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The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830, Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered German invasion and occupation in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU) and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In October 2010, the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and the three smallest islands - Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba - became special municipalities in the Netherlands administrative structure. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands and Aruba as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In February 2018, the Sint Eustatius island council (governing body) was dissolved and replaced by a government commissioner to restore the integrity of public administration. According to the Dutch Government, the intervention will be as "short as possible and as long as needed."

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



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

Geographic coordinates

52 31 N, 5 46 E


total: 41,543 sq km

land: 33,893 sq km

water: 7,650 sq km

country comparison to the world: 134

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

<p>slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey</p>

Land boundaries

total: 1,053 km

border countries (2): Belgium 478 km, Germany 575 km


451 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters


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


highest point: Mount Scenery (on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, now considered an integral part of the Netherlands following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles) 862 m

lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m

mean elevation: 30 m

note: the highest point on continental Netherlands is Vaalserberg at 322 m

Natural resources

natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 55.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 29.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 24.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.8% (2018 est.)

other: 34.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

4,860 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rhine river mouth (shared with Switzerland [s], Germany, and France) - 1,233 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Population distribution

an area known as the Randstad, anchored by the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht, is the most densely populated region; the north tends to be less dense, though sizeable communities can be found throughout the entire country

Natural hazards


volcanism: Mount Scenery (887 m), located on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, last erupted in 1640;; Round Hill (601 m), a dormant volcano also known as The Quill, is located on the island of St. Eustatius in the Caribbean;; these islands are at the northern end of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends south to Grenada

Geography - note

located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde); about a quarter of the country lies below sea level and only about half of the land exceeds one meter above sea level

People and Society


noun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)

adjective: Dutch

Ethnic groups

Dutch 75.4%, EU (excluding Dutch) 6.4%, Turkish 2.4%, Moroccan 2.4%, Surinamese 2.1%, Indonesian 2%, other 9.3% (2021 est.)


Dutch (official); note - Frisian is an official language in Fryslan province; Frisian, Low Saxon, Limburgish, Romani, and Yiddish have protected status under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages; Dutch is the official language of the three special municipalities of the Caribbean Netherlands; English is a recognized regional language on Sint Eustatius and Saba; Papiamento is a recognized regional language on Bonaire

major-language sample(s):
Het Wereld Feitenboek, een omnisbare bron van informatie. (Dutch)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Roman Catholic 20.1%, Protestant 14.8% (includes Dutch Reformed, Protestant Church of The Netherlands, Calvinist), Muslim 5%, other 5.9% (includes Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish), none 54.1% (2019 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.11% (male 1,425,547/female 1,358,894)

15-24 years: 11.91% (male 1,049,000/female 1,008,763)

25-54 years: 38.47% (male 3,334,064/female 3,313,238)

55-64 years: 13.69% (male 1,177,657/female 1,188,613)

65 years and over: 19.82% (male 1,558,241/female 1,866,380) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Netherlands. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 55.6

youth dependency ratio: 24.4

elderly dependency ratio: 31.2

potential support ratio: 3.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 42.8 years

male: 41.6 years

female: 44 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 32

Birth rate

10.98 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Death rate

9.22 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Net migration rate

1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

Population distribution

an area known as the Randstad, anchored by the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht, is the most densely populated region; the north tends to be less dense, though sizeable communities can be found throughout the entire country


urban population: 92.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.59% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.158 million AMSTERDAM (capital), 1.012 million Rotterdam (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.1 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.45 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.82 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 201

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 81.95 years

male: 79.72 years

female: 84.3 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Contraceptive prevalence rate

73% (2013)

note: percent of women aged 18-45

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.61 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

3.2 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

24,000 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children

country comparison to the world: 81

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 18 years

female: 19 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 9.1%

male: 9.2%

female: 9% (2020 est.)


