The Netherlands (/ˈnɛðərləndz/ ( listen); Dutch:
Nederland [ˈneːdərˌlɑnt] ( listen)), also known
informally as Holland, is a country in Western
Europe with a
population of seventeen million. Together with three island
territories in the Caribbean (Bonaire,
Sint Eustatius and Saba), it
forms the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The European portion of the
Netherlands consists of twelve provinces
Germany to the east,
Belgium to the south, and the North
Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders in the
North Sea with
Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The five largest cities
Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht
Randstad megalopolis) and
Eindhoven (leading the
Amsterdam is the country's capital, while
The Hague holds the seat of the States General and cabinet. The
Rotterdam is the largest port in
Europe and the world's
largest outside East Asia.
"Netherlands" literally means "lower countries", influenced by its low
land and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one
metre above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are
artificial. Since the late 16th century, large areas (polders) have
been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, amounting to nearly 17% of the
country's current land mass. With a population density of 414 people
per km2 – 510 if water is excluded – the
Netherlands is classified
as a very densely populated country. Only Bangladesh, South Korea, and
Taiwan have both a larger population and higher population density.
Netherlands is the world's second-largest exporter
of food and agricultural products, after the United States.
This is partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate
as well as its highly developed intensive agriculture. The Netherlands
was the third country in the world to have elected representatives
controlling the government's actions; it has been administered as a
parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy since 1848,
organised as a unitary state.
The Netherlands has a long history of
social tolerance and is generally regarded as a liberal country,
having legalised abortion, prostitution and euthanasia, while
maintaining a progressive drugs policy.
The Netherlands abolished the
death penalty in 1870 and had women's suffrage introduced in 1917.
Accepting of the LGBT community, it became the world's first country
to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001.
The Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G-10, NATO,
OECD and WTO, as well as being a part of the
Schengen Area and the
Benelux Union. The country is host to the Organisation for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international courts: the
Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice,
the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the
International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court and the
Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The
first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EU's criminal
Europol and judicial cooperation agency Eurojust
United Nations Detention Unit. This has led to the city being
dubbed "the world's legal capital." The country also ranks second
highest in the world's 2016 Press Freedom Index, as published by
Reporters Without Borders.
The Netherlands has a market-based
mixed economy, ranking 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of
Economic Freedom. It had the thirteenth-highest per capita income
in the world in 2016 according to the International Monetary Fund. In
World Happiness Report
World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands
as the sixth-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high
quality of life.[nb 1]
The Netherlands also has a generous welfare
state that provides universal healthcare, good public education and
infrastructure, and a wide range of social benefits. That welfare
system combined with its strongly redistributive taxing system makes
Netherlands one of the most egalitarian countries worldwide. It
also ranks joint third highest in the Inequality-adjusted Human
Development Index, along with Australia.
2.1 Prehistory (before 800 BC)
2.2 Celts, Germanic tribes and Romans (800 BC–410 AD)
2.3 Early Middle Ages (411–1000)
2.4 High Middle Ages (1000–1384)
2.5 Burgundian and
Habsburg Netherlands (Spanish Netherlands)
Dutch Republic (1581–1795)
Batavian Republic and kingdom (1795–1890)
2.8 World wars and beyond (1890–present)
3.2 Delta Works
3.5 Caribbean islands
4.1 Political culture
4.2 Political parties
5.1 Administrative divisions
5.2 Foreign relations
6.1 Natural gas
7.1 Functional urban areas
8.1 Art, philosophy and literature
8.2 Dutch value system
Dutch people and ecology
8.5 Film and television
8.8 Colonial heritage
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Main article: Terminology of the Low Countries
The Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in
exceptionally many and widely varying names in different languages.
There is diversity even within languages. This holds also for English,
where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer
Holland a synonym
for the country "the Netherlands". Dutch comes from
Theodiscus and in
the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most
populous region, Holland, home to the capital city of Amsterdam;
government headquarters at The Hague; and Europe's largest port
Rotterdam. Referring to the
Holland in the English
language is similar to calling the
United Kingdom "England" by people
outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and
tourists, however, that the Dutch government's international websites
for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and
The region of
Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the
nation's twelve provinces, formerly a single province, and earlier
still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian
Kingdom. Following the decline of the
Duchy of Brabant
Duchy of Brabant and the County
Holland became the most economically and politically
important county in the
Low Countries region. The emphasis on Holland
during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the
Eighty Years' War
Eighty Years' War and
Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland
serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, which is now
considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on
context, opprobrious. Nonetheless,
Holland is widely used in reference
Netherlands national football team.
The region called the
Low Countries (comprising Belgium, the
Netherlands and Luxembourg) and the
Country of the Netherlands, have
the same toponymy. Place names with Neder (or lage), Nieder, Nether
(or low) and Nedre (in Germanic languages) and Bas or Inferior (in
Romance languages) are in use in places all over Europe. They are
sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that
consecutively is indicated as Upper, Boven, Oben, Superior or Haut. In
the case of the
Low Countries / the
Netherlands the geographical
location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near
the sea. The geographical location of the upper region, however,
changed over time tremendously, depending on the location of the
economic and military power governing the
Low Countries area. The
Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream
Germania Inferior (nowadays part of
Belgium and the Netherlands) and
Germania Superior (nowadays part of Germany). The designation
'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy
of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But
this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in
nowadays Northern France.
The Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the
Low Countries in the 15th
century, used the term les pays de par deçà (~ the lands over here)
Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà (~ the lands
over there) for their original homeland:
Burgundy in present-day
east-central France. Under Habsburg rule, Les pays de par deçà
developed in pays d'embas (lands down-here), a deictic expression
in relation to other Habsburg possessions like
Hungary and Austria.
This was translated as Neder-landen in contemporary Dutch official
documents. From a regional point of view, Niderlant was also the
area between the Meuse and the lower
Rhine in the late Middle Ages.
The area known as Oberland (High country) was in this deictic context
considered to begin approximately at the nearby higher located
From the mid-sixteenth century on, "the Low Countries" and "the
Netherlands" lost their original deictic meaning. They were probably
the most commonly used names, besides Flanders, another pars pro toto
for the Low Countries, especially in Romance language speaking Europe.
Eighty Years' War
Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) divided the
Low Countries into an
Dutch Republic (or Latinised Belgica Foederata,
"Federated Netherlands", the precursor state of the Netherlands) and a
Southern Netherlands (Latinised Belgica Regia,
"Royal Netherlands", the precursor state of Belgium). The Low
Countries today is a designation that includes the countries the
Belgium and Luxembourg, although in most Romance
languages, the term "Low Countries" is used as the name for the
Netherlands specifically. It is used synonymous with the more neutral
and geopolitical term Benelux.
Main article: History of the Netherlands
Prehistory (before 800 BC)
Main articles: Paleolithic Europe,
Neolithic Europe, and Bronze Age
The Netherlands in 5500 BC
Bronze Age cultures in the Netherlands
Oak figurine found in Willemstad (4500 BC)
The prehistory of the area that is now the
Netherlands was largely
shaped by the sea and the rivers that constantly shifted the low-lying
geography. The oldest human (Neanderthal) traces were found in higher
soils, near Maastricht, from what is believed to be about 250,000
years ago. At the end of the Ice Age, the nomadic late Upper
Hamburg culture (c. 13.000–10.000 BC) hunted reindeer in
the area, using spears, but the later
Ahrensburg culture (c.
11.200–9500 BC) used bow and arrow. From Mesolithic Maglemosian-like
tribes (c. 8000 BC) the oldest canoe in the world was found in
Drenthe. Indigenous late Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from the
Swifterbant culture (c. 5600 BC) were related to the southern
Ertebølle culture and were strongly linked to rivers and
open water. Between 4800 and 4500 BC, the Swifterbant people
started to copy from the neighbouring
Linear Pottery culture
Linear Pottery culture the
practise of animal husbandry, and between 4300 and 4000 BC the
practise of agriculture. To Swifterbant related Funnelbeaker
culture (c. 4300–2800 BC) erected the dolmens, large stone grave
monuments found in Drenthe. There was a quick and smooth transition
from the Funnelbeaker farming culture to the pan-European Corded Ware
pastoralist culture (c. 2950 BC). Although in the southwest, the
Seine-Oise-Marne culture related
Vlaardingen culture (c. 2600 BC), an
apparently more primitive culture of hunter-gatherers, survived well
Neolithic period, until it was finally succeeded by the
Corded Ware culture as well.
Of the subsequent Bell
Beaker culture (2700–2100 BC) several regions
of origin have been postulated, notably the Iberian peninsula, the
Netherlands and Central Europe. They introduced metalwork in
copper, gold and later bronze and opened international trade routes
not seen before, reflected in the discoveries of copper artifacts, as
the metal is not normally found in Dutch soil. The many finds in
Drenthe of rare bronze objects, suggest that it was even a trading
centre in the Bronze Age (2000–800 BC). The Bell Beaker culture
developed locally into the Barbed-Wire
Beaker culture (2100–1800 BC)
and later the
Elp culture (c. 1800–800 BC), a Middle Bronze Age
archaeological culture having earthenware pottery of low quality as a
marker. The initial phase of the
Elp culture was characterised by
tumuli (1800–1200 BC) that were strongly tied to contemporary tumuli
Germany and Scandinavia, and were apparently related to
Tumulus culture in central Europe. The subsequent phase was that
of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then
buried in fields, following the customs of the Urnfield culture
(1200–800 BC). The southern region became dominated by the related
Hilversum culture (1800–800 BC), which apparently inherited cultural
ties with Britain of the previous Barbed-Wire Beaker culture.
Celts, Germanic tribes and Romans (800 BC–410 AD)
Main articles: Iron Age Europe, Celts, Germanic peoples, and Romans in
Diachronic distribution of
Celtic people from 500 BC
Expansion into the southern
Low Countries by 270 BC
From 800 BC onwards, the Iron Age Celtic
Hallstatt culture became
influential, replacing the Hilversum culture. Iron ore brought a
measure of prosperity, and was available throughout the country,
including bog iron. Smiths travelled from settlement to settlement
with bronze and iron, fabricating tools on demand. The King's grave of
Oss (700 BC) was found in a burial mound, the largest of its kind in
Europe and containing an iron sword with an inlay of gold and
The deteriorating climate in Scandinavia around 850 BC, that further
deteriorated around 650 BC, might have triggered migration of Germanic
tribes from the North. By the time this migration was complete, around
250 BC, a few general cultural and linguistic groups had
North Sea Germanic
Ingvaeones inhabited the
northern part of the Low Countries. They would later develop into the
Frisii and the early Saxons. A second grouping, the Weser-Rhine
Germanic (or Istvaeones), extended along the middle
Rhine and Weser
and inhabited the
Low Countries south of the great rivers. This group
consisted of tribes that would eventually develop into the Salian
Franks. Also the Celtic
La Tène culture
La Tène culture (c. 450 BC up to the
Roman conquest) had expanded over a wide range, including the southern
area of the Low Countries. Some scholars have speculated that even a
third ethnic identity and language, neither Germanic nor Celtic,
survived in the
Netherlands until the Roman period, the Iron Age
Nordwestblock culture, that eventually was being absorbed by
Celts to the south and the
Germanic peoples from the east.
Rhine Frontier of around 70 AD
During the Gallic Wars, the area south and west of the
conquered by Roman forces under
Julius Caesar from 57 BC to 53 BC.
Caesar describes two main Celtic tribes living in what is now the
southern Netherlands: the
Menapii and the Eburones. The
fixed as Rome's northern frontier around 12 AD. Notable towns would
arise along the Limes Germanicus:
Nijmegen and Voorburg. At first part
of Gallia Belgica, the area south of the Limes became part of the
Roman province of Germania Inferior. The area to the north of the
Rhine, inhabited by the Frisii, remained outside Roman rule (but not
its presence and control), while the Germanic border tribes of the
Cananefates served in the Roman cavalry. The Batavi
rose against the Romans in the
Batavian rebellion of 69 AD, but were
eventually defeated. The Batavi later merged with other tribes into
the confederation of the Salian Franks, whose identity emerged at the
first half of the third century.
