Netherlands Country Facts

The Netherlands
Capital city Amsterdam
Surface 41,543 km²
Population 17,619,000
Road network length 139,294 km
Length of highway network 2,474 km
First highway 1937
Motorway name Motorway
Traffic drives Right
License plate code NL

The Netherlands is a small country in Western Europe in terms of area. The country has 17.6 million inhabitants on an area of ​​41,543 km² (33,893 km² land area). The capital is Amsterdam and the government is based in The Hague.


The Netherlands is located on the North Sea in western Europe. It borders Germany to the east and Belgium to the south. The closest UK coastis located 135 kilometers from the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a predominantly very flat country, with few differences in height. About half of the country is less than 1 meter above sea level. Parts of the Netherlands have been reclaimed from the sea. The Netherlands mainly consists of a cultural landscape, created after the reclamation of large parts of the western Netherlands, the Flevopolders and the damming of the estuaries in Zeeland. All aspects of the Dutch landscape are strongly human-determined, including the nature reserves. Scattered are some low hills, mainly moraines from the last ice age. Only South Limburg is really hilly. The Netherlands has a reasonable amount of forest, especially on the Veluwe, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, in parts of Brabant and the Achterhoek. The amount of afforestation in the Netherlands has increased considerably since 1950. The highest point in the Netherlands is on Saba, the volcano Mount Scenery with a height of 877 meters. The highest point in the European Netherlands is the Vaalserberg in the province of Limburg with 322 meters.

The Netherlands measures a maximum of 300 kilometers from north to south and 200 kilometers from west to east. The Netherlands is a river delta, the Rhine flows into the country from Germany and branches into various rivers, each of which has different names on the way to the sea. The most important are the Waal, Lek, Nederrijn and IJssel. From Belgium, the Meuse flows into the country and heads northwards, before turning westwards, parallel to the Rhine delta.

The damming of the estuaries in Zeeland has created large lakes, although the Oosterschelde and Westerschelde have not been dammed. Large lakes are the Grevelingen, the Haringvliet and the Volkerak. In the northwest of the Netherlands lies the IJsselmeer and the Markermeer, plus the peripheral lakes of the province of Flevoland. The province of Friesland has numerous lakes. In the northern coastal area are the Wadden Islands, Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, plus a number of sandbanks. The Wadden Islands continue along the German coast.

The Netherlands is characterized by a large number of small rivers, streams and navigable canals. Important canals are the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, the North Sea Canal, the Scheldt-Rhine Canal and the Twente Canal.

The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces. The Netherlands includes the Caribbean islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire. The islands of Sint Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and have their own Constitution.

Provinces of the Netherlands
Drenthe • Flevoland • Friesland • Gelderland • Groningen • Limburg • North Brabant • North Holland • Overijssel • Utrecht • Zeeland • South Holland
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Countries: Netherlands • Aruba • Curaçao • Sint MaartenPublic bodies: Bonaire • Saba • Sint Eustatius


The Netherlands is one of the most highly developed and prosperous countries in the world. The Gross National Product (GNP) grew from € 324 billion in 1995 to € 702 billion in 2016. The economy of the Netherlands is based on services and international trade. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. The Netherlands annually imports for €386 billion and exports for €433 billion. Almost half of exports are re-exports. Unemployment in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in Europe.


In 2017, the Netherlands has 17.1 million inhabitants, making it the largest among the smaller EU member states. The rapid population growth after the Second World War is remarkable. Between 1950 and 2010, the population grew by more than 60%, much more than in Belgium (25%) and Germany (20%). The Netherlands has experienced rapid growth, particularly after the Second World War, due to a sharp increase in the number of births and immigration. Large ethnic minorities are Turks, Moroccans, Indonesians, Germans and Surinamese. After 2000, the number of Poles has grown strongly due to labor migration.

The country is characterized by a number of larger cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, where not one city really dominates. There are countless large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, spread all over the country. The west of the Netherlands is highly urbanized, including the conurbation Randstad. However, the Randstad does not form a continuous built-up area, which means that the average population density is high, but not particularly high locally. South Holland is the province with the highest population density: 1,265 inhabitants per km².


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