Environment - current issues

water and air pollution are significant environmental problems; pollution of the country's rivers from industrial and agricultural chemicals, including heavy metals, organic compounds, nitrates, and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Multi-effect Protocol, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 12.07 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 170.78 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 17.79 megatons (2020 est.)


temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters

Land use

agricultural land: 55.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 29.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 24.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 10.8% (2018 est.)

other: 34.1% (2018 est.)


urban population: 92.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.59% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 8.855 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 2,179,216 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 24.6% (2015 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Rhine river mouth (shared with Switzerland [s], Germany, and France) - 1,233 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Rhine-Maas (198,735 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 1.26 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 14.74 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 76.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

91 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands

conventional short form: Netherlands

local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden

local short form: Nederland

abbreviation: NL

etymology: the country name literally means "the lowlands" and refers to the geographic features of the land being both flat and down river from higher areas (i.e., at the estuaries of the Scheldt, Meuse, and Rhine Rivers; only about half of the Netherlands is more than 1 meter above sea level)

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


name: Amsterdam; note - The Hague is the seat of government

geographic coordinates: 52 21 N, 4 55 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

time zone note: time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, for the constituent countries in the Caribbean, the time difference is UTC-4

etymology: the original Dutch name, Amstellerdam, meaning "a dam on the Amstel River," dates to the 13th century; over time the name simplified to Amsterdam

Administrative divisions

12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie), 3 public entities* (openbare lichamen, singular - openbaar lichaam (Dutch); entidatnan publiko, singular - entidat publiko (Papiamento)); Bonaire*, Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslan (Friesland), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant (North Brabant), Noord-Holland (North Holland), Overijssel, Saba*, Sint Eustatius*, Utrecht, Zeeland (Zealand), Zuid-Holland (South Holland)

note 1: the Netherlands is one of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three, Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, are all islands in the Caribbean; while all four parts are considered equal partners, in practice, most of the Kingdom's affairs are administered by the Netherlands, which makes up about 98% of the Kingdom's total land area and population

note 2: although Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are officially incorporated into the country of the Netherlands under the broad designation of "public entities," Dutch Government sources regularly apply to them the more descriptive term of "special municipalities"; Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are collectively referred to as the Caribbean Netherlands

Dependent areas

Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten


23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581, they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)

National holiday

King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; currently celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday


history: many previous to adoption of the "Basic Law of the Kingdom of the Netherlands" on 24 August 1815; revised 8 times, the latest in 1983

amendments: proposed as an Act of Parliament by or on behalf of the king or by the Second Chamber of the States General; the Second Chamber is dissolved after its first reading of the Act; passage requires a second reading by both the First Chamber and the newly elected Second Chamber, followed by at least two-thirds majority vote of both chambers, and ratification by the king; amended many times, last in 2018

Legal system

civil law system based on the French system; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Netherlands

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER (since 30 April 2013); Heir Apparent Princess Catharina-Amalia (daughter of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER, born 7 December 2003)

head of government: Prime Minister (vacant); note - Prime Minister Mark RUTTE resigned on 15 January 2021 and is acting Prime Minister; Deputy Prime Ministers (since 26 October 2017) Hugo DE JONGE, Karin Kajsa OLLONGREN, and Carola SCHOUTEN (since 26 October 2017); note - Mark RUTTE heads his third cabinet put in place since 26 October 2017

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy prime ministers are appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch

description: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of:
First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial council members by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open-list proportional representation vote to serve up to 4-year terms)

First Chamber - last held on 27 May 2019 (next to be held in May 2023)
Second Chamber - last held on 15-17 March 2021 (next to be held on 31 March 2025)

election results:
First Chamber - percent of vote by party - FvD 15.9%, VVD 15.1%, CDA 11.4%, GL 11.2%, D66 8.8%, LP 8.6%, PVV 6.5%, SP 5.9%, CU 5%, other 11.6%; seats by party - FvD 12, VVD 12, CDA 9, GL 8, D66 7, LP 6, PVV 5, SP 4, CU 4, other 8; composition (as of September 2021) - men 46, women 29, percent of women 38.7%
Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 21.9%, D66 15%, PVV 10.8%, CDA 9.5%, ,SP 9.1%, PvdA 5.7%, GL 5.2%, FvD 5%, PvdD 3.8%, CU 3.4%, other 13.7%; seats by party - VVD 34, D66 24, PVV 17, CDA 15, GL 8, FvD8, PvdD 6, CU 5, other 8; composition (as of September 2021) - men 91, women 59, percent of women 39.3%; note - total States General percent of women 39.1%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (consists of 41 judges: the president, 6 vice presidents, 31 justices or raadsheren, and 3 justices in exceptional service, referred to as buitengewone dienst); the court is divided into criminal, civil, tax, and ombuds chambers

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch from a list provided by the Second Chamber of the States General; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; district courts, each with up to 5 subdistrict courts; Netherlands Commercial Court