Salian Franks appear in Roman
texts as both allies and enemies. They were forced by the
confederation of the
Saxons from the east to move over the
Roman territory in the fourth century. From their new base in West
Flanders and the Southwest Netherlands, they were raiding the English
Channel. Roman forces pacified the region, but did not expel the
Franks, who continued to be feared at least until the time of Julian
the Apostate (358), when
Salian Franks were allowed to settle as
foederati in Toxandria. After deteriorating climate conditions and
the Romans withdrawal, the
Frisii disappeared from the northern
Netherlands, probably forced to resettle within Roman territory as
laeti in c. 296. Coastal lands remained largely unpopulated for the
next two centuries.
Early Middle Ages (411–1000)
Frankish Kingdom and Frisian Kingdom
Saxons (710s AD)
After Roman government in the area collapsed, the
their territories in numerous kingdoms. By the 490s,
Clovis I had
conquered and united all these territories in the southern Netherlands
in one Frankish kingdom, and from there continued his conquests into
Gaul. During this expansion,
Franks migrating to the south eventually
Vulgar Latin of the local population. A widening
cultural divide grew with the
Franks remaining in their original
homeland in the north (i.e. southern
Netherlands and Flanders), who
kept on speaking Old Frankish, which by the ninth century had evolved
Old Low Franconian
Old Low Franconian or Old Dutch. A Dutch-French language
boundary came into existence.
Frankish expansion (481 to 870 AD)
To the north of the Franks, climatic conditions on the coast improved,
and during the
Migration Period the abandoned land was resettled
again, mostly by Saxons, but also by the closely related Angles, Jutes
and ancient Frisii. Many moved on to
England and came to be known
as Anglo-Saxons, but those who stayed would be referred to as Frisians
and their language as Frisian, named after the land that was once
inhabited by Frisii. Frisian was spoken along the entire southern
North Sea coast, and it is still the language most closely related to
English among the living languages of continental Europe. By the
seventh century a
Frisian Kingdom (650–734) under King
King Redbad emerged with
Utrecht as its centre of power, while
Dorestad was a flourishing trading place. Between 600 and
around 719 the cities were often fought over between the
the Franks. In 734, at the Battle of the Boarn, the
defeated after a series of wars. With the approval of the Franks, the
Willibrord converted the Frisian people to
Christianity. He established the Archdiocese of
Utrecht and became
bishop of the Frisians. However, his successor
Boniface was murdered
Frisians in Dokkum, in 754.
Rorik of Dorestad,
Viking ruler of
Friesland (romantic 1912 depiction)
Lotharingia after 959 with the language border dotted in red
Carolingian empire modeled itself after the Roman Empire
and controlled much of Western Europe. However, as of 843, it was
divided into three parts—East, Middle, and West Francia. Most of
Netherlands became part of Middle Francia, which was a
weak kingdom and subject of numerous partitions and annexation
attempts by its stronger neighbours. It comprised territories from
Frisia in the north to the Kingdom of
Italy in the south. Around 850,
Lothair I of
Middle Francia acknowledged the
Viking Rorik of Dorestad
as ruler of most of Frisia. When the kingdom of
Middle Francia was
partitioned in 855, the lands north of the
Alps passed to Lothair II
and consecutively were named Lotharingia. After he died in 869,
Lotharingia was partitioned, into Upper and Lower Lotharingia, the
latter part comprising the
Low Countries that technically became part
East Francia in 870, although it was effectively under the control
of Vikings, who raided the largely defenceless Frisian and Frankish
towns lying on the Frisian coast and along the rivers. Around 879,
Viking raided the Frisian lands, Godfrid, Duke of Frisia. The
Viking raids made the sway of French and German lords in the area
weak. Resistance to the Vikings, if any, came from local nobles, who
gained in stature as a result, and that lay the basis for the
disintegration of Lower
Lotharingia into semi-independent states. One
of these local nobles was Gerolf of Holland, who assumed lordship in
Frisia after he helped to assassinate Godfrid, and
Viking rule came to
High Middle Ages (1000–1384)
Main article: History of urban centers in the Low Countries
Roman Empire (the successor state of
East Francia and then
Lotharingia) ruled much of the
Low Countries in the 10th and 11th
century, but was not able to maintain political unity. Powerful local
nobles turned their cities, counties and duchies into private
kingdoms, that felt little sense of obligation to the emperor.
Holland, Hainaut, Flanders, Gelre, Brabant, and
Utrecht were in a
state of almost continual war or paradoxically formed personal unions.
The language and culture of most of the people who lived in the County
Holland were originally Frisian. As Frankish settlement progressed
Flanders and Brabant, the area quickly became Old Low Franconian
(or Old Dutch). The rest of
Frisia in the north (now
Groningen) continued to maintain its independence and had its own
institutions (collectively called the "Frisian freedom") and resented
the imposition of the feudal system.
Around 1000 AD, due to several agricultural developments, the economy
started to develop at a fast pace, and the higher productivity allowed
workers to farm more land or to become tradesmen. Towns grew around
monasteries and castles, and a mercantile middle class began to
develop in these urban areas, especially in
Flanders and later also
Brabant. Wealthy cities started to buy certain privileges for
themselves from the sovereign. In practice, this meant that
Antwerp became quasi-independent republics in their own right and
would later develop into some of the most important cities and ports
Around 1100 AD, farmers from
Utrecht began draining and
cultivating uninhabited swampy land in the western Netherlands, and
made the emergence of the County of
Holland as center of power
possible. The title of Count of
Holland were fought over in the Hook
and Cod Wars (Dutch: Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten) between 1350 and
1490. The Cod faction consisted of the more progressive cities, while
the Hook faction consisted of the conservative noblemen. These
noblemen invited the Duke
Philip the Good
Philip the Good of
Burgundy – who was also
Flanders – to conquer Holland.
Habsburg Netherlands (Spanish Netherlands)
Burgundian Netherlands and Habsburg Netherlands
The Four Days' Battle, 1–4 June 1666 (Second Anglo–Dutch War) by
Pieter Cornelisz van Soest
Low Countries in the late 14th century
Most of the Imperial and French fiefs in what is now the Netherlands
Belgium were united in a personal union by Philip the Good, duke
Burgundy in 1433. The House of Valois-
Burgundy and their Habsburg
heirs would rule the
Low Countries in the period from 1384 to 1581.
Before the Burgundian union, the Dutch identified themselves by the
town they lived in or their local duchy or county. The Burgundian
period is when the road to nationhood began. The new rulers defended
Dutch trading interests, which then developed rapidly. The fleets of
the County of
Holland defeated the fleets of the Hanseatic League
Amsterdam grew and in the 15th century became the
primary trading port in
Europe for grain from the Baltic region.
Amsterdam distributed grain to the major cities of Belgium, Northern
France and England. This trade was vital, because
Holland could no
longer produce enough grain to feed itself. Land drainage had caused
the peat of the former wetlands to reduce to a level that was too low
for drainage to be maintained.
William I, Prince of Orange (William the Silent), leader of the Dutch
Under Habsburg Charles V, ruler of the Holy
Roman Empire and King of
Spain, all fiefs in the current
Netherlands region were united into
the Seventeen Provinces, which also included most of present-day
Belgium, Luxembourg, and some adjacent land in what is now
Germany. In 1568, the
Eighty Years' War
Eighty Years' War between the Provinces and
their Spanish ruler began. In November and December 1572, all the
Naarden were slaughtered by the Spanish. From
11 December that year the city of
Haarlem was besieged, holding out
for seven months until 13 July 1573.
Oudewater was conquered by the
Spanish on 7 August 1575, and most of its inhabitants were killed.
Maastricht was besieged, sacked and destroyed twice in succession (in
1576 and 1579) by the Spanish.
In 1579, the northern half of the
Seventeen Provinces forged the Union
Utrecht in which they committed to support each other in their
defence against the Spanish army. The Union of
Utrecht is seen as
the foundation of the modern Netherlands. In 1581, the northern
provinces adopted the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of
independence in which the provinces officially deposed Philip II of
Spain as reigning monarch in the northern provinces.
Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of
England sympathised with the Dutch
struggle against the Spanish, and sent an army of 7,600 soldiers to
aid the Dutch in their war with the Catholic Spanish. The English
army under command of
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester was of no
real benefit to the Dutch rebellion. Philip II, the son of Charles
V, was not prepared to let them go easily, and war continued until
Spain under King Philip IV finally recognised the
independence of the seven north-western provinces in the Peace of
Münster. Parts of the southern provinces became de facto colonies of
the new republican-mercantile empire.
Dutch Republic (1581–1795)
Dutch Republic and Evolution of the Dutch Empire
After declaring their independence, the provinces of Holland, Zeeland,
Groningen, Friesland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and
Gelderland formed a
confederation. All these duchies, lordships and counties were
autonomous and had their own government, the States-Provincial. The
States General, the confederal government, were seated in The Hague
and consisted of representatives from each of the seven provinces. The
sparsely populated region of
Drenthe was part of the republic too,
although it was not considered one of the provinces. Moreover, the
Republic had come to occupy during the
Eighty Years' War
Eighty Years' War a number of
Generality Lands in Flanders, Brabant and Limburg. Their
population was mainly Roman Catholic, and these areas did not have a
governmental structure of their own, and were used as a buffer zone
between the Republic and the Spanish-controlled Southern
Winter landscape with skaters near the city of Kampen by Hendrick
Dam Square in 1656
In the Dutch Golden Age, spanning much of the 17th century, the Dutch
Empire grew to become one of the major seafaring and economic powers,
alongside Portugal, Spain,
France and England. Science, military, and
art (especially painting) were among the most acclaimed in the world.
By 1650, the Dutch owned 16,000 merchant ships. The Dutch East
India Company and the
Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company established colonies
and trading posts all over the world, including ruling the northern
Taiwan between 1624–1662 and 1664–1667. The Dutch
settlement in North America began with the founding of New Amsterdam
on the southern part of
Manhattan in 1614. In South Africa, the Dutch
Cape Colony in 1652. Dutch colonies in South America were
established along the many rivers in the fertile
Guyana plains, among
them Colony of
Surinam (now Suriname). In Asia, the Dutch established
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and the only western trading
post in Japan, Dejima.
Many economic historians regard the
Netherlands as the first
thoroughly capitalist country in the world. In early modern
had the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time
stock exchange. The inventiveness of the traders led to insurance and
retirement funds as well as phenomena such as the boom-bust cycle, the
world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636–1637,
and the world's first bear raider, Isaac le Maire, who forced prices
down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount. In
1672 – known in Dutch history as the
Rampjaar (Disaster Year) –
Dutch Republic was at war with France,
England and three German
Bishoprics simultaneously. At sea it could successfully prevent the
English and French navy entering the western shores. On land, however,
it was almost taken over internally by the advancing French and German
armies coming from the east. It managed to turn the tide by inundating
parts of Holland, but could never recover to its former glory again
and went into a state of general decline in the 18th century, with
economic competition from
England and long-standing rivalries between
the two main factions in Dutch society, the republican Staatsgezinden
and the supporters of the stadtholder the Prinsgezinden, as main
Batavian Republic and kingdom (1795–1890)
Main articles: Batavian Republic, Kingdom of Holland, United Kingdom
of the Netherlands, and Kingdom of the Netherlands
With the armed support of revolutionary France, Dutch republicans
proclaimed the Batavian Republic, modelled after the French Republic
and rendering the
Netherlands a unitary state on 19 January 1795. The
William V of Orange
William V of Orange had fled to England. But from 1806 to
1810, the Kingdom of
Holland was set up by
Napoleon Bonaparte as a
puppet kingdom governed by his brother
Louis Bonaparte to control the
Netherlands more effectively. However, King
Louis Bonaparte tried to
serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's, and he was forced to
abdicate on 1 July 1810. The Emperor sent in an army and the
Netherlands became part of the French Empire until the autumn of 1813,
when Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig.
A map of the Dutch colonial empire. Light green: territories
administered by or originating from territories administered by the
India Company; dark green: the Dutch West
India Company. In
yellow the territories occupied later, during the 19th century.
