The NETHERLANDS (/ˈnɛðərləndz/ ( listen ); Dutch : Nederland
( 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 (
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 and borders
Germany to the east,
Belgium to the
south, and the
North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders in
North Sea with Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The five
largest cities in the
Rotterdam , The
Utrecht (forming the
Randstad megalopolis ) and Eindhoven
Brabantse Stedenrij ).
Amsterdam is the country\'s
capital , while
The Hague holds the Dutch seat of parliament and
government . The Port of
Rotterdam is the largest port in
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 412 people
per km2 – 507 if water is excluded – the
Netherlands is classified
as a very densely populated country . Only Bangladesh, South Korea,
Taiwan have both a larger population and higher population
density. Nevertheless, the
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 1919. Accepting of the LGBT community , it
became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in
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
Benelux Union. The country is host to the Organisation
for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international courts:
Permanent Court of Arbitration
Permanent Court of Arbitration , the International Court of
Justice , the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia , the
International Criminal Court and the
for Lebanon . The first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EU's
criminal intelligence agency
Europol and judicial cooperation agency
Eurojust and the
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
Reporters Without Borders
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
International Monetary Fund . In
World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands
as the sixth-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high
quality of life.
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.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 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 (1384–1581)
Dutch Republic (1581–1795)
Batavian Republic and kingdom (1795–1890)
* 2.8 World wars and beyond (1890–present)
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Floods
* 3.4 Nature
* 3.5 Caribbean islands
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 Political culture
* 4.2 Political parties
* 5.1 Administrative divisions
* 5.2 Foreign relations
* 5.3 Military
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Natural gas
* 6.3 Transport
* 7 Demographics
* 7.1 Functional urban areas
* 7.2 Language
* 7.3 Religion
* 7.4 Education
* 7.5 Healthcare
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Art, philosophy and literature
* 8.2 Dutch value system
Dutch people and ecology
* 8.5 Film and television
* 8.6 Sports
* 8.7 Cuisine
* 8.8 Colonial heritage
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
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
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 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
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,
Holland is widely used in reference to the
Netherlands national football team .
The region called
Low Countries (comprising
Belgium , the Netherlands
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
Belgium and the Netherlands) and upstream 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
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 Cologne
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.
The 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
History of the Netherlands
History of the Netherlands
PREHISTORY (BEFORE 800 BC)
Main articles: Paleolithic
Europe , and Bronze Age
The Netherlands in 5500 BC Bronze Age cultures in
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
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
Drenthe . Indigenous late Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from
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,
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
Germanic peoples , and
Romans in the Netherlands Diachronic distribution of Celtic
people from 500 BC Expansion into the southern
Low Countries by 270
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
Europe and containing an iron sword with an inlay of gold
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 emerged.
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
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
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 the
Celts to the
south and the
Germanic peoples from the east.
Rhine Frontier of
around 70 AD
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 :
Voorburg . At first
Gallia Belgica , the area south of the Limes became part of
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
Saxons from the east to move over the
Rhine into 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
Salian Franks were allowed to settle as foederati in
Toxandria . After deteriorating climate conditions and the Romans
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 Franks,
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
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
Old Frankish , which by the ninth century had evolved into
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
Jutes and ancient
Frisii . Many moved on to
England and came
to be known as Anglo-
Saxons , but those who stayed would be referred
Frisians and their language as Frisian , named after the land
that was once inhabited by Frisii. Frisian was spoken along the
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
Aldegisel and King Redbad emerged with
Utrecht as its centre of
Dorestad was a flourishing trading place. Between 600
and around 719 the cities were often fought over between the Frisians
and 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
Dokkum , in 754. Rorik of
Dorestad , Viking
Friesland (romantic 1912 depiction)
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
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 of
Holland were originally Frisian . As Frankish settlement progressed
Flanders and Brabant, the area quickly became Old Low Franconian
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 Brugge
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.
