Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Area: 41 543 sq km
Population: 17 181 084 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 413.57 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 54° - 51° N; long. 3° - 7° E
Capital: Amsterdam (capital) 854 047 inhab. (2017); Amsterdam 1 357 675 inhab. (2014), urban agglomeration; The Hague=’s-Gravenhage (seat of government) 532 561 inhab. (2017); The Hague 1 054 793 inhab. (2014), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.931 (rank: 10)
Sovereign: King Willem-Alexander, since 30 April 2013
Prime Minister: Mark Rutte (VVD), in office since 14 October 2010, re-elected 26 October 2017
Dutch House of Representatives: seats based on the elections of 15 March 2017: VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, liberal), 33; PVV (Party for Freedom, populist xenophobic), 20; CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal), 19; D66 (Democrats 66, progressive liberal), 19; GL (Green Left), 14; SP (Socialist Party), 14; PvdA (Labour Party), 9; others, 22
Internet: www.cbs.nl (Statistics Netherlands)
Member of Benelux, Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code NL
International dialling code 0031
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .nl
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Amsterdam 9.7
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Amsterdam 2.5/17
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Amsterdam 7/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Amsterdam 780
Days of rainfall (annual average) Amsterdam 127
Politics and current affairs
The European elections on 23 May 2019 were a turning point in the country’s politics due to the surprising affirmation of the traditional pro-European parties. The Labour Party won with 19% of the votes, while the liberals, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD), came in second (14.4%). The results were worse than expected for the Eurosceptics, whose historic leader, Geert Wilders, was defeated by the new political party Forum for Democracy (10%).
The Netherlands is bordered to the east by Germany, to the south by Belgium, and to the north and west by the North Sea. With the exception of the Ardennes hills in the southernmost province of Limburg, the Netherlands is a vast low-lying plain protected along its coast by a major system of sea-barriers, embankments and canals. The country’s largest river is the Rhine. The climate is maritime with abundant rainfall. The Bonaire Islands, which lie opposite the coast of Venezuela, are also part of the Netherlands, together with Sint Eustatius and Saba in the Lesser Antilles.
Formerly the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (from 1581) and an independent kingdom (from 1830), the country has been alternately governed since 1950 by the Christian-Democratic and Labour parties, often at the head of centre-left or centre-right coalitions. Under the Constitution of 17 February 1983, legislative power resides with the Crown and the Parliament (States-General) comprising two chambers elected with four-year mandates: the House of Representatives or Lower House (150 directly-elected members) and the Senate (75 members elected by provincial assemblies).
In 2014 the Netherlands joined with other countries in the fight to limit the power of ISIS in Iraq.
The judicial system is largely based on that of France, and has steadily worked to extend the civil rights of citizens. Same-sex marriages were legalized in 2000, and euthanasia in 2001.
|Amsterdam||1 357 675||inhab.||2014|
|Rotterdam||1 181 284||inhab.||2014|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2018)|
The population density is one of the highest in Western Europe. The number of immigrants exceeds that of emigrants, but large numbers of Dutch people continue to migrate.
|Foreigners, total||2 079 329||units||2018|
|Dutch (Netherlandic) (official)|
Following the positive results recorded in 2018 (+2.5%), economic growth should slow to under 2% owing to international tensions and a drop in internal demand. Employment remains strong, however.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||117.81||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||76 639||M US$||2018|
|Active population||9 148 400||units||2018|
|Active population, Females||46.6||%||2018|
|Unemployment rate, Females||48.3||%||2018|
|Expenses||197 337||M LCU||2018|
|Revenues||202 723||M LCU||2018|
|Currency in circulation||65.03||BN LCU||2018|
|International reserves||38 431.7||M US$||2018|
Cereals account for half of all arable land. Potatoes, sugar beet, market gardening and flower-growing are also important.
Livestock and fishing.
Almost half the added value of the primary sector comes from livestock farming (mainly cattle and pigs) which produces meat and dairy products, especially cheeses, which are widely exported. There is a modern, well developed fishing industry. Herring is the most important product, with its main processing and smoking centre at Vlaardingen. Oyster fishing is active in Zealand. The main fishing ports are Scheveningen, Katwijk, Vlaardingen and IJmuiden.