William Frederick, son of the last stadtholder, returned to the
Netherlands in 1813 and proclaimed himself Sovereign Prince of the
Netherlands. Two years later, the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna added the
Netherlands to the north to create a strong country on the
northern border of France. William Frederick raised this United
Netherlands to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself King
William I. In addition, William became hereditary Grand Duke of
Luxembourg in exchange for his German possessions. However, the
Southern Netherlands had been culturally separate from the north since
1581, and rebelled. The south gained independence in 1830 as Belgium
(recognised by the Northern
Netherlands in 1839 as the Kingdom of the
Netherlands was created by decree), while the personal union between
Luxembourg and the
Netherlands was severed in 1890, when William III
died with no surviving male heirs. Ascendancy laws prevented his
daughter Queen Wilhelmina from becoming the next Grand Duchess.
The submission of
Diponegoro to General De Kock at the end of the Java
War in 1830; painting by Nicolaas Pieneman
Belgian Revolution at home and the
Java War in the Dutch East
Indies brought the
Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy. However,
Cultivation System was introduced in 1830; in the Dutch East
Indies, 20% of village land had to be devoted to government crops for
export. The policy brought the Dutch enormous wealth and made the
colony self-sufficient. On the other hand, the colonies in the West
Indies (Dutch Guiana and
Curaçao and Dependencies), relied heavily on
African slaves in which the Dutch part is estimated at 5–7 percent,
or more than half a million Africans.
The Netherlands abolished
slavery in 1863. Furthermore, slaves in
Suriname would be fully
free only in 1873, since the law stipulated that there was to be a
mandatory 10-year transition. The Dutch were also one of the last
European countries to industrialise, in the second half of the 19th
World wars and beyond (1890–present)
History of the Netherlands
History of the Netherlands (1900–present), The
Netherlands in World War I, and
Netherlands in World War II
Rotterdam after German air raids in 1940
The Netherlands were able to remain neutral during World War I, in
part because the import of goods through the
essential to German survival, until the blockade by the British Royal
Navy in 1916. That changed in World War II, when Nazi Germany
Netherlands on 10 May 1940. The
Rotterdam Blitz forced the
main element of the Dutch army to surrender four days later. During
the occupation, over 100,000 Dutch Jews were rounded up, with the
help of a lot of Dutchmen, and transported to Nazi extermination
camps. Only a few of them survived. Dutch workers were conscripted for
forced labour in Germany, civilians who resisted were killed in
reprisal for attacks on German soldiers, and the countryside was
plundered for food. Although there were thousands of Dutch who risked
their lives by hiding Jews from the Germans, over 20,000 Dutch
fascists joined the Waffen SS, fighting on the Eastern Front.
Political collaborators were members of the fascist NSB, the only
legal political party in the occupied Netherlands. On 8 December 1941,
Dutch government-in-exile in London declared war on Japan, but
could not prevent the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies
(Indonesia). In 1944–45, the First Canadian Army, which included
Canadian, British and Polish troops, was responsible for liberating
much of the Netherlands. Soon after VE Day, the Dutch fought a
colonial war against the new Republic of Indonesia.
Former Prime Ministers Wim Kok, Dries van Agt, Piet de Jong, Ruud
Jan Peter Balkenende
Jan Peter Balkenende with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in
In 1954, the Charter for the
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands reformed the
political structure of the Netherlands, which was a result of
international pressure to carry out decolonisation. The Dutch colonies
Curaçao and Dependencies
Curaçao and Dependencies and the European country all
became countries within the Kingdom, on a basis of equality. Indonesia
had declared its independence in August 1945 (recognised in 1949), and
thus was never part of the reformed Kingdom.
Suriname followed in
1975. After the war the
Netherlands left behind an era of neutrality
and gained closer ties with neighboring states.
The Netherlands was
one of the founding members of the Benelux, the NATO,
Euratom and the
European Coal and Steel Community, which would evolve into the EEC
(Common Market) and later the European Union.
Government-encouraged emigration efforts to reduce population density
prompted some 500,000
Dutch people to leave the country after the
war. The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great social and cultural
change, such as rapid ontzuiling (end of pillarisation), a term that
describes the decay of the old divisions along political and religious
lines. Youths, and students in particular, rejected traditional mores
and pushed for change in matters such as women's rights, sexuality,
disarmament and environmental issues. In 2002, the euro was introduced
as fiat money and in 2010, the
Netherlands Antilles was dissolved.
Referendums were held on each island to determine their future status.
As a result, the islands of Bonaire,
Sint Eustatius and
Saba (the BES
islands) were to obtain closer ties with the Netherlands. This led to
the incorporation of these three islands into the country of the
Netherlands as special municipalities upon the dissolution of the
Netherlands Antilles. The special municipalities are collectively
known as the Caribbean Netherlands.
Main article: Geography of the Netherlands
See also: Low Countries
A relief map of the Netherlands
The European area of the
Netherlands lies between latitudes 50° and
54° N, and longitudes 3° and 8° E.
The Netherlands is geographically a very low and flat country, with
about 26% of its area and 21% of its population located below
sea level, and only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above
sea level. The country is for the most part flat, with the
exception of foothills in the far southeast, up to a height of no more
than 321 metres, and some low hill ranges in the central parts. Most
of the areas below sea level are man-made, caused by peat extraction
or achieved through land reclamation. Since the late 16th century,
large polder areas are preserved through elaborate drainage systems
that include dikes, canals and pumping stations. Nearly 17% of the
country's land area is reclaimed from the sea and from lakes.
Much of the country was originally formed by the estuaries of three
large European rivers: the
Rhine (Rijn), the Meuse (Maas) and the
Scheldt (Schelde), as well as their tributaries. The south-western
part of the
Netherlands is to this day a river delta of these three
rivers, the Rhine-Meuse-
The Netherlands is divided into north and south parts by the Rhine,
the Waal, its main tributary branch, and the Meuse. In the past these
rivers functioned as a natural barrier between fiefdoms and hence
historically created a cultural divide, as is evident in some phonetic
traits that are recognisable on either side of what the Dutch call
their "Great Rivers" (de Grote Rivieren). Another significant branch
of the Rhine, the
IJssel river, discharges into
Lake IJssel, the
Zuiderzee ('southern sea'). Just like the previous, this river
forms a linguistic divide: people to the northeast of this river speak
Dutch Low Saxon
Dutch Low Saxon dialects (except for the province of Friesland, which
has its own language).
Main articles: Flood control in the Netherlands, Floods in the
North Sea flood of 1953, and Storm tides of the North Sea
Christmas flood of 1717
Christmas flood of 1717 was the result of a northwesterly storm.
In total, approximately 14,000 people drowned.
Over the centuries, the Dutch coastline has changed considerably as a
result of natural disasters and human intervention. Most notable in
terms of land loss was the storm of 1134, which created the
Zeeland in the south-west.
On 14 December 1287,
St. Lucia's flood affected the
Germany, killing more than 50,000 people in one of the most
destructive floods in recorded history. The St. Elizabeth flood of
1421 and the mismanagement in its aftermath destroyed a newly
reclaimed polder, replacing it with the 72-square-kilometre
(28 sq mi)
Biesbosch tidal floodplains in the south-centre.
North Sea flood of early February 1953 caused the collapse of
several dikes in the south-west of the Netherlands; more than 1,800
people drowned in the flood. The Dutch government subsequently
instituted a large-scale programme, the "Delta Works", to protect the
country against future flooding, which was completed over a period of
more than thirty years.
Map illustrating areas of the
Netherlands below sea level
The impact of disasters was to an extent increased through human
activity. Relatively high-lying swampland was drained to be used as
farmland. The drainage caused the fertile peat to contract and ground
levels to drop, upon which groundwater levels were lowered to
compensate for the drop in ground level, causing the underlying peat
to contract further. Additionally, until the 19th century peat was
mined, dried, and used for fuel, further exacerbating the problem.
Centuries of extensive and poorly controlled peat extraction lowered
an already low land surface by several metres. Even in flooded areas,
peat extraction continued through turf dredging.
Zaanse Schans, a touristic Dutch village built in an aquatic area
Because of the flooding, farming was difficult, which encouraged
foreign trade, the result of which was that the Dutch were involved in
world affairs since the early 14th/15th century.
A polder at 5.53 metres below sea level
To guard against floods, a series of defences against the water were
contrived. In the first millennium AD, villages and farmhouses were
built on man-made hills called terps. Later, these terps were
connected by dikes. In the 12th century, local government agencies
called "waterschappen" ("water boards") or "hoogheemraadschappen"
("high home councils") started to appear, whose job it was to maintain
the water level and to protect a region from floods; these agencies
continue to exist. As the ground level dropped, the dikes by necessity
grew and merged into an integrated system. By the 13th century
windmills had come into use to pump water out of areas below sea
level. The windmills were later used to drain lakes, creating the
In 1932 the
Afsluitdijk ("Closure Dike") was completed, blocking the
Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) from the
North Sea and thus creating
IJssel Lake). It became part of the larger Zuiderzee
Works in which four polders totalling 2,500 square kilometres
(965 sq mi) were reclaimed from the sea.
The Netherlands is one of the countries that may suffer most from
climate change. Not only is the rising sea a problem, but erratic
weather patterns may cause the rivers to overflow.
Delta Works and Flood control in the Netherlands
Delta Works are located in the provinces of South
After the 1953 disaster, the
Delta Works were constructed, a
comprehensive set of civil works throughout the Dutch coast. The
project started in 1958 and was largely completed in 1997 with the
completion of the Maeslantkering. New projects have been periodically
started since to renovate and renew the Delta Works. A main goal of
the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in South Holland
Zeeland to once per 10,000 years (compared to 1 per 4000 years for
the rest of the country). This was achieved by raising 3,000
kilometres (1,864 mi) of outer sea-dikes and 10,000 kilometres
(6,214 mi) of inner, canal, and river dikes, and by closing off
the sea estuaries of the
Zeeland province. New risk assessments
occasionally show problems requiring additional Delta project dike
reinforcements. The Delta project is considered by the American
Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern
The Haringvlietdam, completed in 1971
It is anticipated that global warming in the 21st century will result
in a rise in sea level.
The Netherlands is actively preparing for a
sea level rise. A politically neutral Delta Commission has formulated
an action plan to cope with a sea level rise of 1.10 metres
(3.6 ft) and a simultaneous land height decline of 10 centimetres
(3.9 in). The plan encompasses the reinforcement of the existing
coastal defenses like dikes and dunes with 1.30 metres (4.3 ft)
of additional flood protection.
Climate change will not only threaten
Netherlands from the sea side, but could also alter rain fall
patterns and river run-off. To protect the country from river
flooding, another program is already being executed. The Room for the
River plan grants more flow space to rivers, protects the major
populated areas and allows for periodic flooding of indefensible
lands. The few residents who lived in these so-called "overflow areas"
have been moved to higher ground, with some of that ground having been
raised above anticipated flood levels.
The predominant wind direction in the
Netherlands is southwest, which
causes a moderate maritime climate, with warm summers and cool
winters, and typically high humidity. This is especially true close to
the Dutch coastline, where the difference in temperature between
summer and winter, as well as between day and night is noticeably
smaller than it is in the southeast of the country.
The following tables are based on mean measurements by the KNMI
weather station in
De Bilt between 1981 and 2010:
Climate data for
De Bilt (1981–2010 averages), all KNMI locations
(1901–2011 extremes), snowy days: (1971–2000 averages).
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average snowy days (≥ 0 cm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Ice days—maximum temperature below 0 °C
(32 °F)—usually occur from December until February, with the
occasional rare ice day prior to or after that period. Freezing
days—minimum temperature below 0 °C (32 °F)—occur much
more often, usually ranging from mid-November to late March, but not
rarely measured as early as mid-October and as late as mid-May. If one
chooses the height of measurement to be 10 cm (4 in) above
ground instead of 150 cm (59 in), one may even find such
temperatures in the middle of the summer. On average, snow can occur
from November to April, but sometimes occurs in May or October too.
Warm days—maximum temperature above 20 °C (68 °F)—are
usually found in April to October, but in some parts of the country
these warm days can also occur in March, or even sometimes in November
or February (usually not in De Bilt, however). Summer days—maximum
temperature above 25 °C (77 °F)—are usually measured in
De Bilt from May until September, tropical days—maximum temperature
above 30 °C (86 °F)—are rare and usually occur only in
June to August.
