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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
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
Population:
16,491,461 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (male 1,515,123/female 1,445,390)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 5,656,448/female 5,525,481)
65 years and over: 14.2% (male 994,723/female 1,354,296) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.4 years
male: 38.6 years
female: 40.2 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.49% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
10.9 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
8.68 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.96 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.52 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.96 years
male: 76.39 years
female: 81.67 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2006 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
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, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-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 in 1909 and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX in 1980), 30 April
Constitution:
adopted 1815; amended many times, most recently in 2002
Legal system:
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) and Deputy Prime Ministers Gerrit ZALM (since 27 May 2003) and Laurens Jan BRINKHORST (since 31 March 2005); note - Prime Minister BALKENENDE tendered his resignation on 30 June 2006
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; vice 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 for 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 May 2007); Second Chamber - last held 22 January 2003 (next to be held 22 November 2006)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CDA 23, PvdA 19, VVD 15, Green Party 5, Socialist Party 4, D66 3, other 6; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - CDA 28.6%, PvdA 27.3%, VVD 12.9%, Socialist Party 6.3%, List Pim Fortuyn 5.7%, Green Party 5.1%, D66 4.1%; seats by party - CDA 44, PvdA 42, VVD 28, Socialist Party 9, List Pim Fortuyn 8, Green Party 8, D66 6, other 5
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (justices are nominated for life by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Maxime Jacques Marcel VERHAGEN]; Christian Union Party [Andre ROUVOET]; Democrats 66 or D66 [Lousewies VAN DER LAAN]; Green Party [Femke HALSEMA]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wouter BOS]; List Pim Fortuyn [Ton VAN DILLEN]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Mark RUTTE]; 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, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, ONUB, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Boudewijn J. VAN EENENNAAM
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
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
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 2001-05, 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):
$499.8 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$581.3 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.1% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$30,500 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 24.4%
services: 73.6% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
7.53 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
6.6% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA%
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):
1.7% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
19.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $291.8 billion
expenditures: $303.7 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
52.7% of GDP (2005 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:
-1.4% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
95 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 89.9%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 4.3%
other: 5.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
101.6 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
3.8 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
20.8 billion kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
94,870 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - consumption:
920,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.418 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
2.284 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
88.06 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
73.13 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
50.4 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
49.28 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
20.78 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.756 trillion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
$39.95 billion (2005 est.)
Exports:
$365.1 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Germany 25%, Belgium 12.4%, France 9.5%, UK 9.2%, Italy 5.7%, US 4.3%, Spain 4.1% (2005)
Imports:
$326.6 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partners:
Germany 16.8%, Belgium 9.4%, China 9%, US 7.8%, UK 5.8%, France 4.6% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$20.54 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.645 trillion (30 June 2005)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $4 billion (2003 est.)
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
Currency code:
EUR
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Netherlands
Telephones - main lines in use:
7.861 million (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
14.8 million (2004)
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 five 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)
Radios:
15.3 million (1996)
Television broadcast stations:
21 (plus 26 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
8.1 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.nl
Internet hosts:
6,781,729 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
52 (2000)
Internet users:
10,806,328 (2004)
Transportation Netherlands
Airports:
27 (2006)
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 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2006)
Heliports:
1 (2006)
Pipelines:
condensate 325 km; gas 6,998 km; oil 590 km; refined products 716 km (2004)
Railways:
total: 2,808 km
standard gauge: 2,808 km 1.435-m gauge (2,061 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 134,000 km (including 3,270 km of expressways) (2004)
Waterways:
6,183 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 563 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,925,489 GRT/5,052,931 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 366, chemical tanker 31, container 54, liquefied gas 12, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 14, petroleum tanker 14, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 16, specialized tanker 3
foreign-owned: 152 (Australia 1, Belgium 2, Denmark 9, Finland 9, Germany 58, Ireland 13, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 6, Sweden 21, UK 21, US 11)
registered in other countries: 222 (Antigua and Barbuda 10, Australia 2, Austria 2, The Bahamas 25, Bermuda 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 18, Isle of Man 2, Liberia 13, Luxembourg 3, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 5, Netherlands Antilles 69, Norway 3, Panama 26, Philippines 20, Portugal 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7, Singapore 1, Turkey 1, UK 2, US 4, unknown 1) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Amsterdam, Groningen, IJmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen, Zaanstad
Military Netherlands
Military branches:
Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes naval air and marine corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht or KLu), Royal Military Police, Defense Interservice Command (DICO) (2004)
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 - dollar figure:
$9.408 billion (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.6% (2004)
Transnational Issues Netherlands
Disputes - international:
none
Illicit drugs:
major European producer of ecstasy, illicit amphetamines, and other synthetic drugs; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy; large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006