Name: Netherlands (long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Capital City: Amsterdam (780,152 pop.) (2,158,592 metro)
Population: 16,805,037 (2013 est.)
Ethnicity: Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Caribbean 0.8%, other 4.8% (2008 est.)
GDP total: $709.5 billion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $42,300 (2012 est.)
Language: Dutch (official), Frisian (official)
Largest Cities: (by population) Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Groningen, Breda, Apeldoorn, Nijmegen
Name: Netherlands comes from the Dutch word Nederland, which means “lower land.”
National Day: April 27, King’s Day
Religion: Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006) Background
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, consisting of twelve provinces in North-West Europe and three islands in the Caribbean. The Netherlands shares maritime borders with the UK and borders to Belgium and Germany, with the port of Rotterdam being the largest port in Europe.
Many economic historians regard the Netherlands as the first thoroughly capitalist country in the world. In early modern Europe it had the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time stock exchange. The Netherlands has had many well-known painters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan and famous philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza.
The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as Holland with its capital being Amsterdam and the seat of government in The Hague. The country is host to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international (arbitration) courts.
20% of the area and of 21% of its population is located below sea level. Due to land reclamation, large polder areas are now preserved through elaborate drainage systems with dikes, canals and pumping stations.
The Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, G-10, NATO, OECD, WTO and a part of the trilateral Benelux economic union. It has the 18th-largest economy in the world and ranks 10th in GDP (nominal) per capita.The country has a developed economy which plays a special role in the European economy for many centuries.
Shipping, fishing, trade and banking are leading sectors of the Dutch economy and the Netherlands is one of the world’s 10 leading exporting countries. Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods and tourism. Examples include Unilever, Heineken, financial services (ING), chemicals (DSM, AKZO), petroleum refining (Shell) and electronics (Philips, ASML).
The Netherlands Today
The country continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the five largest investors in the United States. The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is regarded as a liberal country.
The Netherlands is proud to have leading companies in dredging, oil & gas exploitation, engineering, renewable energy, especially solar energy, bio fuels and wind.