Precipitation throughout the year is distributed relatively equally
each month. Summer and autumn months tend to gather a little more
precipitation than the other months, mainly because of the intensity
of the rainfall rather than the frequency of rain days (this is
especially the case in summer, when lightning is also much more
Lisse, South Holland
The number of sunshine hours is affected by the fact that because of
the geographical latitude, the length of the days varies between
barely eight hours in December and nearly 17 hours in June.
List of national parks of the Netherlands
List of national parks of the Netherlands and
List of extinct animals of the Netherlands
The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature
reserves, that include lakes, heathland, woods, dunes and other
habitats. Most of these are owned by Staatsbosbeheer, the national
department for forestry and nature conservation and Natuurmonumenten
(literally 'Natures monuments'), a private organisation that buys,
protects and manages nature reserves. The Dutch part of the Wadden Sea
in the north, with its tidal flats and wetlands, is rich in biological
diversity, and was declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Nature Site in
Common seals on Terschelling, a
Wadden Sea island
The Oosterschelde, formerly the northeast estuary of the river Scheldt
was designated a national park in 2002, thereby making it the largest
national park in the
Netherlands at an area of 370 square kilometres
(140 sq mi). It consists primarily of the salt waters of the
Oosterschelde, but also includes mud flats, meadows, and shoals.
Because of the large variety of sea life, including unique regional
species, the park is popular with Scuba divers. Other activities
include sailing, fishing, cycling, and bird watching.
Netherlands is shared between the Atlantic
European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region
within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for
Nature, the territory of the
Netherlands belongs to the ecoregion of
Atlantic mixed forests. In 1871, the last old original natural woods
were cut down, and most woods today are planted monocultures of trees
Scots pine and trees that are not native to the
Netherlands. These woods were planted on
anthropogenic heaths and sand-drifts (overgrazed heaths) (Veluwe).
Main articles: Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius
Sint Maarten have a constituent country
Caribbean Netherlands are three islands designated as
special municipalities of the Netherlands. The islands are part of the
Lesser Antilles and have maritime borders with
Barthélemy and Saint Martin), the
United Kingdom (Anguilla),
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis and the
United States (U.S. Virgin
Underwater life of Klein Bonaire
Within this island group:
Bonaire is part of the ABC islands within the
Leeward Antilles island
chain off the Venezuelan coast. The
Leeward Antilles have a mixed
volcanic and coral origin.
Sint Eustatius are part of the SSS islands. They are located
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Although in the English
language they are considered part of the Leeward Islands, French,
Spanish, Dutch and the English spoken locally consider them part of
the Windward Islands. The
Windward Islands are all of volcanic origin
and hilly, leaving little ground suitable for agriculture. The highest
point is Mount Scenery, 887 metres (2,910 ft), on Saba. This is
the highest point in the country, and is also the highest point of the
entire Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The islands of the
Caribbean Netherlands enjoy a tropical climate with
warm weather all year round. The
Leeward Antilles are warmer and drier
than the Windward islands. In summer, the
Windward Islands can be
subject to hurricanes.
The Binnenhof, where the lower and upper houses of the States General
The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815, and due
to the efforts of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke, a parliamentary democracy
The Netherlands is described as a consociational state.
Dutch politics and governance are characterised by an effort to
achieve broad consensus on important issues, within both the political
community and society as a whole. In 2010,
The Economist ranked the
Netherlands as the 10th most democratic country in the world.
The monarch is the head of state, at present King Willem-Alexander of
the Netherlands. Constitutionally, the position is equipped with
limited powers. By law, the King has the right to be periodically
briefed and consulted on government affairs. Depending on the
personalities and relationships of the King and the ministers, the
monarch might have influence beyond the power granted by the
Constitution of the Netherlands.
Willem-Alexander, King of the
Netherlands since April 2013
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Prime Minister of the Netherlands since October 2010
The executive power is formed by the Council of Ministers, the
deliberative organ of the Dutch cabinet. The cabinet usually consists
of 13 to 16 ministers and a varying number of state secretaries. One
to three ministers are ministers without portfolio. The head of
government is the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, who often is the
leader of the largest party of the coalition. The Prime Minister is a
primus inter pares, with no explicit powers beyond those of the other
Mark Rutte has been Prime Minister since October 2010; the
Prime Minister had been the leader of the largest party continuously
The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament, the States
General, which also has legislative powers. The 150 members of the
House of Representatives, the lower house, are elected in direct
elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation.
These are held every four years, or sooner in case the cabinet falls
(for example: when one of the chambers carries a motion of no
confidence, the cabinet offers its resignation to the monarch). The
States-Provincial are directly elected every four years as well. The
members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the
Senate, the upper house, which has the power to reject laws, but not
propose or amend them. Both houses send members to the Benelux
Parliament, a consultative council.
Both trade unions and employers organisations are consulted beforehand
in policymaking in the financial, economic and social areas. They meet
regularly with government in the Social-Economic Council. This body
advises government and its advice cannot be put aside easily.
The Netherlands has a long tradition of social tolerance. In the 18th
century, while the
Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church was the state religion,
Catholicism, other forms of Protestantism, such as Baptists and
Judaism were tolerated but discriminated against.
In the late 19th century this Dutch tradition of religious tolerance
transformed into a system of pillarisation, in which religious groups
coexisted separately and only interacted at the level of government.
This tradition of tolerance influences Dutch criminal justice policies
on recreational drugs, prostitution, LGBT rights, euthanasia, and
abortion, which are among the most liberal in the world.
Political parties of the Netherlands
Political parties of the Netherlands and Politics of
The Netherlands has a culture of respectful and friendly debate; here
(from left to right) members of the House of Representatives Sander de
Ineke van Gent
Ineke van Gent (GL),
Han ten Broeke
Han ten Broeke (VVD), Kees Verhoeven
Farshad Bashir (SP), 2010
Because of the multi-party system, no single party has held a majority
in parliament since the 19th century, and coalition cabinets had to be
formed. Since suffrage became universal in 1917, the Dutch political
system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the
strongest of which were the Christian Democrats, currently represented
Christian Democratic Appeal
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA); second were the Social
Democrats, represented by the Labour Party (PvdA); and third were the
Liberals, of which the right-wing People's
Party for Freedom
Party for Freedom and
Democracy (VVD) is the main representative.
These parties co-operated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian
Democrats had always been a partner: so either a centre-left coalition
of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats was ruling or a
centre-right coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals. In the
1970s, the party system became more volatile: the Christian Democratic
parties lost seats, while new parties became successful, such as the
radical democrat and progressive liberal
Democrats 66 (D66) or the
In the 1994 election, the CDA lost its dominant position. A "purple"
cabinet was formed by the VVD, D66, and PvdA. In the 2002 elections,
this cabinet lost its majority, because of an increased support for
the CDA and the rise of the right LPF, a new political party, around
Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated a week before the elections. A
short-lived cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD, and LPF, which was led by
the CDA Leader Jan Peter Balkenende. After the 2003 elections, in
which the LPF lost most of its seats, a cabinet was formed by the CDA,
VVD, and D66. The cabinet initiated an ambitious programme of
reforming the welfare state, the healthcare system, and immigration
In June 2006, the cabinet fell after D66 voted in favour of a motion
of no confidence against the Minister of Immigration and Integration,
Rita Verdonk, who had instigated an investigation of the asylum
procedure of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a
VVD MP. A caretaker cabinet was formed
by the CDA and VVD, and general elections were held on 22 November
2006. In these elections, the CDA remained the largest party and the
Socialist Party made the largest gains. The formation of a new cabinet
took three months, resulting in a coalition of CDA, PvdA, and
On 20 February 2010, the cabinet fell when the PvdA refused to prolong
the involvement of the Dutch Army in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Snap
elections were held on 9 June 2010, with devastating results for the
previously largest party, the CDA, which lost about half of its seats,
resulting in 21 seats. The
VVD became the largest party with 31 seats,
closely followed by the PvdA with 30 seats. The big winner of the 2010
elections was Geert Wilders, whose right wing PVV, the
ideological successor to the LPF, more than doubled its number of
seats. Negotiation talks for a new government resulted in a
minority government, led by
VVD (a first) in coalition with CDA, which
was sworn in on 14 October 2010. This unprecedented minority
government was supported by PVV, but proved ultimately to be
unstable, when on 21 April 2012, Wilders, leader of PVV,
unexpectedly 'torpedoed seven weeks of austerity talks' on new
austerity measures, paving the way for early elections.
VVD and PvdA won a majority in the House of Representatives during the
2012 general election. On 5 November 2012 they formed the second Rutte
After the 2017 general election, VVD, Christian Democratic Appeal,
Democrats 66 and
ChristenUnie formed the third Rutte cabinet.
Government of the Netherlands
Main articles: Provinces of the Netherlands, Municipalities of the
Netherlands, Water board (Netherlands), and Public body (Netherlands)
Provinces and special municipalities of the Netherlands
The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces, each under a King's
Commissioner (Commissaris van de Koning), except for Limburg province
where the position is named Governor (Gouverneur) but has the same
tasks. All provinces are divided into municipalities (gemeenten), of
which there are 388 (2017).
The country is also subdivided into 24 water districts, governed by a
water board (waterschap or hoogheemraadschap), each having authority
in matters concerning water management. The creation of water
boards actually pre-dates that of the nation itself, the first
appearing in 1196. The Dutch water boards are among the oldest
democratic entities in the world still in existence. Direct elections
of the water boards take place every 4 years.
The administrative structure on the 3 BES islands, collectively known
as the Caribbean Netherlands, is different. These islands have the
status of openbare lichamen (public bodies) rather than municipalities
and as administrative units are generally referred to as special
municipalities. They are not part of a province.
The Netherlands has several Belgian exclaves and within those even
several enclaves which are still part of the province of North
Brabant. Because the
Belgium are both in the Schengen
Area, citizens of respective countries can travel through these
Peace Palace (Vredespaleis), in The Hague
Foreign relations of the Netherlands
Foreign relations of the Netherlands and List of
diplomatic missions of the Netherlands
The history of Dutch foreign policy has been characterised by its
neutrality. Since World War II, the
Netherlands has become a member of
a large number of international organisations, most prominently the
NATO and the EU. The Dutch economy is very open and relies
strongly on international trade.
The foreign policy of the
Netherlands is based on four basic
commitments: to Atlantic co-operation, to European integration, to
international development and to international law. One of the more
controversial international issues surrounding the
Netherlands is its
liberal policy towards soft drugs.
During and after the Dutch Golden Age, the
Dutch people built up a
commercial and colonial empire. The most important colonies were
Suriname and Indonesia.
Indonesia became independent after
Indonesian National Revolution
Indonesian National Revolution in the 1940s following a war of
independence, international pressure and several United Nations
Security Council resolutions.
Suriname became independent in 1975. The
historical ties inherited from its colonial past still influence the
foreign relations of the Netherlands. In addition, many people from
these countries are living permanently in the Netherlands.
Main article: Armed forces of the Netherlands
Rob Bauer is the current Chief of Defence.
The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it
was first established as such by
Maurice of Nassau in the late 1500s.
The Dutch army was used throughout the Dutch Empire. After the defeat
of Napoleon, the Dutch army was transformed into a conscription army.
The army was unsuccessfully deployed during the
Belgian Revolution in
1830. After 1830, it was deployed mainly in the Dutch colonies, as the
Netherlands remained neutral in European wars (including the First
World War), until the
Netherlands was invaded in
World War II
World War II and
quickly defeated by the Wehrmacht in May 1940.
Zr. Ms. Holland, a
Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy offshore patrol vessel
The Netherlands abandoned its neutrality in 1948 when it signed the
Treaty of Brussels, and became a founding member of
NATO in 1949. The
Dutch military was therefore part of the
NATO strength in Cold War
Europe, deploying its army to several bases in Germany. More than
3,000 Dutch soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division of the
United States Army during the Korean War. In 1996 conscription was
suspended, and the Dutch army was once again transformed into a
professional army. Since the 1990s the Dutch army has been involved in
Bosnian War and the
Kosovo War, it held a province in
the defeat of Saddam Hussein, and it was engaged in Afghanistan.
The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the
prefix Koninklijke (Royal):
Koninklijke Landmacht (KL), the Royal
Koninklijke Marine (KM), the Royal
Netherlands Navy, including the
Naval Air Service and Marine Corps;
Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu), the Royal
Netherlands Air Force;
Koninklijke Marechaussee (KMar), the
Royal Marechaussee (Military
Police), tasks include military police and border control.
