker 3
foreign-owned: 203 (Belgium 2, Cyprus 8, Denmark 29, Finland 14, France 1, Germany 75, Ireland 10, Italy 1, South Korea 1, Norway 12, Sweden 28, Turkey 1, UAE 5, UK 2, US 14)
registered in other countries: 178 (Antigua and Barbuda 20, Australia 2, Austria 2, Bahamas 9, Cambodia 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 22, Germany 1, Gibraltar 21, Isle of Man 1, Liberia 6, Luxembourg 2, Marshall Islands 8, Netherlands Antilles 38, Panama 14, Paraguay 1, Philippines 23, Portugal 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, US 1, unknown 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen
   Military    Netherlands Top of Page
Military branches:
Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht, KLu), Royal Military Police (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,950,825
females age 16-49: 3,850,800 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,224,790
females age 16-49: 3,143,096 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 105,194
female: 100,341 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Netherlands Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
major European producer of synthetic drugs, including ecstasy, and cannabis cultivator; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy; large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering; significant consumer of ecstasy

This page was last updated on 19 March 2009


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nam facilisis. Morbi aliquet massa quis turpis. Aenean nonummy, mauris non aliquet commodo, nisi lacus facilisis ipsum, id bibendum turpis purus vitae sem.


Another thing

Third and last