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Netherlands Country Information

 
Netherlands
Flag of Netherlands
Map of Netherlands
Introduction Netherlands
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
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
contiguous zone: 24 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)
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:
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
Population:
16,645,313 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.6% (male 1,496,348/female 1,427,297)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 5,705,003/female 5,583,787)
65 years and over: 14.6% (male 1,040,932/female 1,391,946) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 40 years
male: 39.2 years
female: 40.9 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.436% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
10.53 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
8.71 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 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: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.81 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.34 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.25 years
male: 76.66 years
female: 81.98 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
19,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
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.)
Religions:
Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006)
Languages:
Dutch (official), Frisian (official)
Literacy:
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
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 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
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: 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 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 [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]; 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:
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, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, 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, [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
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 continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the five largest investors in the US. The economy experienced a slowdown in 2005 but in 2006 recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment. The pace of job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$645.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$768.7 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$39,000 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 24.4%
services: 73.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
7.604 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 21%
services: 76% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
4.6% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
10.5% (2005)
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):
1.6% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
20% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $359.5 billion
expenditures: $356.5 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
45.5% of GDP (2007 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:
3.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
94.34 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 89.9%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 4.3%
other: 5.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
108.2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
5.398 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
23.69 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
76,000 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - consumption:
1.011 million bbl/day (2006)
Oil - exports:
1.546 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
2.465 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
106 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
77.3 billion cu m (2006)
Natural gas - consumption:
47.8 billion cu m (2006)
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:
$47.31 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:
$456.8 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Germany 24.4%, Belgium 13.5%, UK 9.1%, France 8.5%, Italy 5%, US 4.4% (2007)
Imports:
$406.3 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partners:
Germany 17.6%, China 10.5%, Belgium 9.3%, US 7.3%, UK 5.8%, Russia 5%, France 4.4% (2007)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $5.452 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$26.98 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.277 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$673.4 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$851.3 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$924.4 billion (November 2007)
Currency (code):
euro (EUR)
Currency code:
EUR
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Netherlands
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; 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; 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 (2004)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 246, shortwave 3 (2004)
Radios:
15.3 million (1996)
Television broadcast stations:
21 (plus 26 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
8.1 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.nl
Internet hosts:
11.17 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
52 (2000)
Internet users:
15 million (2007)
Transportation Netherlands
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 7,394 km; oil 578 km; refined products 716 km (2007)
Railways:
total: 2,797 km
standard gauge: 2,797 km 1.435-m gauge (2,064 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:
total: 134,981 km (includes 2,604 km of expressways) (2006)
Waterways:
6,211 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 601 ships (1000 GRT or over) 5,408,154 GRT/5,526,611 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 10, cargo 371, carrier 19, chemical tanker 42, container 67, liquefied gas 15, passenger 14, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 11, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 23, specialized tanker 4
foreign-owned: 188 (Belgium 2, Canada 1, Denmark 27, Finland 14, France 1, Germany 72, Ireland 11, Italy 1, Norway 9, South Korea 1, Sweden 27, Turkey 1, UAE 5, UK 3, US 13)
registered in other countries: 239 (Antigua and Barbuda 21, Australia 2, Austria 2, Bahamas 21, Cambodia 1, Canada 1, Cook Islands 1, Cyprus 21, Germany 1, Gibraltar 18, Isle of Man 1, Liberia 35, Luxembourg 2, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 8, Netherlands Antilles 57, Norway 1, Panama 12, Paraguay 1, Philippines 23, Portugal 1, St Vincent and the Grenadines 4, US 1, unknown 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen
Military Netherlands
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: 3,233,773
females age 16-49: 3,150,790 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 105,735
female: 100,747 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Netherlands
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 2 October, 2008


 

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