The submarine service are open to women as of 1 January 2017. The
Korps Commandotroepen, the
Special Operations Force of the Netherlands
Army, is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical
demands for initial training, it is almost impossible for women to
become a commando. The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs more
than 70,000 personnel, including over 20,000 civilians and over 50,000
military personnel. In April 2011 the government announced a
major reduction in its military because of a cut in government
expenditure, including a decrease in the number of tanks, fighter
aircraft, naval ships and senior officials.
Main article: Economy of the Netherlands
The Port of
Rotterdam is Europe's largest port.
The Netherlands has a developed economy and has been playing a special
role in the European economy for many centuries. Since the 16th
century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have been
leading sectors of the Dutch economy.
The Netherlands has a high level
of economic freedom.
The Netherlands is one of the top countries in
Global Enabling Trade Report
Global Enabling Trade Report (2nd in 2016), and was ranked the
fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss International
Management Development in 2017. In addition, the
country was ranked the third most innovative in the world in the 2017
Global Innovation Index.
As of 2016[update], the key trading partners of the
Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, France,
China and Russia.
The Netherlands is one of the world's 10
leading exporting countries. Foodstuffs form the largest industrial
sector. Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy,
machinery, electrical goods, trade, services and tourism. Examples of
international Dutch companies operating in
Randstad, Unilever, Heineken, KLM, financial services (ING, ABN AMRO,
Rabobank), chemicals (DSM, AKZO), petroleum refining (Royal Dutch
Shell), electronical machinery (Philips, ASML), and satellite
The Netherlands has the 17th-largest economy in the world, and ranks
10th in GDP (nominal) per capita. Between 1997 and 2000 annual
economic growth (GDP) averaged nearly 4%, well above the European
average. Growth slowed considerably from 2001 to 2005 with the global
economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4.1% in the third quarter of
2007. In May 2013, inflation was at 2.8% per year. In April 2013,
unemployment was at 8.2% (or 6.7% following the ILO definition) of the
labour force. In April 2017, this was reduced to 5.1%.
In Q3 and Q4 2011, the Dutch economy contracted by 0.4% and 0.7%,
respectively, because of European Debt Crisis, while in Q4 the
Eurozone economy shrunk by 0.3%.
The Netherlands also has a
relatively low GINI coefficient of 0.326. Despite ranking 7th in GDP
UNICEF ranked the
Netherlands 1st in child well-being in
rich countries, both in 2007 and in 2013. On the Index
of Economic Freedom
Netherlands is the 13th most free market
capitalist economy out of 157 surveyed countries.
Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the
Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX), part of
Euronext, is the world's oldest stock exchange and is one of Europe's
largest bourses. It is situated near
Dam Square in the city's centre.
As a founding member of the euro, the
Netherlands replaced (for
accounting purposes) its former currency, the "gulden" (guilder), on 1
January 1999, along with 15 other adopters of the euro. Actual euro
coins and banknotes followed on 1 January 2002. One euro was
equivalent to 2.20371 Dutch guilders. In the Caribbean Netherlands,
United States dollar
United States dollar is used instead of the euro.
The Netherlands is part of a monetary union, the
Eurozone (dark blue),
and of the EU single market.
The Dutch location gives it prime access to markets in the UK and
Germany, with the Port of
Rotterdam being the largest port in Europe.
Other important parts of the economy are international trade (Dutch
colonialism started with co-operative private enterprises such as the
India Company), banking and transport. The Netherlands
successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job
growth long before its European partners.
Amsterdam is the 5th-busiest
tourist destination in
Europe with more than 4.2 million
international visitors. Since the enlargement of the EU large
numbers of migrant workers have arrived in the
Central and Eastern Europe.
Of economic importance is BrabantStad, a partnership between the
municipalities of Breda, Eindhoven, Helmond,
Tilburg and the province of North Brabant.
BrabantStad is the fastest
growing economic region in the Netherlands, with the Brabantse
Stedenrij (polycentric city region) as one of the national top
regions, behind the
Randstad megalopolis (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The
Hague and Utrecht). The partnership in
North Brabant aims to form
an urban network and to make the province explicitly known as a
leading knowledge region within Europe. With a total of
1.5 million people and 20% of the industrial production in the
BrabantStad one of the major economical important,
metropolitan regions of the Netherlands. Of all the money that goes to
research and development in the Netherlands, one third is spent in
Eindhoven. A quarter of the jobs in the region are in technology and
Of all European patent applications in the field of physics and
electronics about eight per cent is from North Brabant. In the
BrabantStad is part of the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen
Triangle (ELAT). This economic cooperation agreement between three
cities in three countries has created one of the most innovative
regions in the
European Union (measured in terms of money invested in
technology and knowledge economy). The economic success of this
region is important for the international competitiveness of the
Netherlands; Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and
Eindhoven form together the
foundation of the Dutch economy.
The Netherlands 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 economy experienced a
slowdown in 2005, but in 2006 recovered to the fastest pace in six
years on the back of increased exports and strong investment. The pace
of job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007.
The Netherlands is the
fourth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World
Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.
Natural gas concessions in the Netherlands. Today the Netherlands
accounts for more than 25% of all Natural Gas reserves in the EU.
Beginning in the 1950s, the
Netherlands discovered huge natural gas
resources. The sale of natural gas generated enormous revenues for the
Netherlands for decades, adding hundreds of billions of euros to the
government's budget. However, the unforeseen consequences of the
country's huge energy wealth impacted the competitiveness of other
sectors of the economy, leading to the theory of Dutch disease.
Apart from coal and gas, the country has no mining resources. The last
coal mine was closed in 1974. The
Groningen gas field, one of the
largest natural gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren.
Exploitation of this field has resulted in €159 billion in
revenue since the mid-1970s. The field is operated by
government-owned Gasunie and output is jointly exploited by the
government, Royal Dutch Shell, and Exxon Mobil through NAM
(Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij). "Gas extraction has resulted in
increasingly strong earth tremors, some measuring as much as 3.6 on
the Richter magnitude scale. The cost of damage repairs, structural
improvements to buildings, and compensation for home value decreases
has been estimated at 6.5 billion euros. Around 35,000 homes are said
to be affected."
The Netherlands have an estimated 25% of natural
gas reserves in the EU.
Cows near the city of Arnhem
The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong
focus on international exports. It employs about 4% of the Dutch
labour force but produces large surpluses for the food-processing
industry and accounts for 21 percent of the Dutch total export
value. The Dutch rank first in the
European Union and second
worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind only the United
States, with exports earning €80.7 billion in 2014,
up from €75.4 billion in 2012.
The Netherlands has, at some time in recent history, supplied one
quarter of all of the world's exported tomatoes, and trade of
one-third of the world's exports of chilis, tomatoes and cucumbers
goes through the country.
The Netherlands also exports one-fifteenth
of the world's apples.
Aside from that, a significant portion of Dutch agricultural exports
consists of fresh-cut plants, flowers, and flower bulbs, with the
Netherlands exporting two-thirds of the world's total.
Main article: Transport in the Netherlands
A1 motorway, in Gelderland
Bike passage at
Rotterdam Centraal station
Mobility on Dutch roads has grown continuously since the 1950s and now
exceeds 200 billion km travelled per year, three quarters of
which are done by car. Around half of all trips in the
Netherlands are made by car, 25% by bicycle, 20% walking, and 5% by
public transport. With a total road network of 139,295 km,
which includes 2,758 km of expressways, the
one of the densest road networks in the world—much denser than
Germany and France, but still not as dense as Belgium.
About 13% of all distance is travelled by public transport, the
majority of which by train. Like in many other European
countries, the Dutch rail network of 3,013 route km is also
rather dense. The network is mostly focused on passenger rail
services and connects all major towns and cities. Trains are frequent,
with one or two trains per hour on lesser lines, two to four trains
per hour on average, and up to eight trains an hour on the busiest
A regional train operated by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. Almost
as many kilometres are covered by bicycle as by train. The Dutch
are estimated to have at least 18 million bicycles, which
makes more than one per capita, and twice as many as the circa 9
million motor vehicles on the road. In 2013, the European
Cyclists' Federation ranked both the
Denmark as the
most bike-friendly countries in Europe, but more of the Dutch
(36%) than of the Danes (23%) list the bike as their most frequent
mode of transport on a typical day.[nb 2] Cycling infrastructure
is comprehensive. Busy roads have received some 35,000 km of
dedicated cycle tracks, physically segregated from motorised
traffic. Busy junctions are often equipped with bicycle-specific
traffic lights. There are large bicycle parking facilities,
particularly in city centres and at train stations.
The Port of
Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, with the rivers
Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream
reaching to Basel, Switzerland, and into France. As of 2013[update],
Rotterdam was the world's eighth largest container port handling 440.5
million metric tonnes of cargo annually. The port's main
activities are petrochemical industries and general cargo handling and
transshipment. The harbour functions as an important transit point for
bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas. From
Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road.
In 2007, the Betuweroute, a new fast freight railway from
Germany, was completed.
Schiphol Airport, just southwest of Amsterdam, is the main
international airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest
Europe in terms of passengers. In 2016, the Royal Schiphol
Group airports handled 70 million passengers.
As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Dutch
government initiated a plan to establish over 200 recharging stations
for electric vehicles across the country by 2015. The rollout will be
undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and
Dutch startup Fastned, and will aim to provide at least one station
within a 50-kilometre radius (30 miles) from every home in the
Main article: Demographics of the Netherlands
The population of the
Netherlands from 1900 to 2000
The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,093,000 as of
January 2017. It is the most densely populated country in Europe,
except for very small states like Monaco, Vatican City, San Marino,
and Liechtenstein. It is the 63rd most populous country in the world.
Between 1900 and 1950, the country's population almost doubled from
5.1 to 10 million. From 1950 to 2000, the population further
increased, to 15.9 million, though this represented a lower rate
of population growth. The estimated growth rate in 2013[update]
The fertility rate in the
Netherlands is 1.78 children per woman (2013
estimate), which is high compared with many other European
countries, but below the rate of 2.1 children per woman required for
natural population replacement.
Life expectancy is high in the
Netherlands: 83.21 years for newborn girls and 78.93 for boys (2013
est.). The country has a migration rate of 1.99 migrants per
1,000 inhabitants per year.
The majority of the population of the
Netherlands is ethnically Dutch.
According to a 2005 estimate, the population was 80.9% Dutch, 2.4%
Indonesian, 2.4% German, 2.2% Turkish, 2.0% Surinamese, 1.9% Moroccan,
0.8% Antillean and Aruban, and 7.4% others. Some 150,000 to
200,000 people living in the
Netherlands are expatriates, mostly
concentrated in and around
Amsterdam and The Hague, now constituting
almost 10% of the population of these cities.
The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, with an average
height of 1.81 metres (5 ft 11.3 in) for adult males and
1.67 metres (5 ft 5.7 in) for adult females in 2009.
People in the south are on average about 2 cm (0.8 inches)
shorter than those in the north.
Rotterdam almost half the population has an immigrant background.
According to Eurostat, in 2010 there were 1.8 million foreign-born
residents in the Netherlands, corresponding to 11.1% of the total
population. Of these, 1.4 million (8.5%) were born outside the EU and
0.428 million (2.6%) were born in another EU Member State. On 21
November 2016, there were 3.8 million residents in the Netherlands
with at least one foreign-born parent ("migration background").
Over half the young people in
Rotterdam have a
non-western background. Dutch people, or descendants of Dutch
people, are also found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in
South Africa and the United States. According to
United States Census Bureau (2006), more than 5 million
Americans claim total or partial Dutch ancestry. There are close
to 3 million Dutch-descended Afrikaners living in South
Africa. In 1940, there were 290,000
Europeans and Eurasians in
Indonesia, but most have since left the country.
