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Netherlands



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Introduction

Background: The Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I but suffered a brutal invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EC, and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999.

Geography

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

Geographic coordinates: 52 30 N, 5 45 E

Map references: Europe

Area
  total: 41,532 sq km
  land: 33,889 sq km
  water: 7,643 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries
  total: 1,027 km
  border countries: Belgium 450 km, Germany 577 km

Coastline: 451 km

Maritime claims
  exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters

Terrain: mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Prins Alexanderpolder -7 m
  highest point: Vaalserberg 321 m

Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, arable land

Land use
  arable land: 25%
  permanent crops: 3%
  permanent pastures: 25%
  forests and woodland: 8%
  other: 39% (1996 est.)

Irrigated land: 6,000 sq km (1996 est.)

Natural hazards: the extensive system of dikes and dams protects nearly one-half of the total area from being flooded

Environment - current issues: water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; acid rain

Environment - international agreements
  party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
  signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note: located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)

People

Population: 15,892,237 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 18% (male 1,497,290; female 1,431,671)
  15-64 years: 68% (male 5,490,518; female 5,305,848)
  65 years and over: 14% (male 885,839; female 1,281,071) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.57% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 12.12 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 8.72 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 2.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 4.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 78.28 years
  male: 75.4 years
  female: 81.28 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.64 children born/woman (2000 est.)

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

Ethnic groups: Dutch 91%, Moroccans, Turks, and other 9% (1999 est.)

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

Languages: Dutch

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

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
  conventional short form: Netherlands
  local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
  local short form: Nederland

Data code: NL

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government

Administrative divisions: 12 provinces (provincien, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland

Dependent areas: Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

Independence: 1579 (from Spain)

National holiday: Queen's Day, 30 April

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

Legal system: civil law system incorporating French penal theory; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), son of the monarch
  head of government: Prime Minister Wim KOK (since 22 August 1994) and Vice Prime Ministers Annemarie JORRITSMA (since 3 August 1998) and Els BORST-EILERS (since 3 August 1998)
  cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
  elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; vice prime ministers appointed by the monarch (Note: government coalition - PvdA, VVD, and D'66; there is also a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councilors consulted by the executive on legislative and administrative policy)

Legislative branch: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils for four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
  elections: First Chamber - last held 25 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2003); Second Chamber - last held 6 May 1998 (next to be held May 2002)
  election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDA 20, VVD 19, PvdA 15, D'66 4, other 17; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - PvdA 30.0%, VVD 25.3%, CDA 19.3%, D'66 9.3%, other 16.1%; seats by party - PvdA 45, VVD 38, CDA 29, D'66 14, other 24

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

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

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

International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Joris M. VOS
  chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300
  FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
  consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Cynthia P. SCHNEIDER
  embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
  mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
  telephone: [31] (70) 310-9209
  FAX: [31] (70) 361-4688
  consulate(s) general: Amsterdam

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer

Economy

Economy - overview: The Netherlands is a prosperous and open economy in which the government has successfully reduced its role since the 1980s. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs no more than 4% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. The Dutch rank third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the US and France. The Netherlands successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job growth long before its European partners. This has helped cushion the economy from a slowdown in the euro area. Strong 3.8% GDP growth in 1998 was followed by an only slightly lower 3.4% expansion in 1999. The outlook remains favorable, with real GDP growth in 2000 projected at 3.25%, along with a small budget surplus. The Dutch were among the first 11 EU countries establishing the euro currency zone on 1 January 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $365.1 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.4% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $23,100 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 3.5%
  industry: 26.8%
  services: 69.7% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: 2.9%
  highest 10%: 24.7% (1991)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 7 million (1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: services 73%, industry 23%, agriculture 4% (1998 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3.5% but generous welfare benefits have prompted large numbers to drop out of the labor market (1999 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $163 billion
  expenditures: $170 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 3% (1999)

Electricity - production: 88.736 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 91.32%
  hydro: 0.11%
  nuclear: 4.08%
  other: 4.49% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 94.325 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 400 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 12.2 billion kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $169 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs

Exports - partners: EU 78% (Germany 27%, Belgium-Luxembourg 13%, France 11%, UK 10%, Italy 6%), Central and Eastern Europe, US (1998)

Imports: $152 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs, clothing

Imports - partners: EU 61% (Germany 20%, Belgium-Luxembourg 11%, UK 10%, France 7%), US 9%, Central and Eastern Europe (1998)

Debt - external: $0

Economic aid - donor: ODA, $3.4 billion (1999)

Currency: 1 Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (f.) = 100 cents; note - to be replaced by the euro on 1 January 2002

Exchange rates: euros per US$1 - 0.9867 (January 2000), 0.9386 (1999); Netherlands guilders, gulden, or florins (f.) per US$1 - 1.8904 (January 1999), 1.9837 (1998), 1.9513 (1997), 1.6859 (1996), 1.6057 (1995) (Note: on 1 January 1999, the EU introduced a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in some member countries at a fixed rate of 2.20371 guilders per euro; the euro will replace the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 8.431 million (1996)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.016 million (1996)

Telephone system: highly developed and well maintained
  domestic: the existing system of multi-conductor cables is gradually being replaced by fiber-optic cables; the density of cellular telephone traffic is rapidly increasing and further modernization of the system is expected in the year 2001, with the introduction of the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)
  international: 5 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (1996)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 58, shortwave 3 (1998)

Radios: 15.3 million (1996)

Television broadcast stations: 15 (plus five low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 8.1 million (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 70 (1999)

Transportation

Railways
  total: 2,739 km
  standard gauge: 2,739 km 1.435-m gauge; (1,991 km electrified) (1998)

Highways
  total: 125,575 km
  paved: 113,018 km (including 2,235 km of expressways)
  unpaved: 12,557 km (1998 est.)

Waterways: 5,046 km, of which 47% is usable by craft of 1,000 metric ton capacity or larger

Pipelines: crude oil 418 km; petroleum products 965 km; natural gas 10,230 km

Ports and harbors: Amsterdam, Delfzijl, Dordrecht, Eemshaven, Groningen, Haarlem, Ijmuiden, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Utrecht

Merchant marine
  total: 563 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,035,899 GRT/4,576,841 DWT
  ships by type: bulk 3, cargo 343, chemical tanker 41, combination bulk 2, container 56, liquified gas 20, livestock carrier 1, multi-functional large load carrier 8, passenger 8, petroleum tanker 25, refrigerated cargo 32, roll-on/roll-off 16, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 5 (1999 est.) (Note: many Dutch-owned ships are also operating under the registry of Netherlands Antilles (1998 est.))

Airports: 28 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 19
  over 3,047 m: 2
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
  914 to 1,523 m: 3
  under 914 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 9
  914 to 1,523 m: 3
  under 914 m: 6 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Constabulary

Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 4,090,273 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 3,566,882 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 96,684 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $6.956 billion (FY98)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: major European producer of illicit amphetamines and other synthetic drugs; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe

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