World Facts And Stats: Information About The Netherlands

Facts and information about the Netherlands


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

Geographic coordinates: 52 30 N, 5 45 E

Map references: Europe


total: 41,532 sq km

land: 33,889 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:

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: Prins Alexanderpolder -7 m

highest point: Vaalserberg 321 m

Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, fertile soil

Land use:

arable land: 25%

permanent crops: 3%

permanent pastures: 25%

forests and woodland: 8%

other: 39% (1996 est.)

Irrigated land: 6,000 sq km (1996 est.)

Natural hazards: the extensive system of dikes and dams protects nearly one-half of the total area from being flooded

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-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, 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: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

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


Population: 15,807,641 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 18% (male 1,475,606; female 1,410,088)

15-64 years: 68% (male 5,482,193; female 5,288,948)

65 years and over: 14% (male 875,847; female 1,274,959) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.47% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 11.36 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.11 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 78.15 years

male: 75.28 years

female: 81.17 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.49 children born/woman (1999 est.)


noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)

adjective: Dutch

Ethnic groups: Dutch 94%, Moroccans, Turks, and other 6% (1988)

Religions: Roman Catholic 34%, Protestant 25%, Muslim 3%, other 2%, unaffiliated 36% (1991)

Languages: Dutch


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99% (1979 est.)

male: NA%

female: NA%


Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands

conventional short form: Netherlands

local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden

local short form: Nederland

Data code: NL

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)

National holiday: Queen's Day, 30 April

Constitution: adopted 1814; amended many times, last time 17 February 1983

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 Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), Prince of Orange, 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)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch

elections: none; the monarch 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 a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councillors consulted by the executive 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 9 June 1995 (next to be held 25 May 1999); Second Chamber""last held 6 May 1998 (next to be held May 2002)

election results: First Chamber""percent of vote by party""NA; seats by party""VVD 23, CDA 19, PvdA 14, D'66 7, other 12; Second Chamber""percent of vote by party""PvdA 30.0%, VVD 25.3%, CDA 19.3%, D'66 9.3%, other 16.1%; seats by party""PvdA 45, VVD 38, CDA 29, D'66 14, other 24

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Hoge Raad, justices are nominated for life by the monarch

Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Jaap DE HOOP SCHEFFER]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wim KOK]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Hans F. DIJKSTAL]; Democrats '66 or D'66 [Thom DE GRAAF]; a host of minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: large multinational firms; Federation of Netherlands Trade Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a Protestant trade union; Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations; the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises; and Interchurch Peace Council or IKV

International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Joris M. VOS

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, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Cynthia P. SCHNEIDER

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""overview: This prosperous and open economy is based on private enterprise with the government's presence felt in many aspects of the economy. Industrial activity features food processing, petroleum refining, and metalworking. The highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 4% of the labor force, but provides large surpluses for export and the domestic food-processing industry. As a result, the Netherlands ranks third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the US and France. Sharp cuts in subsidy and social security spending since the 1980s helped the Dutch achieve sustained economic growth combined with falling unemployment and moderate inflation. The economy achieved a strong 3.7% growth in 1998; a dip in the business cycle probably will cause the economy to decelerate to slightly over 2% growth in 1999. Unemployment in 1999 is expected to be less than 5% of the labor force, and inflation probably will decline. The Dutch joined the first wave of 11 EU countries launching the euro system on 1 January 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity""$348.6 billion (1998 est.)

GDP""real growth rate: 3.7% (1998 est.)

GDP""per capita: purchasing power parity""$22,200 (1998 est.)

GDP""composition by sector:

agriculture: 3.2%

industry: 27.5%

services: 69.3% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 24.7% (1991)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1998)

Labor force: 7 million (1998 est.)

Labor force""by occupation: services 73%, manufacturing and construction 23%, agriculture 4% (1998 est.)

Unemployment rate: 4.1% (1998 est.)


revenues: $163 billion

expenditures: $170 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 2.4% (1998)

Electricity""production: 83.3 billion kWh (1997)

Electricity""production by source:

fossil fuel: 94.51%

hydro: 0.1%

nuclear: 4.95%

other: 0.44% (1996)

Electricity""consumption: 90.366 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity""exports: 700 million kWh (1996)

Electricity""imports: 11.3 billion kWh (1996)

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

Exports: $160 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports""commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, food and tobacco

Exports""partners: EU 78% (Germany 27%, Belgium-Luxembourg 13%, France 11%, UK 10%, Italy 6%), Central and Eastern Europe, US (1997)

Imports: $142 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Imports""commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, fuels, consumer goods

Imports""partners: EU 61% (Germany 21%, Belgium-Luxembourg 11%, UK 10%), US 9%, Central and Eastern Europe (1997)

Debt""external: $0

Economic aid""donor: ODA, $2.9 billion (1997)

Currency: 1 Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (f.) = 100 cents; note""on 1 January 2002 to be replaced by the euro

Exchange rates: Netherlands guilders, gulden, or florins (f.) per US$1""1.8904 (January 1999), 1.9837 (1998), 1.9513 (1997), 1.6859 (1996), 1.6057 (1995), 1.8200 (1994)

note: on 1 January 1999, the European Union introduced a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in some member countries at the rate of 0.8597 euros per US$ and a fixed rate of 2.20371 guilders per euro; the euro will replace the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 8.431 million (1998 est.); 3.4 million cellular telephone subscribers (1998 est.)

Telephone system: highly developed and well maintained; system of multi-conductor cables gradually being supplemented/replaced by a glass-fiber based telecommunication infrastructure; Mobile GSM-based mobile telephony density rapidly growing; third generation Universal Mobile Telecommunications System expected for introduction by the year 2001

domestic: nationwide cellular telephone system; microwave radio relay

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)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3 (relays 3), FM 12 (repeaters 39), shortwave 0

Radios: 14 million (1994 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 15 (in addition, there are five low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 7.6 million (1994 est.)



total: 2,813 km

standard gauge: 2,813 km 1.435-m gauge; (1,991 km electrified) (1996)


total: 127,000 km

paved: 114,427 km (including 2,360 km of expressways)

unpaved: 12,573 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 5,046 km, of which 47% 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

Merchant marine:

total: 510 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,632,477 GRT/4,097,328 DWT

ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 303, chemical tanker 42, combination bulk 1, container 52, liquefied gas tanker 17, livestock carrier 1, multifunction large-load carrier 9, oil tanker 24, passenger 8, refrigerated cargo 30, roll-on/roll-off cargo 12, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 4

note: many Dutch-owned ships are also operating under the registry of Netherlands Antilles (1998 est.)

Airports: 28 (1998 est.)

Airports""with paved runways:

total: 19

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 7

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 1 (1998 est.)

Airports""with unpaved runways:

total: 9

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 6 (1998 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1998 est.)


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

Military manpower""military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower""availability:

males age 15-49: 4,117,376 (1999 est.)

Military manpower""fit for military service:

males age 15-49: 3,595,693 (1999 est.)

Military manpower""reaching military age annually:

males: 95,368 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures""dollar figure: $6.604 billion (FY97)

Military expenditures""percent of GDP: 2.1% (1995)

Transnational Issues

Disputes""international: none

Illicit drugs: important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major European producer of illicit amphetamines and other synthetic drugs

*Information obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book.

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