The Netherlands is the 24th most densely populated country in the
world, with 408.53 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,058/sq mi)
or – if only the land area is counted (33,883 km2,
13,082 sq mi) – 500.89 inhabitants per square kilometre
(1,297/sq mi). When the land area of the provinces only is
counted (33,718 km2, 13,019 sq mi), a number of 500
inhabitants per square kilometre (1,295/sq mi) was reached in the
first half of 2014. The
Randstad is the country's largest conurbation
located in the west of the country and contains the four largest
Amsterdam in the province North Holland,
Rotterdam and The
Hague in the province South Holland, and
Utrecht in the province
Randstad has a population of 7 million inhabitants
and is the 5th largest metropolitan area in Europe. According to Dutch
Central Statistics Bureau, in 2015, 28 percent of Dutch population had
a spendable income above 40,000 euros (which does not include
spendings on health care or education).
Largest cities or towns in the Netherlands
Functional urban areas
Density in the Netherlands
Functional urban areas
Main article: Languages of the Netherlands
Knowledge of foreign languages in the Netherlands, in percent of the
population over 15, 2006
The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by the vast majority
of the inhabitants. Besides Dutch, West Frisian is recognised as a
second official language in the northern province of Friesland
(Fryslân in West Frisian). West Frisian has a formal status for
government correspondence in that province. In the European part of
the kingdom two other regional languages are recognised under the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The first of these recognised regional languages is Low Saxon
(Nedersaksisch in Dutch). Low Saxon consists of several dialects
spoken in the north and east, like
Twents in the region of Twente, and
Drents in the province of Drenthe. Secondly,
Limburgish is also
recognised as a regional language. It consists of Dutch varieties of
Franconian languages and is spoken in the south-eastern
province of Limburg. The dialects most spoken in the Netherlands
are the Brabantian-
Ripuarian language, which is spoken in
Vaals in the form
of, respectively, the
Kerkrade dialect and the
is not recognised as a regional language of the Netherlands. These
dialects are however sometimes considered to be a part of or related
English has a formal status in the special municipalities of
Sint Eustatius. It is widely spoken on these islands.
Papiamento has a
formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire.
Yiddish and the
Romani language were recognised in 1996 as non-territorial
The Netherlands has a tradition of learning foreign languages,
formalised in Dutch education laws. Some 90% of the total population
indicate they are able to converse in English, 70% in German, and 29%
in French. English is a mandatory course in all secondary
schools. In most lower level secondary school educations (vmbo),
one additional modern foreign language is mandatory during the first
In higher level secondary schools (HAVO and VWO), two additional
modern foreign languages are mandatory during the first three years.
Only during the last three years in VWO one foreign language is
mandatory. Besides English, the standard modern languages are French
and German, although schools can replace one of these modern languages
with Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, or Russian. Additionally, schools
Friesland teach and have exams in West Frisian, and schools across
the country teach and have exams in
Ancient Greek and
secondary school (called Gymnasium or VWO+).
Main article: Religion in the Netherlands
Religious identification in the
Roman Catholic (23.7%)
Protestant Church in the Netherlands[i] (15.5%)
Other Christian[j] (4.6%)
Religion in the Netherlands
Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly
Christianity until late
into the 20th century. Although religious diversity remains, there has
been a decline of religious adherence.
In 2015, Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch governmental institution
that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands, found that
50.1% of the total population declared to be Non-religious. Christians
comprised the 43.8% of the total population and were divided in
Catholics with 23.7%,
Protestants with a membership in the Protestant
Church in the
Netherlands with 15.5% and other Christians (including
Protestants without a membership in the
Protestant Church in the
Netherlands) with 4.6%.
Islam comprised the 4.9% of the total
population and other religions (like Judaism,
Buddhism and Hinduism)
comprised the remaining 1.1%.
According to an independent in-depth interviewing by Radboud
University and Vrije Universiteit
Amsterdam in 2006, 34% of the Dutch
population identified as a Christian, decreasing till in 2015
almost 25% of the population adhered to one of the Christian faiths
(11.7% Roman Catholic, 8.6% PKN, 4.2% other small Christian
denominations), 5 percent is Muslim and 2 percent adheres to Hinduism
or Buddhism, approximately 67.8% of the population in 2015 has no
religious affiliation, up from 61% in 2006, 53% in 1996, 43% 1979 and
33% in 1966. The Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (Social and
Cultural Planning Agency, SCP) expects the number of non-affiliated
Dutch to be at 72% in 2020.
The Dutch constitution guarantees freedom of education, which means
that all schools that adhere to general quality criteria receive the
same government funding. This includes schools based on religious
principles by religious groups (especially
Roman Catholic and various
Protestant). Three political parties in the Dutch parliament, (CDA,
and two small parties,
ChristianUnion and SGP) are based upon the
Christian belief. Several Christian religious holidays are national
holidays (Christmas, Easter,
Pentecost and the Ascension of
Jesus). In the late 19th century atheism began to rise as
secularism, liberalism and socialism grew. By 1960, Protestantism
shrunk demographically to equal Roman Catholicism, and going onwards,
both Christian branches began to decline. There is one major
Islam which grew considerably as the result of immigration.
Since the year 2000 there has been raised awareness of religion,
mainly due to Muslim extremism.
Dutch Royal Family
Dutch Royal Family has been traditionally associated with
Calvinism, specifically the 1795 disestablished and now non-existent
Reformed Church. The
Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church has been the only
Protestant church in the
Netherlands from the Protestant
Reformation up until the 19th century. It encompassed the vast
Protestants in the
Reformed tradition until a series of
splits in 1834 and in 1886 diversified Dutch Calvinism. In 2013, a
Roman Catholic became Queen consort.
From a December 2014 survey by the VU University
Amsterdam it was
concluded that for the first time there are more atheists (25%) than
theists (17%) in the Netherlands. The majority of the population being
agnostic (31%) or ietsistic (27%).
In 2015, a vast majority of the inhabitants of the
said they had never or almost never visited a church, and 59% stated
that they had never been to a church of any kind. Of all the people
questioned, 24% saw themselves as atheist, an increase of 11% compared
to the previous study done in 2006. The expected rise of
spirituality (ietsism) has come to a halt according to research in
2015. In 2006 40% of respondents considered themselves spiritual, in
2015 this has dropped to 31%. The number who believed in the existence
of a higher power fell from 36% to 28% over the same period.
Christianity is currently the largest religion in the Netherlands. The
North Brabant and Limburg have historically been strongly
Roman Catholic, and some of their people might still consider the
Catholic Church as a base for their cultural identity. Protestantism
Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various
traditions. The largest of these is the
Protestant Church in the
Netherlands (PKN), a United church which is
orientation. It was formed in 2004 as a merger of the Dutch
Reformed Church, the
Reformed Churches in the
Netherlands and a
Lutheran Church. Several orthodox
Reformed and liberal
churches did not merge into the PKN. Although in the
Netherlands as a
Christianity has become a minority, the
Netherlands contains a
Bible Belt from
Zeeland to the northern parts of the province
Overijssel, in which
Protestant (particularly Reformed) beliefs remain
strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.
Islam is the second largest religion in the state. In 2012, there were
about 825,000 Muslims in the
Netherlands (5% of the population).
Muslim numbers increased from the 1960 as a consequence of large
numbers of migrant workers. This included migrants from former Dutch
colonies, such as
Surinam and Indonesia, but mainly migrant workers
Turkey and Morocco. During the 1990s,
Muslim refugees arrived
from countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and
Other religions account for some 6% of the Dutch people.
Hinduism is a
minority religion in the Netherlands, with around 215,000 adherents
(slightly over 1% of the population). Most of these are
Indo-Surinamese. There are also sizable populations of Hindu
India and Sri Lanka, and some Western adherents of
Hinduism-oriented new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas. The
Netherlands has an estimated 250,000 Buddhists or people strongly
attracted to this religion, mainly ethnic Dutch people. There are
about 45,000 Jews in the Netherlands.
Education in the Netherlands
Education in the Netherlands and Universities in the
A primary school in The Hague
A University of
Education in the Netherlands
Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and
16. If a child does not have a "startqualification" (a havo, vwo,
or mbo 2+ degree) they are still forced to follow classes until they
achieve such a qualification.
All children in the
Netherlands usually attend elementary school from
(on average) ages 4 to 12. It comprises eight grades, the first of
which is facultative. Based on an aptitude test, the 8th grade
teacher's recommendation and the opinion of the pupil's parents or
caretakers, a choice is made for one of the three main streams of
secondary education (after completing a particular stream, a pupil may
still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream):
The vmbo has 4 grades and is subdivided over several levels.
Successfully completing the vmbo results in a low-level vocational
degree that grants access to the mbo. The mbo ("Middle-level applied
education") is a form of education primarily focuses on teaching a
practical trade, or a vocational degree. With the mbo certification, a
student can apply for the hbo.
The havo has 5 grades and allows for admission to the HBO. The HBO
("Higher professional education") are universities of professional
education (or applied sciences) that award professional bachelor's
degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees. A hbo degree gives access to
the university system.
The vwo (comprising atheneum and gymnasium) has 6 grades and prepares
for studying at a (research) university. Universities offer of a
three-year bachelor's degree, followed by a one-, two- or three year
master's degree, which in turn can be followed by a four or five-year
doctoral degree program.
Doctoral candidates in the
Netherlands are generally non-tenured
employees of a University. All Dutch Universities are publicly owned
and managed, and have a tuition fee of about 2,000 euros a year for
students from the
Netherlands and the European Union.
Main article: Healthcare in the Netherlands
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) by Jan Verkolje
A public hospital in Amersfoort
In 2016, the
Netherlands has maintained its number one position at the
top of the annual
Euro health consumer index (EHCI), which compares
healthcare systems in Europe, scoring 916 of a maximum 1,000 points.
The Netherlands has been in the top three countries in each report
published since 2005. On 48 indicators such as patient rights and
information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands
secured its top position among 37 European countries for the sixth
year in a row.
The Netherlands was ranked first in a study in
2009 comparing the health care systems of the United States,
Germany and New Zealand.
Ever since a major reform of the health care system in 2006, the Dutch
system received more points in the Index each year. According to the
HCP (Health Consumer Powerhouse), the
Netherlands has 'a chaos
system', meaning patients have a great degree of freedom from where to
buy their health insurance, to where they get their healthcare
service. But the difference between the
Netherlands and other
countries is that the chaos is managed. Healthcare decisions are being
made in a dialogue between the patients and healthcare
Health insurance in the
Netherlands is mandatory. Healthcare in the
Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance:
Zorgverzekeringswet (Zvw), often called "basic insurance", covers
common medical care.
Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (AWBZ) covers long-term nursing
and care. While Dutch residents are automatically insured by the
government for AWBZ, everyone has to take out their own basic
healthcare insurance (basisverzekering), except those under 18 who are
automatically covered under their parents' premium. If you don't take
out insurance, you risk a fine. Insurers have to offer a universal
package for everyone over the age of 18 years, regardless of age or
state of health – it's illegal to refuse an application or impose
special conditions. In contrast to many other European systems, the
Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of
the healthcare system in the Netherlands, but not in charge of its
Healthcare in the Netherlands
Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: three
echelons, in somatic and mental health care and in 'cure' (short term)
and 'care' (long term). Home doctors (huisartsen, comparable to
General Practitioners) form the largest part of the first echelon.
Being referenced by a member of the first echelon is mandatory for
access to the second and third echelon. The health care system is
in comparison to other Western countries quite effective but not the
Healthcare in the Netherlands
Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came
into effect in January 2006. Long-term treatments, especially those
that involve semi-permanent hospitalization, and also disability costs
such as wheelchairs, are covered by a state-controlled mandatory
insurance. This is laid down in the Algemene Wet Bijzondere
Ziektekosten ("General Law on Exceptional Healthcare Costs") which
first came into effect in 1968. In 2009 this insurance covered 27% of
all health care expenses.
For all regular (short-term) medical treatment, there is a system of
obligatory health insurance, with private health insurance companies.
These insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a
defined set of insured treatments. This insurance covers 41% of
all health care expenses.
Other sources of health care payment are taxes (14%), out of pocket
payments (9%), additional optional health insurance packages (4%) and
a range of other sources (4%). Affordability is guaranteed
through a system of income-related allowances and individual and
employer-paid income-related premiums.
A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums may not be related
to health status or age. Risk variances between private health
insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual
policy holders are compensated through risk equalization and a common
risk pool. Funding for all short-term health care is 50% from
employers, 45% from the insured person and 5% by the government.
