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

Geographic coordinates: 52 30 N, 5 45 E

Map references: Europe

total: 41,526 sq km
land: 33,889 sq km
water: 7,637 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% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 5,600 sq km (1993 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)


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Population: 15,731,112 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (male 1,472,236; female 1,406,919)
15-64 years: 68% (male 5,457,225; female 5,268,376)
65 years and over: 14% (male 862,574; female 1,263,782) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.5% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 11.62 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 2.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.17 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.01 years
male: 75.14 years
female: 81.03 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.49 children born/woman (1998 est.)

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

Ethnic groups: Dutch 96%, Moroccans, Turks, and other 4% (1988)

Religions: Roman Catholic 34%, Protestant 25%, Muslim 3%, other 2%, unaffiliated 36% (1991)

Languages: Dutch

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1979 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%


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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

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

Legal system: 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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), Prince of Orange, son of Queen BEATRIX
head of government: Prime Minister Wim KOK (since 22 August 1994) and Vice Prime Ministers Hans DIJKSTAL (since 22 August 1994) and Hans VAN MIERLO (since 22 August 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the queen
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary, 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
note: there is a Council of State composed of the queen, crown prince, and councillors consulted by the executive 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 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 9 June 1995 (next to be held 9 June 1999); Second Chamber—last held 3 May 1994 (next to be held 6 May 1998)
election results: First Chamber—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—VVD 23, CDA 19, PvdA 14, D'66 7, other 12; Second Chamber—percent of vote by party—PvdA 24.3%, CDA 22.3%, VVD 20.4%, D'66 16.5%, other 16.5%; seats by party—PvdA 37, CDA 34, VVD 31, D'66 24, other 24

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Hoge Raad, justices are nominated for life by the crown

Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Jaap DE HOOP SCHEFFER]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wim KOK]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Hans F. DIJKSTAL]; Democrats '66 or D'66 [Els BORST]; a host of minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: large multinational firms; Federation of Netherlands Trade Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a Protestant trade union; Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations; the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises; and Interchurch Peace Council or IKV

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, 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, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, 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 (appointed 9 October 1997)
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 Kirk Terry DORNBUSH
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


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Economy—overview: This highly developed and affluent economy is based on private enterprise. The government makes its presence felt, however, through many regulations, permit requirements, and welfare programs affecting most aspects of economic activity. Industrial activity features food-processing, oil-refining, and metalworking. The highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for export and the domestic food-processing industry. Indeed, the Netherlands ranks third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the US and France. Sharp cuts in subsidy and social security spending have been accompanied by sustained growth in output and employment. Growth in 1998 should be a brisk 3.5%. The Dutch will almost certainly qualify for the first wave of countries entering the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$343.9 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3.25% (1997)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 18%
services: 78% (1996)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 2% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 6.6 million (1997)
by occupation: services 75%, manufacturing and construction 23%, agriculture 2% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (1997)

revenues: $103.4 billion
expenditures: $112.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 draft)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 3.75% (1997)

Electricity—capacity: 20.09 million kW (1996 est.)

Electricity—production: 82 billion kWh (1996 est.)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 4,968 kWh (1996 est.)

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

total value: $203.1 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: manufactures and machinery, chemicals; processed food and tobacco, agricultural products
partners: EU 80% (Germany 29%, Belgium-Luxembourg 13%, UK 10%), Central and Eastern Europe 4%, US 3% (1996)

total value: $1.791 trillion (c.i.f., 1997)
commodities: raw materials and semifinished products, consumer goods, transportation equipment, crude oil, food products
partners: EU 64% (Germany 22%, Belgium-Luxembourg 11%, UK 10%), Central and Eastern Europe 4%, US 8% (1996)

Debt—external: $0

Economic aid:
donor: ODA, $2.9 billion (1997)

Currency: 1 Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (f.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Netherlands guilders, gulden, or florins (f.) per US$1—2.0462 (January 1998), 1.9513 (1997), 1.6859 (1996), 1.6057 (1995), 1.8200 (1994), 1.8573 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 8.272 million (1983 est.)

Telephone system: highly developed and well maintained; extensive redundant system of multiconductor cables, supplemented by microwave radio relay
domestic: nationwide cellular telephone system; microwave radio relay
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)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3 (relays 3), FM 12 (repeaters 39), shortwave 0

Radios: 13.755 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 8 (repeaters 7)

Televisions: 7.4 million (1992 est.)


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total: 2,739 km
standard gauge: 2,739 km 1.435-m gauge; (1,991 km electrified) (1996)

total: 127,000 km
paved: 114,427 km (including 2,360 km of expressways)
unpaved: 12,573 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 6,340 km, of which 35% is usable by craft of 1,000 metric ton capacity or larger

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: 453 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,141,630 GRT/3,597,975 DWT
ships by type : bulk 2, cargo 269, chemical tanker 33, combination bulk 2, container 44, liquefied gas tanker 16, livestock carrier 1, multifunction large-load carrier 7, oil tanker 28, passenger 6, refrigerated cargo 28, roll-on/roll-off cargo 11, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 3
note: many Dutch-owned ships are also operating under the registry of Netherlands Antilles (1997 est.)

Airports: 28 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 19
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 6 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)




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