BURGUNDIAN AND HABSBURG NETHERLANDS (1384–1581)
Burgundian Netherlands and
The Four Days\' Battle , 1–4 June 1666 (
Second Anglo–Dutch War )
Pieter Cornelisz van Soest The
Low Countries in the late
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
Under Habsburg Charles V , ruler of the Holy
Roman Empire and King of
Spain , all fiefs in the current
Netherlands region were united into
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 between the Provinces and
their Spanish ruler began. In 1579, the northern half of the Seventeen
Provinces forged the Union of
Utrecht in which they committed to
support each other in their defence against the Spanish army. The
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
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 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 1648,
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
DUTCH REPUBLIC (1581–1795)
Dutch Republic and
Evolution of the Dutch Empire
After declaring their independence, the provinces of
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 a number of so-called
Generality Lands in
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
Southern Netherlands . Winter landscape with
skaters near the city of Kampen by
Hendrick Avercamp (1620s)
Dam Square in 1656
Dutch Golden Age
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
Dutch East India Company and the
Dutch West India Company established
colonies and trading posts all over the world, including ruling the
northern parts of
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 settled the
Cape Colony in 1652. Dutch colonies in South
America were established along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana
plains, among them Colony of
Suriname ). In Asia, the
Dutch established the
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies (now
Indonesia ), and the only
western trading post in Japan,
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) – the
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
long-standing rivalries between the two main factions in Dutch
society, the republican Staatsgezinden and the supporters of the
stadtholder the Prinsgezinden , as main political factions .
BATAVIAN REPUBLIC AND KINGDOM (1795–1890)
Batavian Republic , Kingdom of
Holland , United
Kingdom of the Netherlands , and
Kingdom of the Netherlands
With the armed support of revolutionary
France , Dutch republicans
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
Battle of Leipzig . A map of
the Dutch colonial empire . Light green: territories administered by
or originating from territories administered by the Dutch East 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
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
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
World War I
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
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
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
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
Wim Kok ,
Dries van Agt ,
Piet de Jong ,
Ruud Lubbers and
Jan Peter Balkenende with Prime Minister
Mark Rutte , in 2011
In 1954, the Charter for the
Kingdom of the Netherlands reformed the
political structure of the Netherlands, which was a result of
international pressure to carry out decolonisation . The Dutch
Curaçao and Dependencies
Curaçao and Dependencies and the European
country all became countries within the Kingdom, on a basis of
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
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
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 .
Geography of the Netherlands
Geography of the Netherlands See also:
A relief map of the
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-
Scheldt delta .
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
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).
Flood control in the Netherlands , Floods in the
North Sea flood of 1953 , and Storm tides of the North
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
Biesbosch tidal floodplains in the south-centre. The huge 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 typical 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
famous polders .
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 world . 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
Climate change will not only threaten the
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
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
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 2009. Common seals on
Terschelling , a
Wadden Sea island
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.
Phytogeographically , the
Netherlands is shared between the Atlantic
European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region
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) (
Saba , and
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 (
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis and the
United States (U.S. Virgin
Islands ). Underwater life of Klein
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 east of
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
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 .
Binnenhof , where the lower and upper houses of the States
The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815, and
due to the efforts of
Johan Rudolph Thorbecke , a parliamentary
democracy since 1848.
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
Netherlands as the 10th most democratic country in the
The monarch is the head of state , at present King Willem-Alexander
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
Mark Rutte , 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
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 and Politics of
The Netherlands has a culture of respectful and
friendly debate; here (from left to right) members of the House of
Sander de Rouwe (CDA),
Ineke van Gent (GL), Han ten
Kees Verhoeven (D66),
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 1919, the Dutch
political system has been dominated by three families of political
parties: the strongest of which were the Christian Democrats ,
currently represented by the
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA); second
were the social democrats , represented by the Labour Party (PvdA);
and third were the liberals , of which the centre-right People\'s
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 D66 .
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
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
Christian Union .
