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  Netherlands Travel Guide:

          Facts on the Netherlands

Flag of Netherlands
            History   Geography    People    Economy    Communications    Transportation

      Map of Netherlands' leading cities

Map of the Netherlands and its major cities

History   Top of Page  
  The 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 EC (now the EU), and participated in the introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.  
Geography   Top of Page
Location Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany  
Geographic Coordinates 52 30 N, 5 45 E  
Area Total: 41,526 sq km
Water: 7,643 sq km
Land: 33,883 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  
Climate Temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters  
Terrain 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, arable land  
Geography Note Located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)  
Natural hazards Flooding  
People   Top of Page
Population 16,491,461 (July 2006 est.)  
Age Structure 0-14 years: 18% (male 1,515,123/female 1,445,390)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 5,656,448/female 5,525,481)
65 years and over: 14.2% (male 994,723/female 1,354,296) (2006 est.)
Nationality 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%, Dutch Reformed 13%, Calvinist 7%, Muslim 5.5%, other 2.5%, none 41% (2002)  
Language Dutch (official language), Frisian (official language)  
Literacy Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 99% (2000 est.)
Government   Top of Page  
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  
Capital Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government  
Administrative Divisions 12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland  
Independence 1579 (from Spain); note - the northern provinces of the Low Country concluded the Union of Utrecht, but it was 1648 before Spain finally recognized their independence  
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; one of the oldest flags in constant use, originating with William I, Prince of Orange, in the latter half of the 16th century  
Economy   Top of Page
Overview The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade. The 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 no more than 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 continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment. Economic growth slowed considerably in 2001-05, as part of the global economic slowdown, but for the four years before that, annual growth averaged nearly 4%, well above the EU average.  
Currency Euro  
Currency Code EUR  
Communications   Top of Page
Telephone System General assessment: highly developed and well maintained  
Internet Country Code .ne  
Transportation   Top of Page
Railways total: 2,808 km
standard gauge: 2,808 km 1.435-m gauge (2,061 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways total: 134,000 km (including 3,270 km of expressways) (2004)  
Waterways 6,183 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2005)  
Ports and Harbors Amsterdam, Delfzijl, Dordrecht, Eemshaven, Groningen, Haarlem, IJmuiden, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Utrecht, Vlissingen  
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