Political parties and leaders

Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Wopke HOEKSTRA]
Christian Union or CU [Gert-Jan SEGERS]
Democrats 66 or D66 [Rob JETTEN]
Denk [Tunahan KUZU]
50 Plus [Henk KROL]
Forum for Democracy or FvD [Thierry BAUDET]
Green Left or GL [Jesse KLAVER]
Labor Party or PvdA [Lilianne PLOUMEN]
Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]
Party for the Animals or PvdD [Esther OUWENHAND]
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD [Mark RUTTE]
Reformed Political Party or SGP [Kees VAN DER STAAIJ]
Socialist Party or SP [Lilian MARIJNISSEN]
plus a few minor parties

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UN Security Council (temporary), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Andre HASPELS (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300

FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Marja VERLOOP (since 17 January 2021)

embassy: John Adams Park 1, 2244 BZ Wassenaar

mailing address: 5780 Amsterdam Place, Washington DC  20521-5780

telephone: [31] (70) 310-2209

FAX: [31] (70) 310-2207

email address and website:


consulate(s) general: Amsterdam

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of red (bright vermilion; top), white, and blue (cobalt); similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; the colors were derived from those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century; originally the upper band was orange, but because its dye tended to turn red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color; the banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use

National symbol(s)

lion, tulip; national color: orange

National anthem

name: "Het Wilhelmus" (The William)

lyrics/music: Philips VAN MARNIX van Sint Aldegonde (presumed)/unknown

note: adopted 1932, in use since the 17th century, making it the oldest national anthem in the world; also known as "Wilhelmus van Nassouwe" (William of Nassau), it is in the form of an acrostic, where the first letter of each stanza spells the name of the leader of the Dutch Revolt


Economic overview

The Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, plays an important role as a European transportation hub, with a consistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations, and low unemployment. Industry focuses on food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for food-processing and underpins the country’s status as the world’s second largest agricultural exporter.

The Netherlands is part of the euro zone, and as such, its monetary policy is controlled by the European Central Bank. The Dutch financial sector is highly concentrated, with four commercial banks possessing over 80% of banking assets, and is four times the size of Dutch GDP.

In 2008, during the financial crisis, the government budget deficit hit 5.3% of GDP. Following a protracted recession from 2009 to 2013, during which unemployment doubled to 7.4% and household consumption contracted for four consecutive years, economic growth began inching forward in 2014. Since 2010, Prime Minister Mark RUTTE’s government has implemented significant austerity measures to improve public finances and has instituted broad structural reforms in key policy areas, including the labor market, the housing sector, the energy market, and the pension system. In 2017, the government budget returned to a surplus of 0.7% of GDP, with economic growth of 3.2%, and GDP per capita finally surpassed pre-crisis levels. The fiscal policy announced by the new government in the 2018-2021 coalition plans for increases in government consumption and public investment, fueling domestic demand and household consumption and investment. The new government’s policy also plans to increase demand for workers in the public and private sector, forecasting a further decline in the unemployment rate, which hit 4.8% in 2017.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$945.48 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$982.22 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$966.02 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 26

Real GDP growth rate

1.63% (2019 est.)

2.32% (2018 est.)

3.02% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 149

Real GDP per capita

$54,200 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$56,600 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$56,100 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 22

GDP (official exchange rate)

$907.042 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.6% (2019 est.)

1.7% (2018 est.)

1.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AAA (1994)

Moody's rating: Aaa (1986)

Standard & Poors rating: AAA (2015)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.6% (2017 est.)

industry: 17.9% (2017 est.)

services: 70.2% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 44.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 24.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 83% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -72.3% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, potatoes, sugar beet, pork, onions, wheat, poultry, tomatoes, carrots/turnips, beef


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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.2%

industry: 17.2%

services: 81.6% (2015 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 24.9% (2014 est.)


revenues: 361.4 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 352.4 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

56.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

61.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

country comparison to the world: 78

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$90.207 billion (2019 est.)

$98.981 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4


$719.78 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$755.77 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$773.74 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Exports - partners

Germany 20%, Belgium 12%, United Kingdom 9%, France 7%, United States 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, packaged medicines, broadcasting equipment, photography equipment, computers (2019)


$622.66 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$661.18 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$677.38 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Imports - partners

Germany 15%, China 11%, Belgium 9%, United States 8%, Russia 7%, United Kingdom 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, computers, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$38.44 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$38.21 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Debt - external

$4,345,413,000,000 (2019 est.)