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 were the big winners of the elections. Since 5 November
2012 they have formed the second Rutte cabinet .
Government of the Netherlands
Government of the Netherlands
Provinces of the Netherlands , Municipalities of the
Water board (Netherlands)
Water board (Netherlands) , and Public body
(Netherlands) Provinces and special municipalities of the
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
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 enclaves.
Peace Palace (Vredespaleis), in
The Hague Main articles:
Foreign relations of the Netherlands and List of diplomatic missions
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
Dutch Golden Age , the
Dutch people built up a
commercial and colonial empire. The most important colonies were
Indonesia became independent
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.
Armed forces of the Netherlands Lieutenant
Rob Bauer , highest commanding officer in the
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 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
The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the
prefix Koninklijke (Royal):
* Koninklijke Landmacht (KL), the
Royal Netherlands Army
Royal Netherlands Army ;
* 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.
Rob Bauer is the current Commander of the
Netherlands armed forces.
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.
Economy of the Netherlands
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 the
Global Enabling Trade Report (2nd in 2016), and was
ranked the fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss
International Institute for Management Development
International Institute for Management Development in 2017. In
addition, the country was ranked the third most innovative in the
world in the 2017
Global Innovation Index
Global Innovation Index .
As of 2016 , 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
Unilever , Heineken ,
KLM , financial services (ING , ABN
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
per capita ,
UNICEF ranked the
Netherlands 1st in child well-being in
rich countries, both in 2007 and in 2013. On the Index of Economic
Netherlands is the 13th most free market capitalist economy
out of 157 surveyed countries.
Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands.
Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX), part of
Euronext , is the world's
oldest stock exchange and is one of Europe's largest bourses. It is
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 , the
United States dollar
United States dollar is
used instead of the euro.
The Netherlands is part of a monetary
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
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East 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
Netherlands from Central and Eastern
Of economic importance is
BrabantStad , a partnership between the
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 (
Rotterdam , The
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
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 ICT.
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
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
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
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.
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
Netherlands has 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 lines. A regional
train operated by the
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
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
Basel , Switzerland, and into France. As of 2013 ,
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.
Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or
road. In 2007, the
Betuweroute , a new fast freight railway from
Rotterdam to 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
Demographics of the Netherlands
Demographics of the Netherlands The population of
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
except for very small states like
Vatican City ,
San Marino ,
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 is 0.44%.
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
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.
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
Canada , Australia
South Africa and the
United States . According to the 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
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 cities:
Amsterdam in the province North
The Hague in the province South
Holland , and
Utrecht . The
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
FUNCTIONAL URBAN AREAS
Density in the
FUNCTIONAL URBAN AREAS
Languages of the Netherlands Knowledge of foreign
languages in the Netherlands, in percent of the population over 15,
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
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
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
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.
a formal status in the special municipality of
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 two
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 in
Friesland teach and have exams in West
Frisian , and schools across the country teach and have exams in
Ancient Greek and
Latin for secondary school (called Gymnasium or
Religion in the Netherlands
Religions in the
Irreligious (50.1%) Roman
Protestant (15.5%) Other Christian (4.6%)
Muslim (4.9%) Other religion (1.1%)
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.
Statistics Netherlands , the Dutch governmental institution
that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands, found that
50.1% of the total population declared to be
Christians comprised the 43.8% of the total population and were
Catholics with 23.7%,
Protestants with 15.5% and other
Christians with 4.6%.
Islam comprised the 4.9% of the total population
and other religions (like
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 exception:
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 has been traditionally associated with
Calvinism , specifically the 1795 disestablished and now non-existent
Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch 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 provinces of
North Brabant and Limburg have historically been
strongly Roman Catholic, and some of their people might still consider
Catholic Church as a base for their cultural identity .
Protestantism in the
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
Lutheran in orientation. It was formed in 2004 as a merger of the
Dutch Reformed Church
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
Indonesia , but mainly migrant workers
Morocco . During the 1990s,
Muslim refugees arrived
from countries like
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina ,
Other religions account for some 6% of the Dutch people.