Children under 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive
compensation to help them pay their insurance. Premiums paid by the
insured are about €100 per month (about US$127 in August 2010 and in
2012 €150 or US$196,) with variation of about 5% between the various
competing insurers, and deductible a year €220 (U.S. $288).
Main article: Culture of the Netherlands
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh
The National NEMO Science Museum and the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum
in second plan, in Amsterdam
Art, philosophy and literature
Main articles: Dutch art, Architecture of the Netherlands, and Dutch
The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. The 17th century, in
Dutch Republic was prosperous, was the age of the "Dutch
Masters", such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen,
Jacob van Ruisdael
Jacob van Ruisdael and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th
and 20th century were
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. M. C.
Escher is a well-known graphics artist.
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning was born and
trained in Rotterdam, although he is considered to have reached
acclaim as an American artist.
The Netherlands is the country of philosophers
Erasmus of Rotterdam
and Spinoza. All of Descartes' major work was done in the Netherlands
since he studied at
Leiden University — as did throughout the
centuries geologist James Hutton, British Prime Minister John Stuart,
U.S. President John Quincy Adams, Physics Nobel Prize laureate Hendrik
Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Dutch scientist
Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) discovered Saturn's moon Titan,
argued that light travelled as waves, invented the pendulum clock and
was the first physicist to use mathematical formulae. Antonie van
Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled
organisms with a microscope.
In the Dutch Golden Age, literature flourished as well, with Joost van
den Vondel and P. C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th
Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in
the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia. Important 20th century
authors include Godfried Bomans, Harry Mulisch, Jan Wolkers, Simon
Vestdijk, Hella S. Haasse, Cees Nooteboom,
Gerard Reve and Willem
Frederik Hermans. Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl was published
after she died in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major
The traditional Dutch architecture is especially valuated in
Delft and Leiden, with 17 and 18th century buildings along
the canals. Smaller village architecture with wooden houses is found
Zaandam and Marken. Replicas of Dutch buildings can be found in
Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan. A similar
Holland Village is being
built in Shenyang, China. Windmills, tulips, wooden shoes, cheese,
Delftware pottery, and cannabis are among the items associated with
Netherlands by tourists.
The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is
regarded as a liberal country, considering its drug policy and its
legalisation of euthanasia. On 1 April 2001, the
the first nation to legalise same-sex marriage.
Dutch value system
Main article: Dutch customs and etiquette
The Dutch have a code of etiquette which governs social behaviour and
is considered important. Because of the international position of the
Netherlands, many books have been written on the subject. Some customs
may not be true in all regions and they are never absolute. In
addition to those specific to the Dutch, many general points of
European etiquette apply to the Dutch as well.
Dutch society is egalitarian and modern. The people tend to view
themselves as modest, independent and self-reliant. They value ability
over dependency. The Dutch have an aversion to the non-essential.
Ostentatious behaviour is to be avoided. Accumulating money is fine as
long as people put it back into the system for the good of society. A
high lifestyle is considered wasteful; volunteership is encouraged.
The Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage, rich history in art
and involvement in international affairs.
Dutch people in orange celebrating King's Day in Amsterdam, 2017
Dutch manners are open and direct with a no-nonsense attitude;
informality combined with adherence to basic behaviour. According to a
humorous source on Dutch culture, "Their directness gives many the
impression that they are rude and crude — attributes they prefer to
call openness." A well known more serious source on Dutch
etiquette is "Dealing with the Dutch" from Jacob Vossestein: "Dutch
egalitarianism is the idea that people are equal, especially from a
moral point of view, and accordingly, causes the somewhat ambiguous
stance the Dutch have towards hierarchy and status." As always,
manners differ between groups. Asking about basic rules will not be
considered impolite. "What may strike you as being blatantly blunt
topics and comments are no more embarrassing or unusual to the Dutch
than discussing the weather." Researchers tend to agree that
Dutch honesty has to be understood to acknowledge how the people of
Netherlands accept other people's differences. Since society asks
everyone to be gelukkig ("happy") above any other thing, a collective
way of thinking has emerged a long time ago.
The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries of Europe, and
religion is in the
Netherlands generally considered as a personal
matter which is not supposed to be propagated in public, although it
often remains a discussion subject. For 17% of the population religion
is important and 14% goes to church weekly.
Dutch people and ecology
The Netherlands has the reputation of the leader country in
environmental and population management. In 2015,
Rotterdam were, respectively, at the 4th and the 5th position on the
Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.
Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch. The goal of the
Government is to have a sustainable, reliable and affordable
energy system, by 2050, in which CO2 emissions have been halved and 40
percent of electricity is derived from sustainable sources.
The government is investing billions of euros in energy efficiency,
sustainable energy and CO2 reduction. The Kingdom also encourage Dutch
companies to build sustainable business/projects/facilities, with
financial aids from the state to the companies or individuals who are
active in making the country more sustainable.
Music of the Netherlands
Music of the Netherlands and
Music of the former
Concertgebouw from the 19th century
The Netherlands has multiple music traditions. Traditional Dutch music
is a genre known as "Levenslied", meaning Song of life, to an extent
comparable to a French
Chanson or a German Schlager. These songs
typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward
structure of couplets and refrains. Themes can be light, but are often
sentimental and include love, death and loneliness. Traditional
musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a
staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also
use synthesizers and guitars. Artists in this genre include Jan Smit,
Frans Bauer and André Hazes.
Pop singer Anouk in 2008
The Johan Cruyff Arena, largest Dutch concert venue
Contemporary Dutch rock and pop music (Nederpop) originated in the
1960s, heavily influenced by popular music from the
United States and
Britain. In the 1960s and 1970s the lyrics were mostly in English, and
some tracks were instrumental. Bands such as Shocking Blue, Golden
Earring, Tee Set,
George Baker Selection
George Baker Selection and Focus enjoyed
international success. As of the 1980s, more and more pop musicians
started working in the Dutch language, partly inspired by the huge
success of the band Doe Maar. Today Dutch rock and pop music thrives
in both languages, with some artists recording in both.
Current symphonic metal bands Epica, Delain, ReVamp, The Gathering,
Within Temptation as well as jazz and pop
Caro Emerald are having international success. Also, metal
bands like Hail of Bullets, God Dethroned, Izegrim, Asphyx, Textures,
Slechtvalk are popular guests at the
biggest metal festivals in Europe. Contemporary local stars include
pop singer Anouk, country pop singer Ilse DeLange, South Guelderish
Limburgish dialect singing folk band Rowwen Hèze, rock band BLØF
and duo Nick & Simon.
Early 1990s Dutch and Belgian house music came together in Eurodance
project 2 Unlimited. Selling 18 million records, the two singers
in the band are the most successful Dutch music artists to this day.
Tracks like "Get Ready for This" are still popular themes of U.S.
sports events, like the NHL. In the mid 1990s
Dutch language rap and
hip hop (Nederhop) also came to fruition and has become popular in the
Netherlands and Belgium. Artists with North African, Caribbean or
Middle Eastern origins have strongly influenced this genre.
Since the 1990s, Dutch electronic dance music (EDM) gained widespread
popularity in the world in many forms, from trance, techno and gabber
to hardstyle. Some of the world's best known dance music DJs hail from
the Netherlands, including Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell, Martin
Garrix, Dash Berlin, Nicky Romero, W&W,
Don Diablo and Afrojack;
the first four of which have been ranked as best in the world by DJ
Mag Top 100 DJs. The
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is the world's
leading electronic music conference and the biggest club festival for
the many electronic subgenres on the planet. These DJs also
contribute to the world's mainstream pop music, as they frequently
collaborate and produce for high-profile international artists.
In classical music,
Jan Sweelinck ranks as the Dutch most famous
Louis Andriessen amongst the best known living Dutch
Ton Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and
harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The
Hague. Notable violinists are
Janine Jansen and André Rieu. The
latter, together with his Johann Strauss Orchestra, has taken
classical and waltz music on worldwide concert tours, the size and
revenue of which are otherwise only seen from the world's biggest rock
and pop music acts. The most famous Dutch classical composition is
"Canto Ostinato" by Simeon ten Holt, a minimalistic composition for
multiple instruments. Acclaimed harpist Lavinia Meijer
in 2012 released an album with works from
Philip Glass that she
transcribed for harp, with approval of Glass himself. The
Concertgebouw (completed in 1888) in
Amsterdam is home to the Royal
Concertgebouw Orchestra, considered one of the world's finest
Film and television
Cinema of the Netherlands
Cinema of the Netherlands and Television in the
The Voice franchise originated in the Netherlands.
Some Dutch films – mainly by director
Paul Verhoeven – have
received international distribution and recognition, such as Turkish
Delight ("Turks Fruit", 1973),
Soldier of Orange
Soldier of Orange ("Soldaat van
Spetters (1980) and The Fourth Man ("De Vierde Man",
1983). Verhoeven then went on to direct big Hollywood movies like
RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990) and
Basic Instinct (1992), and
returned with Dutch film Black Book ("Zwartboek", 2006).
Other well-known Dutch film directors are
Jan de Bont
Jan de Bont (Speed), Anton
Corbijn (A Most wanted Man),
Dick Maas (De Lift),
Fons Rademakers (The
Assault), and documentary makers
Bert Haanstra and Joris Ivens. Film
director Theo van Gogh achieved international notoriety in 2004 when
he was murdered by
Mohammed Bouyeri in the streets of
directing the short film Submission.
Internationally successful directors of photography from the
Hoyte van Hoytema
Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar, Spectre, Dunkirk) and
Theo van de Sande (
Wayne's World and Blade). Van Hoytema went to the
National Film School in Łódź
National Film School in Łódź (Poland) and Van de Sande went to the
Netherlands Film Academy. Internationally successful Dutch actors
Famke Janssen (X-Men),
Carice van Houten
Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones),
Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones),
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Jeroen
Krabbé (The Living Daylights) and
Derek de Lint
Derek de Lint (Three Men and a
The Netherlands has a well developed television market, with both
multiple commercial and public broadcasters. Imported TV programmes,
as well as interviews with responses in a foreign language, are
virtually always shown with the original sound and subtitled. Only
foreign shows for children are translated.
TV exports from the
Netherlands mostly take the form of specific
formats and franchises, most notably through internationally active TV
production conglomerate Endemol, founded by Dutch media tycoons John
de Mol and Joop van den Ende. Headquartered in Amsterdam,
around 90 companies in over 30 countries.
Endemol and its subsidiaries
create and run reality, talent, and game show franchises worldwide,
including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. John de Mol later started
his own company Talpa which created show franchises like The Voice and
Main article: Sports in the Netherlands
Dutch star football players
Arjen Robben and
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie during a
game with the
Netherlands national football team
Netherlands national football team against Denmark
national football team at
Approximately 4.5 million of the 16.8 million people in the
Netherlands are registered to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the
country. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75
participates in sports weekly. Football is the most popular
participant sport in the Netherlands, before field hockey and
volleyball as the second and third most popular team sports. Tennis,
gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual
Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the
beginning of the 20th century. Federations for sports were established
(such as the speed skating federation in 1882), rules were unified and
sports clubs came into existence. A Dutch National Olympic Committee
was established in 1912. Thus far, the nation has won 266 medals at
Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games and another 110 medals at the Winter Olympic
Games. In international competition, Dutch national teams and athletes
are dominant in several fields of sport.
The Netherlands women's field
hockey team is the most successful team in World Cup history. The
Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times
out of 32 events. Dutch
K-1 kickboxers have won the
K-1 World Grand
Prix 15 times out of 19 tournaments.
The Dutch speed skaters' performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics,
where they won 8 out of 12 events, 23 out of 36 medals, including 4
clean sweeps, is the most dominant performance in a single sport in
Olympic history. Motorcycle racing at the TT
Assen Circuit has a long
Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the
Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949.
The circuit was purpose built for the Dutch TT in 1954, with previous
events having been held on public roads.
Max Verstappen currently races in Formula One, and was the
first Dutchman to win a Grand Prix. The coastal resort of Zandvoort
Dutch Grand Prix
Dutch Grand Prix from 1958 to 1985. The volleyball national
men's team has also been successful, winning the silver medal at the
1992 Summer Olympics and the gold medal four years later in Atlanta.
The biggest success of the women's national team was winning the
European Championship in 1995 and the World Grand Prix in 2007.