$4,625,016,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Natural gas - production

45.33 billion cu m (2017 est.)

note: the Netherlands has curbed gas production due to seismic activity in the province of Groningen, largest source of gas reserves

country comparison to the world: 17


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4.937 million (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 28.81 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 21.415 million (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: highly developed and well maintained; Dutch telecom market is gradually migrating to upgraded platforms; operators repurposing their spectrum and physical assets for LTE and 5G; one of the highest fixed broadband penetration rates in the world, with competition between DSL and fiber networks; fixed-line voice market is in decline while VoIP and mobile platforms advance; plans for 3G network shutdown in 2023; operators are concentrating investment on LTE-A and 5G services; operators and banks launch m-payments system; adoption of smart city concepts and technology in major cities; major exporter of broadcasting equipment and computers to Europe, and importer of same from China (2020)

domestic: extensive fixed-line, fiber-optic network; large cellular telephone system with five major operators utilizing the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications technology; one in five households now use Voice over the Internet Protocol services; fixed-line 33 per 100 and mobile-cellular 127 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 31; landing points for Farland North, TAT-14, Circe North, Concerto, Ulysses 2, AC-1, UK-Netherlands 14, and COBRAcable submarine cables which provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 5 (3 Intelsat - 1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

more than 90% of households are connected to cable or satellite TV systems that provide a wide range of domestic and foreign channels; public service broadcast system includes multiple broadcasters, 3 with a national reach and the remainder operating in regional and local markets; 2 major nationwide commercial television companies, each with 3 or more stations, and many commercial TV stations in regional and local markets; nearly 600 radio stations with a mix of public and private stations providing national or regional coverage

Internet users

total: 16.47 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 91.33% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 7,525,016 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 43.92 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 8 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 238

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 43,996,044 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 5,886,510,000 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 23

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 11

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 2 (2013)


1 (2013)


14000 km gas, 2500 km oil and refined products, 3000 km chemicals (2016)


total: 3,058 km (2016)

standard gauge: 3,058 km 1.435-m gauge (2,314 km electrified) (2016)

country comparison to the world: 61


total: 139,124 km (includes 3,654 km of expressways) (2016)

country comparison to the world: 37


6,237 km (navigable by ships up to 50 tons) (2012)

country comparison to the world: 21

Merchant marine

total: 1,199

by type: bulk carrier 10, container ship 40, general cargo 559, oil tanker 26, other 564 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 24

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): IJmuiden, Vlissingen

container port(s) (TEUs): Rotterdam (14,810,804) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Rotterdam

river port(s): Amsterdam (Nordsee Kanaal); Moerdijk (Hollands Diep River); Rotterdam (Rhine River); Terneuzen (Western Scheldt River)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Military Constabulary) (2021)

note - the Netherlands Coast Guard and the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard are civilian in nature, but managed by the Royal Netherlands Navy

Military expenditures

1.49% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.35% of GDP (2019)

1.22% of GDP (2018)

1.15% of GDP (2017)

1.16% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 88

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces have approximately 35,000 active duty personnel (15,000 Army; 7,500 Navy; 6,500 Air Force; 6,000 Constabulary) (2021)

note - the Navy includes about 2,300 marines

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Netherlands Armed Forces consists of a mix of domestically-produced and modern European- and US-sourced equipment; since 2010, the US is the leading supplier of weapons systems to the Netherlands, followed by several European countries; the Netherlands has an advanced domestic defense industry that focuses on armored vehicles, naval ships, and air defense systems; it also participates with the US and other European countries on joint development and production of advanced weapons systems (2021)

Military deployments

270 Lithuania (NATO) (2021)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for an all-volunteer force; conscription abolished in 1996 (2021)

Military - note

the Netherlands is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949

since 1973, the Dutch Marine Corps has worked closely with the British Royal Marines, including jointly in the UK-Netherlands amphibious landing force

a Dutch Army airmobile infantry brigade and a mechanized infantry brigade have been integrated into the German Army since 2014 and 2016 respectively

in 2018, the Defense Ministers of Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the creation of a Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC); the C-SOCC was declared operational in December 2020 (2021)


Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 22,547 (Syria), 11,961 (Eritrea), 11,642 (Somalia), 7,365 (Iraq), 5,212 (Afghanistan) (2020)

stateless persons: 2,006 (2020)

Illicit drugs

a significant transit country for illicit drugs, especially cocaine from South America destined for Europe; one of the largest sources of synthetic drugs for international markets; numerous methamphetamine laboratories; traffickers use postage companies to send cocaine, ecstasy or methamphetamines distribute narcotics to global customers