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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.

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

Geographic coordinates:
52 30 N, 5 45 E

Map references:

total: 41,543 sq km
country comparison to the world: 134
land: 33,893 sq km
water: 7,650 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

451 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Current Weather
temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters

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)

Total renewable water resources:
89.7 cu km (2005)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 8.86 cu km/yr (6%/60%/34%)
per capita: 544 cu m/yr (2001)

Natural hazards:

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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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

16,783,092 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59

Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.2% (male 1,475,483/female 1,406,973)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 5,734,427/female 5,622,520)
65 years and over: 15.2% (male 1,099,269/female 1,444,420) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 40.8 years
male: 40 years
female: 41.6 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.39% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Birth rate:
10.3 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188

Death rate:
8.78 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83

Net migration rate:
2.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29

urban population: 82% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.052 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.66 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 197
male: 5.16 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.55 years
country comparison to the world: 31
male: 76.94 years
female: 82.3 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.66 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
18,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)
adjective: Dutch

Ethnic groups:
Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Netherlands Antilles & Aruba 0.8%, other 4.8% (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006)

Dutch (official), Frisian (official)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 17 years
female: 16 years (2006)

Education expenditures:
5.3% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 55

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

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 is the seat of government; time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, not to the Caribbean components

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

Dependent areas:
Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

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 deceased Queen-Mother JULIANA and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX), 30 April (1909 and 1980)

adopted 1815; amended many times, most recently in 2002

Legal system:
based on 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

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); Deputy Prime Minister Andre ROUVOET (since 22 February 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy 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 to serve four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held 29 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2011); Second Chamber - last held 9 June 2010 (next to be held by June 2015)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CDA 21, PvdA 14, VVD 14, Socialist Party 11, Christian Union 4, Green Left Party 4, D66 2, other 5; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 20.5%, PvdA 19.6%, PVV, 15.4%, CDA 13.6%, SP 9.8%, D66 6.9%, GL 6.7%, CU 3.2, other 4.3%; seats by party - VVD31, PvdA 30, PVV 24, CDA 21, SP 15, D66 10, GL 10, CU 5, other 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 [Andre ROUVOET]; Democrats 66 or D66 [Alexander PECHTOLD]; Green Left [Femke HALSEMA]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wouter BOS]; Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]; Party for the Animals or PvdD [Marianne THIEME]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD [Mark RUTTE] (Liberal); Reformed Political Party of SGP [Bas VAN DER VLIES]; Socialist Party [Agnes KANT]; plus a few minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Christian Trade Union Federation or CNV [Bert VAN BOGGELEN]; Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers or VNO-NCW [Bernard WIENTJES]; Federation for Small and Medium-sized businesses or MKB [Loek HERMANS]; Netherlands Trade Union Federation or FNV [Agnes JONGERIUS]; Social Economic Council or SER [Alexander RINNOOY KAN]; Trade Union Federation of Middle and High Personnel or MHP [Richard STEENBORG]

International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Regina "Renee" JONES-BOS
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300, [1] 877-388-2443
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
consulate(s): Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Fay Hartog LEVIN
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; the colors were those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century; originally the upper band was orange, but because it tended to fade to red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color; the banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use

Economy - overview:
The Netherlands 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 only 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 has been one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the four largest investors in the US. After 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Netherlands' economy - which is highly open and dependent on foreign trade and financial services - was hard-hit by global economic crisis. Dutch GDP contracted 3.9% in 2009, while exports declined nearly 25% due to a sharp contraction in world demand. The Dutch financial sector has also suffered, due in part to the high exposure of some Dutch banks to U.S. mortgage-backed securities. In response to turmoil in financial markets, the government nationalized two banks and injected billions of dollars into a third, to prevent further systemic risk. The government also sought to boost the domestic economy by accelerating infrastructure programs, offering corporate tax breaks for employers to retain workers, and expanding export credit facilities. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, have resulted in a government budget deficit of nearly 4.6% of GDP in 2009 that contrasts sharply with a surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2008. With unemployment rising, the government of Prime Minister Jan Peter BALKENENDE is likely to come under increased pressure to keep the budget deficit in check while promoting economic recovery.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$654.9 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
$681.5 billion (2008 est.)
$668.1 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$799 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-3.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
2% (2008 est.)
3.6% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$39,200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
$40,900 (2008 est.)
$40,300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 23.6%
services: 74.9% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
7.754 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 18%
services: 80% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:
4.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
3.9% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:
10.5% (2005)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 22.9% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
30.9 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 107
32.6 (1994)

