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Flag of Netherlands

Country Profile

Capital City: Amsterdam (pop. 736 000), Den Haag (458 000), The Hague (seat of government)

Other Cities: Groningen, Haarlem, Maastricht, Rotterdam (599 000), Utrecht (261 000)

Local Time: UTC +1h

Location: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany.
Area: 41 528 sq. km. (16 485 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Coastal lowland; land below sea level 24%
Border countries: Belgium, Germany

Climate: Temperate maritime.

Type: Constitutional monarchy
Head of State: Queen Beatrix

Nationality: Noun--Dutchmen and Dutchwomen. Adjective--Dutch.
Population: (March 2004)16,3 million.
Ethnic groups: Predominantly Dutch; largest minority communities are Moroccans, Turks, Surinamese.
Religions: Roman Catholic (31%), Protestant (21%), Muslim (5,5%), other (2,5%), none (40%).
Language: Dutch; English widely spoken
Literacy: 99%.


Currency: Euro (EUR)

Natural resources: Natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land.

Agriculture products: Grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; livestock.

Industries: Agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing.

Exports partners:
Germany 25.3%, Belgium 12.6%, France 10.2%, UK 10.1%, Italy 6%, USA 4.5% (2003)

Imports partners: Germany 18.2%, Belgium 10%, USA 8%, UK 7.3%, China 6.2%, France 5% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Netherlands

Het Koninklijk Huis

Het Parlement

House of Representatives

Netherlands Board of Tourism (N.B.T.)

Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN

Royal Netherlands Embassy

Dutch Missions Abroad

Foreign Missions in the Netherlands

CBS - Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek

Het Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI)

Map of the Netherlands

Political Map of the Netherlands



Background:  The 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 a brutal 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 EC, and participated in
the introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) 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 water: 7,643 sq km land: 33,883 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:  exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 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, arable land

Land use:  arable land: 27% permanent crops: 1% other: 72% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  5,650 sq km (1998 est.)

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-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile
Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine
Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change,
Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous
Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear
Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83,
Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Climate
Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note:  located at mouths of three major European rivers
(Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)

People Netherlands

Population:  16,067,754 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 18.3% (male 1,502,687; female 1,437,141)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 5,548,188; female 5,362,412) 65 years and over:
13.8% (male 913,020; female 1,304,306) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.53% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  11.58 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.67 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  2.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.7 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  4.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   81.59 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.65 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.19% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  15,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  100 (1999 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%, Protestant 21%, Muslim 4.4%, other 3.6%,
unaffiliated 40% (1998)

Languages:  Dutch

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 99% (2000 est.)  male: NA% female: NA%

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:  Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government

Administrative divisions:  12 provinces (provincien, singular -
provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg,
Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland

Dependent areas:  Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

Independence:  1579 (from Spain); note - the northern provinces of the
Low Country concluded the Union of Utrecht, but it was 1648 before Spain
finally recognized their 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 1814; amended many times, last time 17 February

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 Wim KOK (since 22 August 1994)
and Vice Prime Ministers Annemarie JORRITSMA (since 3 August 1998) and
Els BORST-EILERS (since 3 August 1998); note - Wim KOK and his cabinet
resigned 16 April 2002 after taking blame for the massacre of Bosnian
Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 while they were under the protection of
Dutch UN peacekeepers, but were asked to stay as a caretaker government
until a new administration was formed after elections on 15 May 2002
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 prime minister 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 1999 (next to be held 15 May 2003); Second Chamber -
last held 15 May 2002 (next to be held NA May 2006) election results:
First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CDA 20,
VVD 19, PvdA 15, D66 4, other 17; Second Chamber - percent of vote by
party - NA%; seats by party - Christian Democrats 43, List Pim Fortuyn
26, Labor Party 23, VVD 23, Green Party 11, Socialist Party 9, D66 7,
Christian Union 4, others 4

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 [M. VAN DAALEN]; Democrats 66
or D66 [Thom DE GRAAF]; Green Party [Otto Ter HAAR]; Labor Party or PvdA
[Adrianus MELKERT]; List Pim Fortuyn [leader NA]; People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Hans F. DIJKSTAL]; Socialist Party
[Jan MARIJNISSEN]; a host of minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Federation of Netherlands Trade
Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a
Protestant trade union; 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, AsDB, Australia Group,
NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Joris
M. VOS consulate(s): Boston consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston,
Los Angeles, New York FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430 telephone: [1] (202)
244-5300 chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Clifford M. SOBEL embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague mailing
address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715 telephone: [31] (70) 310-9209 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

Economy Netherlands

Economy - overview:  The Netherlands is a prosperous and open
economy depending heavily on foreign trade. The economy is noted for
stable industrial relations, moderate 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 4% 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, 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 - $413 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.1% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $25,800 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 3.3% industry: 26.3% services:
70.4% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 25.1% (1994)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  32.6 (1994)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  4.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  7.2 million (2000)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 73%, industry 23%, agriculture 4%
(1998 est.)

