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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Netherlands



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Netherlands Top of Page
Background:

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
Location:

Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
Geographic coordinates:

52 30 N, 5 45 E
Map references:

Europe
Area:

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
Coastline:

451 km
Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:

temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters
Terrain:

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)
Natural hazards:

flooding
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
Population:

16,570,613 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 17.8% (male 1,505,931/female 1,436,532)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 5,683,877/female 5,557,745)
65 years and over: 14.4% (male 1,015,731/female 1,370,797) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 39.7 years
male: 38.9 years
female: 40.5 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

0.464% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

10.7 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

8.69 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

2.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.023 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.741 male(s)/female
total population: 0.981 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.88 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 79.11 years
male: 76.52 years
female: 81.82 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

1.66 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

19,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)
adjective: Dutch
Ethnic groups:

Dutch 83%, other 17% (of which 9% are non-Western origin mainly Turks, Moroccans, Antilleans, Surinamese, and Indonesians) (1999 est.)
Religions:

Roman Catholic 31%, Dutch Reformed 13%, Calvinist 7%, Muslim 5.5%, other 2.5%, none 41% (2002)
Languages:

Dutch (official), Frisian (official)
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
   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
Capital:

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 (seat of government)
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, Zuid-Holland (South Holland)
Dependent areas:

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles
Independence:

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)
Constitution:

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
Suffrage:

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: none; 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 directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held 25 May 2003 (next to be held in May 2007); 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 23, PvdA 19, VVD 15, Green Left Party 5, Socialist Party 4, D66 3, other 6; 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 [Jan Peter BALKENENDE]; Christian Union Party [Andre ROUVOET]; Democrats 66 or D66 [Alexander PECHTOLD]; Green Left Party [Femke HALSEMA]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wouter BOS]; List Pim Fortuyn [Olaf STUGER]; 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 [Jan MARIJNISSEN]; plus a few minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:

Netherlands Trade Union Federation or FNV (consisting of a merger of Socialist and Catholic trade unions); Christian Trade Union Federation or CNV; Trade Union Federation of Middle and High Personnel or MHP; Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations; Interchurch Peace Council or IKV; large multinational firms; the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises
International organization participation:

AfDB, Arctic Council (observer), AsDB, 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, MONUC, 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, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Christiaan Mark Johan KROENER
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
consulate(s): Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Roland E. ARNALL
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 2% 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 continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment. Economic growth slowed considerably in 2001-06, as part of the global economic slowdown, but for the four years before that, annual growth averaged nearly 4%, well above the EU average.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$529.6 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$613.3 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

3% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$32,100 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 2.2%
industry: 24.1%
services: 73.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

7.49 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 2%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:

5.5% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

10.5% (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 22.9% (1999)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

30.9 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.1% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

19.7% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $317.1 billion
expenditures: $313.1 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:

49.4% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock
Industries:

agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:

2.3% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:

94.34 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

108.2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

5.398 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

23.69 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

95,800 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption:

946,700 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:

1.546 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:

2.465 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:

106 million bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas - production:

75.58 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

47.46 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:

50.21 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:

22.08 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.684 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:

$57.52 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$391.1 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Exports - partners:

Germany 25.5%, Belgium 14%, UK 8.9%, France 8.6%, Italy 5.1%, US 4.5% (2006)
Imports:

$343 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partners:

Germany 17.1%, Belgium 9.4%, China 9.4%, US 7.8%, UK 5.9%, Russia 5.1%, France 4.5% (2006)
Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $4 billion (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$23.9 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$1.899 trillion (30 June 2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$450.9 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$652.3 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$727.5 billion (2005)
Currency (code):

euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Exchange rates:

euros per US dollar - 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
Fiscal year:

calendar year
   Communications    Netherlands Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

7.6 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

15.834 million (2005)
Telephone system:

general assessment: highly developed and well maintained
domestic: extensive fixed-line fiber-optic network; cellular telephone system is one of the largest in Europe with 5 major network operators utilizing the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)
international: country code - 31; 9 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2004)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 4, FM 246, shortwave 3 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:

21 (plus 26 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:

.nl
Internet hosts:

11.17 million (2007)
Internet users:

14.544 million (2006)
   Transportation    Netherlands Top of Page
Airports:

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)
Heliports:

1 (2007)
Pipelines:

condensate 81 km; gas 7,229 km; oil 578 km; refined products 716 km (2006)
Railways:

total: 2,811 km
standard gauge: 2,811 km 1.435-m gauge (2,064 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:

total: 134,000 km (includes 3,270 km of expressways) (2004)
Waterways:

6,183 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2005)
Merchant marine:

total: 566 ships (1000 GRT or over) 5,210,664 GRT/5,217,874 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 346, carrier 19, chemical tanker 39, container 63, liquefied gas 13, passenger 14, passenger/cargo 16, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 11, roll on/roll off 20, specialized tanker 4
foreign-owned: 172 (Belgium 2, Denmark 19, Finland 14, France 1, Germany 70, Ireland 9, South Korea 1, Norway 9, Sweden 27, UK 7, US 13)
registered in other countries: 220 (Antigua and Barbuda 19, Australia 2, Austria 2, Bahamas 24, Canada 1, Cyprus 23, Gibraltar 11, Isle of Man 1, Liberia 28, Luxembourg 1, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 5, Netherlands Antilles 53, Norway 1, Panama 14, Paraguay 1, Philippines 22, Portugal 1, St Vincent and The Grenadines 5, UK 2, US 1, unknown 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Amsterdam, Groningen, IJmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen, Zaanstad
   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, Defense Interservice Command (DICO) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:

20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 20-49: 3,557,918
females age 20-49: 3,470,377 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 20-49: 2,856,691
females age 20-49: 2,786,495 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 99,934
females age 20-49: 95,818 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

1.6% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Netherlands Top of Page
Disputes - international:

none
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 15 November, 2007


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