Investment (gross fixed):
18.9% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

revenues: $368 billion
expenditures: $409.9 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
62.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
58.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
2.5% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
3% (3 May 2009)
country comparison to the world: 95
5% (31 December 2007)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.01% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 85
10.37% (31 December 2008)

Stock of money:
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders

Stock of quasi money:

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.234 trillion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 11
$1.824 trillion (31 December 2008)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$931 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 20
$387.9 billion (31 December 2008)
$956.5 billion (31 December 2007)

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

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

Industrial production growth rate:
-8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133

Electricity - production:
108.2 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31

Electricity - consumption:
124.1 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27

Electricity - exports:
10.56 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:
15.45 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production:
57,190 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61

Oil - consumption:
922,800 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21

Oil - exports:
1.647 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

Oil - imports:
2.678 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8

Oil - proved reserves:
100 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68

Natural gas - production:
79.58 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9

Natural gas - consumption:
48.6 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17

Natural gas - exports:
55.59 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6

Natural gas - imports:
24.6 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12

Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.416 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23

Current account balance:
$42.72 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
$41.93 billion (2008 est.)

$417.6 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$531.7 billion (2008 est.)

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

Exports - partners:
Germany 25.54%, Belgium 12.49%, France 9.27%, UK 8.17%, Italy 5.07%, US 3.97% (2009)

$369.9 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$474.8 billion (2008 est.)

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

Imports - partners:
Germany 17.16%, China 11.58%, Belgium 8.68%, US 7.77%, UK 5.72%, Russia 4.47%, France 4.4% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$39.84 billion (31 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
$28.51 billion (31 December 2008)

Debt - external:
$3.733 trillion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 5
$2.461 trillion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$671.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$638.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$843.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$821.2 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7338 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005)

Telephones - main lines in use:
7.324 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 25

Telephones - mobile cellular:
19.927 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 40

Telephone system:
general assessment: highly developed and well maintained
domestic: extensive fixed-line fiber-optic network; large cellular telephone system with 5 major operators utilizing the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology; one in five households now use Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
international: country code - 31; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 5 (3 Intelsat - 1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (2007)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 567, shortwave 1 (2009)

Television broadcast stations:
342 (2009)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
12.388 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 9

Internet users:
14.273 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 26

27 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 125

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: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2009)

1 (2009)

gas 3,816 km; oil 365 km; refined products 716 km (2009)

total: 2,896 km
country comparison to the world: 58
standard gauge: 2,896 km 1.435-m gauge (2,064 km electrified) (2009)

total: 136,827 km (includes 2,582 km of expressways) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 36

6,215 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2007)
country comparison to the world: 22

Merchant marine:
total: 622
country comparison to the world: 18
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 381, carrier 19, chemical tanker 44, container 76, liquefied gas 15, passenger 16, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 11, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 23, specialized tanker 3
foreign-owned: 203 (Belgium 2, Cyprus 8, Denmark 29, Finland 14, France 1, Germany 75, Ireland 10, Italy 1, South Korea 1, Norway 12, Sweden 28, Turkey 1, UAE 5, UK 2, US 14)
registered in other countries: 178 (Antigua and Barbuda 20, Australia 2, Austria 2, Bahamas 9, Cambodia 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 22, Germany 1, Gibraltar 21, Isle of Man 1, Liberia 6, Luxembourg 2, Marshall Islands 8, Netherlands Antilles 38, Panama 14, Paraguay 1, Philippines 23, Portugal 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, US 1, unknown 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Amsterdam, IJmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen

Military branches:
Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht, KLu), Royal Military Police (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,927,311
females age 16-49: 3,831,110 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,213,954
females age 16-49: 3,133,972 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 104,694
female: 99,874 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

Disputes - international:

Illicit drugs:
major European producer of synthetic drugs, including ecstasy, and cannabis cultivator; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy; large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering; significant consumer of ecstasy


Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010




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