Unemployment rate:  2.4% (2001)

Budget:  revenues: $134 billion expenditures: $134 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

Industries:  agroindustries, metal and engineering products,
electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction,
microelectronics, fishing

Industrial production growth rate:  1.9% (2001)

Electricity - production:  87.953 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 90.27% hydro: 0.16%
other: 5.33% (2000) nuclear: 4.24%

Electricity - consumption:  100.712 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  4.031 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  22.946 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits,
vegetables; livestock

Exports:  $214 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Exports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels;

Exports - partners:  EU 78% (Germany 26%, Benelux 12%, France 12%,
UK 11%, Italy 6%), Central and Eastern Europe, US (2000)

Imports:  $195 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Imports - partners:  EU 56% (Germany 18%, Benelux 10%, UK 9%, France 6%),
US 10% (2000)

Economic aid - donor:  ODA, $3.5 billion (2000 est.)

Currency:  euro (EUR); Netherlands guilder (NLG) 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; NLG

Exchange rates:  euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Netherlands guilders per US dollar -
1.9837 (1998), 1.9513 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Netherlands

Telephones - main lines in use:  9,132,400 (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  4,081,891 (April 1999)

Telephone system:  general assessment: highly developed and well
maintained domestic: the existing system of multi-conductor cables is
gradually being replaced by fiber-optic cables; the density of cellular
telephone traffic is rapidly increasing and further modernization of the
system is expected in 2001, with the introduction of the third generation
of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) international: 5
submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean
and 2 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian
Ocean regions) (1996)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 4, FM 58, shortwave 3 (1998)

Radios:  15.3 million (1996)

Television broadcast stations:  21 (plus 26 repeaters) (1995)

Televisions:  8.1 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .nl

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  52 (2000)

Internet users:  8.7 million (2001)

Transportation Netherlands

Railways:  total: 2,808 km standard gauge: 2,808 km 1.435-m gauge (2,061
km electrified) (2001)

Highways:  total: 116,500 km paved: 104,850 km (including 2,235 km of
expressways) unpaved: 11,650 km (1999)

Waterways:  5,046 km (of which 3,745 km are canals) note: 47% of total
route length is usable by craft of 1,000-metric-ton capacity or larger

Pipelines:  crude oil 418 km; petroleum products 965 km; natural gas
10,230 km

Ports and harbors:  Amsterdam, Delfzijl, Dordrecht, Eemshaven, Groningen,
Haarlem, Ijmuiden, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Utrecht, Vlissingen

Merchant marine:  total: 622 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,587,662
GRT/5,251,529 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered
here as a flag of convenience: Belgium 1, Canada 1, Denmark 5, Finland 5,
Germany 55, Ireland 12, Norway 12, Sweden 17, United Kingdom 33, United
States 12 (2002 est.)  ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 380, chemical tanker
46, container 64, liquefied gas 16, livestock carrier 2, multi-functional
large-load carrier 15, passenger 9, petroleum tanker 28, refrigerated
cargo 34, roll on/roll off 18, short-sea passenger 2, specialized tanker 5

Airports:  28 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 20 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047
m: 7 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 1 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 8 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m:
6 (2001)

Heliports:  1 (2001)

Military Netherlands

Military branches:  Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy
(including Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air
Force, Royal Constabulary

Military manpower - military age:  20 years of age (note - age 17 for
cadets and midshipmen) (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 4,077,917 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 3,546,030
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 96,082 note:
Netherlands has an all-volunteer, 74,100 force in 2001 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $6.5 billion (FY00/01 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.5% (FY00/01 est.)

Transnational Issues Netherlands

Disputes - international:  none

Illicit drugs:  major European producer of illicit amphetamine and other
synthetic drugs; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish
entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Netherlands News
Algemeen Dagblad

Dagblad van het Noorden Dutch News

Het Parool

De Telegraaf

De Volkskrant

Radio Netherlands (RN)

Arts & Culture
Arts & Architecture

Dutch Pop and Rock Music Institute

Holland Museums

Kunsthal Rotterdam



De Museumserver


Rembrandthuis Museum

Stedelijk Museum

The Van Gogh Museum


Business & Economy
De Nederlandsche Bank

Amsterdam Exchanges

BuVoHa - Bureau Voor Handelsinlichtingen

CBI Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries

The Netherlands Foreign Trade Agency (EVD)

Kamer van Koophandel

Dutch Products


Douwe Egberts




Wooden Shoes


Gouden Gids



Royal Dutch Airlines

Schiphol Airport

Nederlandse Spoorwegen

Rotterdam Port Authority

Destination Netherlands - Travel and Tour Guides

Tourism Offices of the Netherlands
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Noord Holland


Zuid-Holland Zuid

Geography of the Netherlands



City Guides

Amsterdam Hotspots

The Internet Guide to Amsterdam

Den Haag


Rotterdam Tourism





Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen (OCW)

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven

Universiteit of Amsterdam

Universiteit Leiden

Universiteit Maastricht

Universiteit Tilburg

Universiteit Utrecht

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Cyndi's list of Genealogy Sites in the Netherlands.

The Holl@nd Page


A concise history of the Netherlands


Dutch History Resources on the Internet

Dutch Portuguese Colonial History

Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (1602-1660)

Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis

The Low Countries

Koninklijke Bibliotheek

De hoofdlijn van de Nederlandse geschiedenis

Nationaal Archief

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

WWW VL Dutch History Index

Science & Research
Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen

Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT)

The Royal Dutch Geographical Society

Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)

Space Expo Noordwijk


NL -menue


Newsgroup of Netherlands




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