Europe :: Netherlands
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Netherlands
Location of Netherlands
 
Map of Netherlands
Introduction ::Netherlands
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
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
52 30 N, 5 45 E
total: 41,543 sq km
country comparison to the world: 134
land: 33,893 sq km
water: 7,650 sq km
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
total: 1,027 km
border countries: Belgium 450 km, Germany 577 km
451 km
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
lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m
highest point: Vaalserberg 322 m
natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land
arable land: 21.96%
permanent crops: 0.77%
other: 77.27% (2005)
5,650 sq km (2003)
89.7 cu km (2005)
total: 8.86 cu km/yr (6%/60%/34%)
per capita: 544 cu m/yr (2001)
flooding
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
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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)
People ::Netherlands
16,715,999 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
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.)
total: 40.4 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 41.2 years (2009 est.)
0.412% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
10.4 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
8.74 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
2.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
urban population: 82% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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.)
total: 4.73 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 198
male: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 79.4 years
country comparison to the world: 30
male: 76.8 years
female: 82.14 years (2009 est.)
1.66 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
0.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
18,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
fewer than 200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)
adjective: Dutch
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.)
total: 16 years
male: 17 years
female: 16 years (2006)
5.3% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 58
Government ::Netherlands
conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland
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
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)
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)
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
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
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
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
Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (justices are nominated for life by the monarch)
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
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]
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), 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
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
consulate(s): Boston
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
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; the colors were those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century; originally the upper band was orange, but because it tended to fade to red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color; the banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use
Economy ::Netherlands
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.
$672 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
$658.8 billion (2007 est.)
$635.9 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$868.9 billion (2008 est.)
2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
3.6% (2007 est.)
3.4% (2006 est.)
$40,400 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
$39,800 (2007 est.)
$38,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 1.7%
industry: 25.5%
services: 72.9% (2008 est.)
7.715 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
agriculture: 2%
industry: 18%
services: 80% (2005 est.)
4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
4.6% (2007 est.)
10.5% (2005)
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 22.9% (1999)
30.9 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 108
32.6 (1994)
20.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
revenues: $405.9 billion
expenditures: $397.3 billion (2008 est.)
58.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
55.8% of GDP (2004 est.)
2.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
1.6% (2007 est.)
3% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 106
5% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 96
8.72% (31 December 2007)
$NA
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
$NA
$1.616 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 11
$1.684 trillion (31 December 2007)
$456.2 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 18
$956.5 billion (31 December 2007)
$779.6 billion (31 December 2006)
grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock
agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
2.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
97.19 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
110.2 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
9.28 billion kWh (2008 est.)
25.01 billion kWh (2008 est.)
72,090 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
962,900 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
1.647 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
2.678 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
100 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
84.69 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
48.34 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
61.72 billion cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 4
25.34 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
1.416 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$65.67 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$59.51 billion (2007 est.)
$533.2 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$461 billion (2007 est.)
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Germany 25.2%, Belgium 14.6%, UK 8.9%, France 8.4%, Italy 4.6% (2008)
$475.9 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$406.2 billion (2007 est.)
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Germany 17%, China 10.3%, Belgium 9%, US 7.6%, UK 5.8%, Russia 5.2%, France 4.5% (2008)
$28.51 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$26.98 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$2.47 trillion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
$2.59 trillion (31 December 2007)
$644.6 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
$724.1 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$843.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
$876.9 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)
Communications ::Netherlands
7.324 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 25
19.927 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 39
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)
AM 4, FM 567, shortwave 1 (2008)
342 (2008)
.nl
12.388 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 9
14.273 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 26
Transportation ::Netherlands
27 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 124
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: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2009)
1 (2009)
gas 3,816 km; oil 365 km; refined products 716 km (2008)
total: 2,811 km
country comparison to the world: 57
standard gauge: 2,811 km 1.435-m gauge (2,064 km electrified) (2008)
total: 135,470 km (includes 2,582 km of expressways) (2007)
country comparison to the world: 35
6,215 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2007)
country comparison to the world: 22
total: 622
country comparison to the world: 18
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)
Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen
Military ::Netherlands
Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht, KLu), Royal Military Police (2009)
20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)
males age 16-49: 3,950,825
females age 16-49: 3,850,800 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 3,224,790
females age 16-49: 3,143,096 (2009 est.)
male: 105,194
female: 100,341 (2009 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
Transnational Issues ::Netherlands
none
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