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Countries > Netherlands (Holland) Netherlands (Holland) Flag
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Capital: Amsterdam
Population: 15,700,000
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Netherlands (Holland) Map


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

Geographic coordinates: 52 30 N, 5 45 E

Map references: Europe

total: 37,330 sq km
land: 33,920 sq km
water: 3,410 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 : 27%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 31%
forests and woodland: 10%
other: 31% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:5,650 sq km (1998 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: Biodiversity

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


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:
total population: 78.58 years
male: 75.7 years
female :81.59 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.65 children born/woman (2002 est.)

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (2000 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

National 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 (1938)

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

Legal system: civil law system incorporating French penal theory; judicial review in the Supreme Court of legislation of lower order rather than 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 : Cabinet appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the queen is a constitutional monarch; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the queen; vice prime ministers appointed by the queen

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 De Hoge Raad, justices are nominated for life by the crown from a list compiled by the Second Chamber of the States General

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, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, 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, NACC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNAVEM III, 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 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 - 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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index:4.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 7.2 million (2000)
by occupation:services 73%, industry 23%, agriculture 4% (1998 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2.4% (2001)

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, fishing, construction, microelectronics

Industrial production growth rate: 1.9% (2001)

Electricity - capacity: 18.65 million kW

Electricity - production: 87.953 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 100.712 billion kWh (2000)

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

total value:$214 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: manufactures and machinery, chemicals; processed food and tobacco, agricultural products
partners: EU 78% (Germany 26%, Benelux 12%, France 12%, UK 11%, Italy 6%), Central and Eastern Europe, US (2000)

total value: $195 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities : raw materials and semifinished products, consumer goods, transportation equipment, crude oil, food products
partners: EU 56% (Germany 18%, Benelux 10%, UK 9%, France 6%), US 10%

Debt - external: $0

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

Currency: euro (EUR); Netherlands guilder (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


Telephones: 9,132,400 (1999)

Telephone system: 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)


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

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

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:622 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,587,662 GRT/5,251,529 DWT
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
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.)

Airports: 28 (2001)

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

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

Heliports: 1 (2001)


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 (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: 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

Disputes - international: none

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

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