Main article: Dutch cuisine
The Gouda cheese market
Coenraad Johannes van Houten
Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented solid chocolate in 1828.
Originally, the country's cuisine was shaped by the practices of
fishing and farming, including the cultivation of the soil for growing
crops and raising domesticated animals.
Dutch cuisine is simple and
straightforward, and contains many dairy products. Breakfast and lunch
are typically bread with toppings, with cereal for breakfast as an
alternative. Traditionally, dinner consists of potatoes, a portion of
meat, and (seasonal) vegetables. The Dutch diet was relatively high in
carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the labourers
whose culture moulded the country. Without many refinements, it is
best described as rustic, though many holidays are still celebrated
with special foods. In the course of the twentieth century this diet
changed and became much more cosmopolitan, with most global cuisines
being represented in the major cities.
Modern culinary writers distinguish between three general regional
forms of Dutch cuisine. The regions in the northeast of the
Netherlands, roughly the provinces of Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe,
Gelderland north of the great rivers are the least
populated area of the Netherlands. The late (18th century)
introduction of large scale agriculture means that the cuisine is
generally known for its many kinds of meats. The relative lack of
farms allowed for an abundance of game and husbandry, though dishes
near the coastal regions of Friesland,
Groningen and the parts of
Overijssel bordering the
IJsselmeer also include a large amount of
fish. The various dried sausages, belonging to the metworst-family of
Dutch sausages are found throughout this region and are highly prized
for their often very strong taste. Also smoked sausages are common, of
which (Gelderse) rookworst is the most renowned. The sausage contains
a lot of fat and is very juicy. Larger sausages are often eaten
alongside stamppot, hutspot or zuurkool (sauerkraut); whereas smaller
ones are often eaten as a street food. The provinces are also home to
hard textured rye bread, pastries and cookies, the latter heavily
spiced with ginger or succade or contain small bits of meat. Various
kinds of Kruidkoek (such as Groninger koek), Fryske dúmkes and
spekdikken (small savory pancakes cooked in a waffle iron) are
considered typical. Notable characteristics of Fries roggebrood
(Frisian rye bread) is its long baking time (up to 20 hours),
resulting in a sweet taste and a deep dark colour. In terms of
alcoholic beverages, the region is renowned for its many bitters (such
as Beerenburg) and other high-proof liquors rather than beer, which
is, apart from Jenever, typical for the rest of the country. As a
Friesland is home to low-lying grasslands, and thus
has a cheese production in common with the Western cuisine. Friese
Nagelkaas (Friesian Clove) is a notable example.
The provinces of North Holland, South Holland, Zeeland,
the Gelderlandic region of
Betuwe are the parts of the Netherlands
which make up the region in which western
Dutch cuisine is found.
Because of the abundance of water and flat grass lands that are found
here, the area is known for its many dairy products, which includes
prominent cheeses such as Gouda, Leyden (spiced cheese with cumin),
Edam (traditionally in small spheres) as well as
Beemster, while the adjacent
Zaanstreek in North
Holland is since the
16th century known for its mayonnaise, typical whole-grain
mustards and chocolate industry.
Zeeland and South Holland
produce a lot of butter, which contains a larger amount of milkfat
than most other European butter varieties. A by-product of the
butter-making process, karnemelk (buttermilk), is also considered
typical for this region.
Seafood such as soused herring, mussels
(called Zeeuwse Mossels, since all Dutch mussels for consumption are
cleaned in Zeeland's Oosterschelde), eels, oysters and shrimps are
widely available and typical for the region. Kibbeling, once a local
delicacy consisting of small chunks of battered white fish, has become
a national fast food, just as lekkerbek. Pastries in this area tend to
be quite doughy, and often contain large amounts of sugar; either
caramelised, powdered or crystallised. The oliebol (in its modern
Zeeuwse bolus are good examples. Cookies are also produced
in great number and tend to contain a lot of butter and sugar, like
stroopwafel, as well as a filling of some kind, mostly almond, like
gevulde koek. The traditional alcoholic beverages of this region are
beer (strong pale lager) and Jenever, a high proof juniper-flavored
spirit, that came to be known in
England as gin. A noted exception
within the traditional Dutch alcoholic landscape, Advocaat, a rich and
creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy, is also native to
Dutch cuisine consists of the cuisines of the Dutch
North Brabant and Limburg and the
Flemish Region in
Belgium. It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and
vegetable dishes and is often called Burgundian which is a Dutch idiom
invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the
Low Countries in
the Middle Ages, renowned for its splendor and great feasts. It is the
only Dutch culinary region that developed an haute cuisine. Pastries
are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits.
Cakes, such as the
Vlaai from Limburg and the Moorkop and Bossche Bol
from Brabant, are typical pastries. Savoury pastries also occur, with
the worstenbroodje (a roll with a sausage of ground beef, literally
translates into sausage bread) being the most popular. The traditional
alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands,
ranging from Trappist to Kriek. 5 of the 10 International Trappist
Association recognised breweries in the world, are located in the
Southern Dutch cultural area. Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is
also used in cooking; often in stews.
In early 2014,
Oxfam ranked the
Netherlands as the country with the
most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food, in a comparison of 125
Main article: Dutch Empire
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies and Indos in the Dutch East
Amsterdam as it appeared in 1664; under British rule it became
known as New York
From the exploitations of the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company in the 17th
century, to the colonisations in the 19th century, Dutch imperial
possessions continued to expand, reaching their greatest extent by
establishing a hegemony of the
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies in the early 20th
century. The Dutch East Indies, which later formed modern-day
Indonesia, was one of the most valuable European colonies in the world
and the most important one for the Netherlands. Over 350 years of
mutual heritage has left a significant cultural mark on the
Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, the
considerably, mostly financed by corporate revenue from the Asian
trade monopolies. Social status was based on merchants' income, which
reduced feudalism and considerably changed the dynamics of Dutch
society. When the
Dutch Royal Family
Dutch Royal Family was established in 1815, much of
its wealth came from Colonial trade.
Universities such as the Royal
Leiden University, founded in the 16th
century, have developed into leading knowledge centres for Southeast
Asian and Indonesian studies.
Leiden University has produced
leading academics such as Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, and still has
academics who specialise in Indonesian languages and cultures. Leiden
University and in particular
KITLV are educational and scientific
institutions that to this day share both an intellectual and
historical interest in Indonesian studies. Other scientific
institutions in the
Netherlands include the
Amsterdam Tropenmuseum, an
anthropological museum with massive collections of Indonesian art,
culture, ethnography and anthropology.
A Dutch doctor vaccinating Indonesian patients
The traditions of the Royal
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) are
maintained by the
Regiment Van Heutsz
Regiment Van Heutsz of the modern Royal Netherlands
Army. A dedicated
Bronbeek Museum, a former home for retired KNIL
soldiers, exists in
Arnhem to this day.
A specific segment of
Dutch literature called Dutch Indies literature
still exists and includes established authors, such as Louis Couperus,
the writer of "The Hidden Force", taking the colonial era as an
important source of inspiration. One of the great masterpieces of
Dutch literature is the book "Max Havelaar", written by
The majority of Dutchmen that repatriated to the
Netherlands after and
during the Indonesian revolution are Indo (Eurasian), native to the
islands of the Dutch East Indies. This relatively large Eurasian
population had developed over a period of 400 years and were
classified by colonial law as belonging to the European legal
community. In Dutch they are referred to as Indische Nederlanders
or as Indo (short for Indo-European).
Including their second generation descendants, Indos are currently the
largest foreign-born group in the Netherlands. In 2008, the Dutch
Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) registered 387,000 first- and
second-generation Indos living in the Netherlands. Although
considered fully assimilated into Dutch society, as the main ethnic
minority in the Netherlands, these 'repatriants' have played a pivotal
role in introducing elements of Indonesian culture into Dutch
Practically every town in the
Netherlands has a "Toko" (Dutch
Indonesian Shop) or a Chinese-Indonesian restaurant and many
'Pasar Malam' (Night market in Malay/Indonesian) fairs are organised
throughout the year. Many Indonesian dishes and foodstuffs have become
commonplace in the Netherlands. Rijsttafel, a colonial culinary
concept, and dishes such as
Nasi goreng and satay are very popular in
Outline of the Netherlands
European Union portal
^ The official motto is in French. The literal translation into
English is "I will maintain"; a better translation, however, is "I
will hold firm" or "I will uphold" (namely, the integrity and
independence of the territory).[original research?]
^ In 1816 the motto was abbreviated to "God zij met ons" (used on the
edges of coins).
^ a b While
Amsterdam is the constitutional capital, The Hague is
the seat of the government.
^ a b West Frisian has official status in Friesland. Dutch Low
Limburgish are recognised as regional languages by the
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
recognised by the
Government of the Netherlands
Government of the Netherlands in relation to
Bonaire, and English in relation to
Sint Eustatius and Saba.
^ The euro is used in the European part of the
Dutch guilder in 2002. The US dollar is used in the
Caribbean Netherlands and replaced the
Netherlands Antillean guilder
^ CET and CEST are used in the European Netherlands, and AST is used
in the Caribbean Netherlands.
^ 599 was the country code designated for the now dissolved
Netherlands Antilles. The
Caribbean Netherlands still use 599–7
(Bonaire), 599–3 (Sint Eustatius) and 599–4 (Saba).
.nl is the common internet top level domain name for the
.eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other
European Union member states.
.bq is designated, but not in use, for
the Caribbean Netherlands.
^ Provided statistics show
Protestants by their allegiance to
congregations of two denominations that do not exist anymore. In 2004,
Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church (NHK), the
Reformed Churches in the
Netherlands (GKN) and the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in the Kingdom
Netherlands merged to form the
Protestant Church in the
Netherlands (PKN) and officially no longer exist. However, many people
still tend to give their older affiliation even after the merger.
People who declared themselves simply as belonging to the Protestant
Church in the
Netherlands did not give an information about belonging
to an older affilliation. For example, Members of the former
Lutheran Church in the
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands happened
to do so. People who identified with one of those three categories
(NHK/GKN/or simply PKN) are all members of the
Protestant Church in
^ Including other
Protestants that are not members of the Protestant
Church in the Netherlands.
^ Up one place from previous rankings.
^ Up from 31% vs. 19% naming the bike their main mode of transport for
daily activities in 2011.
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Geography and environment
Burke, Gerald L. The making of Dutch towns: A study in urban
development from the 10th–17th centuries (1960)
Lambert, Audrey M. The Making of the Dutch Landscape: An Historical
Geography of the Netherlands
Geography of the Netherlands (1985); focus on the history of land
Meijer, Henk. Compact geography of the
Riley, R. C., and G. J. Ashworth. Benelux: An Economic Geography of
Belgium, the Netherlands, and
Luxembourg (1975) online
Paul Arblaster. A History of the Low Countries. Palgrave Essential
Histories Series New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 298
pp. ISBN 1-4039-4828-3.
J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts, eds. History of the Low Countries
Jonathan Israel. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall
J. A. Kossmann-Putto and E. H. Kossmann. The Low Countries: History of
the Northern and
Southern Netherlands (1987)
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4 February 2018.
"U.S. Relations With the Netherlands".
United States Department of
State. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
"Netherlands". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
Netherlands from UCB Libraries GovPubs
Netherlands at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
I am Expat – General information about the Netherlands
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former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"; see Macedonia naming dispute.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
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Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
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Testing of Chemicals
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Roberto Azevêdo (Director-General)
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Officially the Republic of China, participates as "Separate Customs
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Flag of Benelux
Subdivisions of the
Dutch Language Union
Sint Maarten (
Colonies and trading posts of the Dutch East
Northeast coast of Java
West coast of Sumatra
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Curaçao and Dependencies
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1 Governed by the Society of Berbice
2 Governed by the Society of Suriname
Settlements of the
Noordsche Compagnie (1614–1642)
Colonies of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1962)
Dutch East Indies
Curaçao and Dependencies 3
3 Became constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands;
Suriname gained full independence in 1975,
Curaçao and Dependencies
was renamed to the
Netherlands Antilles, which was eventually
dissolved in 2010.
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Coordinates: 52°19′N 5°33′E / 52.317°N 5.550°E /
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