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
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 and Universities in the
Netherlands A primary school in
The Hague A University of
Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and
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.
Healthcare in the Netherlands Portrait of Antonie
van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) by
Jan Verkolje A public
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
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 professionals.
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 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 most
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
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).
Culture of the Netherlands Girl with a Pearl
Johannes Vermeer Self-portrait by
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Rijksmuseum The National NEMO Science Museum and
Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum in second plan, in
ART, PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE
Dutch art ,
Architecture of the Netherlands , and
The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. The 17th century,
in which the
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 was born and
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
John Quincy Adams , Physics
Nobel Prize laureate
Hendrik Lorentz and
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
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and
describe single-celled organisms with a microscope .
Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age , literature flourished as well, with Joost
van den Vondel and P. C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the
Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives
in the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia. Important 20th century
Godfried Bomans ,
Harry Mulisch ,
Jan Wolkers , Simon
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
Leiden , with 17 and 18th century buildings
along the canals. Smaller village architecture with wooden houses is
Marken . Replicas of Dutch buildings can be found
in Huis Ten Bosch ,
Japan . A similar
Holland Village is
being built in
China . Windmills , tulips , wooden shoes ,
Delftware pottery, and cannabis are among the items associated
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
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 the
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 and
Music of the former
Netherlands Antilles The Royal
Concertgebouw from the 19th
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
Johan Cruyff Arena
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 ,
ReVamp , The Gathering
Within Temptation as well as jazz and
Caro Emerald are having international success. Also, metal
Hail of Bullets ,
God Dethroned ,
Present Danger ,
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 and
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
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
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
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
Armin van Buuren ,
Tiësto , Hardwell
Martin Garrix ,
Dash Berlin ,
Nicky Romero , W the first four of
which have been ranked as best in the world by
DJ Mag Top 100 DJs .
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 orchestras.
FILM AND TELEVISION
Cinema of the Netherlands
Cinema of the Netherlands and Television in the
Netherlands 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 ("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 (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 Amsterdam
after directing the short film Submission .
Internationally successful directors of photography from the
Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar , Spectre , Dunkirk )
Theo van de Sande (Wayne\'s World and Blade ). Van Hoytema went to
National Film School in Łódź (
Poland ) and Van de Sande went to
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 (Three Men
and a Baby ).
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
Endemol , founded by Dutch media tycoons John
de Mol and
Joop van den Ende . Headquartered in
Amsterdam , Endemol
has 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 Utopia .
Sports in the Netherlands Dutch star football
Arjen Robben and
Robin van Persie during a game with the
Netherlands national football team against
Denmark national football
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 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
The Netherlands baseball team have won the European
championship 20 times out of 32 events. Dutch
K-1 kickboxers have won
K-1 World Grand Prix 15 times out of 19 tournaments.
The Dutch speed skaters\' performance at the
2014 Winter Olympics
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 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
The biggest success of the women\'s national team was winning the
European Championship in 1995 and the World Grand Prix in 2007 .
Dutch cuisine The Gouda cheese market
Coenraad Johannes van Houten
Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the solid chocolate in
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
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
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
Friesian Clove ) is a notable example.
The provinces of North
Holland , South
Zeeland , Utrecht
and 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 form) and 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
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 this
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
Dutch Empire Further information: Dutch East Indies
and Indos in the
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies New
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 Netherlands
urbanised 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 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
Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje , and
still has academics who specialise in Indonesian languages and
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 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
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
* Geography portal
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).
* ^ 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 Dutch government in relation to
Bonaire , and
English in relation to
Sint Eustatius and
* ^ 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
Caribbean 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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development from the 10th–17th centuries (1960)
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Geography of the Netherlands (1985); focus on the history
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* Paul Arblaster. A History of the Low Countries. Palgrave Essential
Histories Series New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 298 pp. ISBN
* 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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