About the Netherlands

People

With 17 million people and a population density of 488 people per km2, the Netherlands is the most densely populated country of the European Union and one of the mostly densely populated countries in the world. The total size of the Netherlands is 41,500 km2. Amsterdam is the capital, but the government resides in The Hague. More than 40% of the total population live in the Randstad, the agglomeration of the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Language

The official language is Dutch. The population of the province of Friesland has a choice between Dutch and Frisian, the only officially recognised regional language. The Netherlands also include the regional languages of West Low German and Limburgs. In other parts of the Netherlands, people often speak a dialect besides Standard Dutch. Many Dutch people also speak German and English.

Landscape

Water dominates the Dutch landscape. Three big European rivers (Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt) reach the ocean via the Netherlands and create an important delta. 26% of the Netherlands is under sea level. During a age-long battle against the water, the Dutch constructed a water system consisting of dykes, polders and weirs. However, the Netherlands offers more variation than the familiar green, flat polder landscape with black and white cows.

Economy

The Netherlands is known as a politically stable country with a sound financial policy. The Netherlands is one of the most open economies in the world and is one of the world’s top 5 biggest exporters.

Three quarters of the professional population work in the tertiary sector, one quarter in the industrial sector and only 4 percent in agriculture. Despite these figure, the Netherlands are a big exporter of agricultural and horticultural products. Some big Dutch companies are: Shell, Unilever, Akzo Nobel, Philips, Aegon, ING Group, Rabobank, Heineken, TNT and Randstad.

Sports

The most popular sports in the Netherlands are football, hockey, tennis, cycling, golf, volleyball, korfball, handball, swimming and ice-skating. Dutch football and speed skating especially enjoy a worldwide reputation.

Orange is related to the Dutch Royal Family and represents the national identity of the Netherlands. That’s why Dutch fans dress up in orange. During some sport events the whole country turns orange and people become infected with what we like to call the ‘orange fever’.

Information www.hollland.com

Surface area:

41,528 km² (18.41% water)

Total population:

17 million

Population density:

488 people per km2

Capital city:

Amsterdam (inhabitants: 834,119 in 2014)

Government:

The Hague

Official languages:

Dutch, Frisian (only spoken in Friesland)

Type of government:

Constitutional monarchy - parliamentary democracy

Religion:

44% No religion, 29% Roman Catholic, 19% Protestant, 6% Muslim, 1% Hindu, 1% Buddhist

Currency:

Euro

National holidays:

King’s Day (27 April) Liberation Day (5 May)

Highest point:

323 m (Vaalserberg, Limburg)

Lowest point:

6.7 m (Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel, Zuid-Holland)

Average temperature in July:

17.4 °C

Average temperature in January:

2.8 °C