conventional long form: Kingdom of the
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland
Amsterdam. Population: 751,757 (2006). Seat of
Government: The Hague. Population: 474,254 (2007).
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea,
between Belgium and Germany
41,528 sq km (16,034 sq miles).
The Netherlands shares borders to the south with Belgium and to the
east with Germany, while the North Sea lies to the north and west. Large
areas of The Netherlands have been reclaimed from the sea and consequently
one-fifth of the country lies below sea level. The country is flat and
level and is criss-crossed by rivers and canals. Areas reclaimed from the
sea, known as polders, are extremely fertile. The landscape is broken by
the forest of Arnhem, the bulb fields in the west, the lakes of the
central and northern areas, and coastal dunes that are among the most
impressive in Europe.
Dutch is the official language. English, German and French are
widely spoken. Fries is spoken by the majority of people in the
northern province of Friesland.
Mild, maritime climate. Summers are generally warm with
changeable periods, but excessively hot weather is rare. Winters
can be fairly cold with the possibility of some snow. Rainfall is
prevalent all year
Netherlands has a typical developed European economy. It is also the
world's third-largest exporter of farm produce (after the USA and France),
accounting for 16% of total export earnings. Dairy products, meat,
vegetables and flowers are the main products. Industry is concentrated in
agriculture, petrochemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, synthetic
fibres and food processing.
There is also a wide range of light industries, including the
manufacturing of electronic goods (Philips, of Eindhoven is a major global
brand), although the historically strong textile industry has been in
long-term decline. By contrast, The Netherlands has developed a strong
base in advanced technological industries including computing,
telecommunications and biotechnology. Deposits of natural gas (the only
mineral resource of any size) meet much of the country's energy needs.
Service industries are also important, representing 70% of the economy,
notably transport through the world's busiest container port at Rotterdam.
The Netherlands has derived substantial benefits from its membership of
the EU, with whose members the bulk of its trade takes place. It has
generally been a strong proponent of further economic integration within
Europe and joined the Eurozone upon its inception in 1999.
Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels and food.
Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, food and
• Main trade partners: EU countries (mainly Germany, France, UK and
Belgium), and China.
Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of
€500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2
and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents
US$768 billion (2007 estimate).
Associations & Chamber of Commerce