|cereals, total||1 393.51||1000 t||2017|
|potatoes||7 391.881||1000 t||2017|
|roots and tubers, total||7 391.881||1000 t||2017|
|beans, dry||4.648||1000 t||2017|
|beans, green||39.2||1000 t||2017|
|sugar beet||7 924.267||1000 t||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||10.224||1000 t||2017|
|hemp tow waste||9.539||1000 t||2017|
|carrots and turnips||9.498||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, dry||1.347||1000 ha||2017|
|beans, green||3.291||1000 ha||2017|
|sugar beet||85.347||1000 ha||2017|
|flax fibre and tow||2.494||1000 ha||2017|
|hemp tow waste||1.272||1000 ha||2017|
|timber||3 113 886||m³||2017|
|cattle||4 030||1000 heads||2017|
|cattle and buffaloes||4 030||1000 heads||2017|
|pigs||12 409||1000 heads||2017|
|equines, total||140.566||1000 heads||2017|
|birds||106 864||1000 heads||2017|
|crustaceans and molluscs||80 520||t||2017|
|freshwater fishes||3 814||t||2017|
The country has vast natural gas reserves both offshore and on the mainland: however, the largest gas field in Groningen will be closed down by 2030 and on-site production reduced by 75% by 2023. From July 2019 the BBL pipeline also transports gas from the UK to the Netherlands, further integrating the European market. A regasification terminal is active in Rotterdam. Oil production is important (fields of Coevorden-Schoonebeek, Rijswijk). There are also significant deposits of salt.
Energy and industry.
Large oil refineries operate in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Vlissingen. A nuclear power station is active at Borssele. A connection with the Danish electricity grid is in operation. Major industries include textile fibres (man-made and synthetic) and fertilizers. Production of salt, chlorine and soda is also relevant. The iron and steel industry is based at IJmuiden, Budel, Arnhem, Delfzijl and Rotterdam. Big multinationals based in the Netherlands include Unilever (agriculture and food, cleaning products), Royal Dutch Shell (oil), Philips (electronics), FCA and Renault (automotive). Mechanical industry includes ship-building, automobiles and railway workshops. There are textile mills at Twente (cotton) and Tilburg (wool). Other industries include tobacco, sugar, margarine, cocoa and chocolate, beers, spirits, leather, diamonds, porcelain and pottery.
|natural gas||46 349||M m³||2017|
|oil, crude||883.3||1000 t||2018|
|salt||7 000||1000 t||2018|
|sand and gravel - t||54 000||1000 t||2018|
|- thermal||88 899.56||M kWh||2016|
|- other renew.||16 542||M kWh||2016|
|- thermal||26 147||1000 kW||2016|
|- other renew.||7 507||1000 kW||2016|
|total net generation||109 291.56||M kWh||2016|
|total installed capacity||34 173||1000 kW||2016|
|aluminium, primary||50||1000 t||2017|
|air conditioners||12 177||no.||2016|
|petrol||14 848.4||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||2 300||1000 t||2018|
|caustic soda||0.8||1000 t||2014|
|carpets||159 004||1000 m²||2016|
|beer of barley||2 369.6||1000 t||2014|
|fish, frozen||54.4||1000 t||2016|
|cigars||2 545.3||M units||2005|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||37.4||1000 t||2017|
|mechanical pulp||37.4||1000 t||2017|
|cement||2 260||1000 t||2016|
|chemicals production||13 940.7||M US$||2016|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||15 627.9||M US$||2016|
The tertiary sector is worth over 75% of the GDP. The country shows a tendency toward foreign trade and constitutes the first gateway to the European market. Many services are focused in the transportation and logistics sectors. Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe. The country aims to become a financial hub after Brexit.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) machinery 56 408, telecommunications equipment 50 833, petroleum products 44 591, computers and accessories 36 845, chemicals 36 343, electrical and electronic equipment 36 283, pharmaceuticals 33 530, optical and electro-medical appliances 30 093, vehicles and parts thereof 27 332, plastics 25 450, iron and steel 23 251, fruit and vegetables 15 096, plants and flowers 10 327, apparel and accessories 10 159, meat 9 847, crude oil 9 263, aluminium 8 769
Finance and banking.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange belongs to the Euronext group.
|manufactures||67.843||% of goods exports||2017|
|food products||16.716||% of goods exports||2017|
|Germany||133 522||M US$||2018|
|Belgium||59 289||M US$||2018|
|Germany||91 755||M US$||2018|
|Belgium||52 172||M US$||2018|
Tourism. The cities, mainly Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, attract most tourists.
|Expenditures||22 044||M US$||2017|
|Number of arrivals||17 924 000||units||2017|
The highly developed canal and river network accounts for about a third of all freight transport and connects directly with Germany, Belgium, France and Switzerland.
|Civil aviation, km flown||459 500 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||42 770.6||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||423.269||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||912||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education, culture & research.
Compulsory education is full-time from 5 to 16 years and part-time for two years.
Social security and health.
The highly efficient social security system is partially private, the state only being responsible for pensions, low-income benefit and disability benefit.
|Expected years of schooling||18||years||2016|
|Teachers, primary level||101 643||units||2016|
|Teachers, secondary level||111 849||units||2016|
|Social protection spending||37.6||% of total expenses||2016|
|Social protection spending||16.7||% of GDP||2018|
|Hospital beds||3.6||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|Physicians||3.5||per 1000 pop.||2016|
|HIV||0.2||% of adults||2017|
|Museums, visitors||34 400 000||units||2016|
|Research and development spending||1.99||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2017|