Photos of Netherlands



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

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


mean elevation: 30 m

lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m

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

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)

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

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-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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 76.9%, EU 6.4%, Turkish 2.4%, Moroccan 2.3%, Indonesian 2.1%, German 2.1%, Surinamese 2%, Polish 1%, other 4.8% (2018 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


Roman Catholic 23.6%, Protestant 14.9% (includes Dutch Reformed 6.4%, Protestant Church of The Netherlands 5.6%, Calvinist 2.9%), Muslim 5.1%, other 5.6% (includes Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish), none 50.7% (2017 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.)

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: 92.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.74% annual rate of change (2015-20 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

29.8 years (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

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

3.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

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 - deaths

<200 (2019 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 18 years

female: 19 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 7.2%

male: 7.7%

female: 6.6% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150


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

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: previous 1597, 1798; latest adopted 24 August 1815 (substantially revised in 1848)

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 2010

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; 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 proportional representation vote to serve up to 4-year terms)

First Chamber - last held on 27 May 2019 (next to be held on NA May 2023)
Second Chamber - last held on 15 March 2017 (next to be held on 17 March 2021)

election results:
First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FvD 12, VVD 12, CDA 9, GL 8, D66 7, MvdA 6, PVV 5, SP 4, CU 4, other 8; composition - men 49, women 26, percent of women 34.7%
Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 21.3%, PVV 13.1%, CDA 12.4%, D66 12.2%, GL 9.1%, SP 9.1%, PvdA 5.7%, CU 3.4%, PvdD 3.2%, 50 Plus 3.1%, other 7.4%; seats by party - VVD 33, PVV 20, CDA 19, D66 19, GL 14, SP 14, PvdA 9, CU 5, PvdD 5, 50 Plus 4, other 8; composition - men 96, women 54, percent of women 36%; note - total States General percent of women 35.6%

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 [Sybrand VAN HAERSMA BUMA]
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 (vacant)
Green Left or GL [Jesse KLAVER]
Labor Party or PvdA [Lodewijk ASSCHER]
Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]
Party for the Animals or PvdD [Marianne THIEME]
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD [Mark RUTTE]
Reformed Political Party or SGP [Kees VAN DER STAAIJ]
Socialist Party or SP [Emile ROEMER]
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, [1] 877-388-2443

FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Peter HOEKSTRA (since 10 January 2018)

telephone: [31] (70) 310-2209

embassy: John Adams Park 1, 2244 BZ Wassenaar

mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715

FAX: [31] (70) 310-2207

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 growth rate

1.63% (2019 est.)

2.32% (2018 est.)

3.02% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 150

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)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$986.847 billion (2019 est.)

$970.567 billion (2018 est.)

$948.181 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 27

GDP (official exchange rate)

$907.042 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$56,935 (2019 est.)

$56,325 (2018 est.)

$55,348 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 21

Gross national saving

31.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

31.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

31.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

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


$857.574 billion (2019 est.)

$835.759 billion (2018 est.)

$801.942 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Exports - partners

Germany 24.2%, Belgium 10.7%, UK 8.8%, France 8.8%, Italy 4.2% (2017)

Exports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and livestock, manufactured goods


$755.65 billion (2019 est.)

$732.865 billion (2018 est.)

$700.657 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Imports - partners

China 16.4%, Germany 15.3%, Belgium 8.5%, US 6.9%, UK 5.1%, Russia 4.3% (2017)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing

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: 5,598,798

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32.52 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 21,914,852

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 127.29 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: highly developed and well maintained; while fixed-line voice market is in decline the VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) and mobile platforms advance; one of the highest fixed broadband penetration rates in the world, due to government investments; plans for 3G network shutdown in 2022; operators are concentrating investment on LTE-A and 5G services; MNOs and banks launch m-payments system (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 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

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: 16,243,928

percent of population: 94.71% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 7,406,700

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 43 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23


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 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 11 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2017)

under 914 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 6 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)

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: 1,200

by type: bulk carrier 10, container ship 45, general cargo 557, oil tanker 23, other 565 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 24

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): IJmuiden, Vlissingen

container port(s) (TEUs): Rotterdam (13,734,000) (2017)

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

1.48% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.36% of GDP (2019)

1.21% of GDP (2018)

1.15% of GDP (2017)

1.16% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 86

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces have approximately 40,000 active duty personnel (18,000 Army; 8,500 Navy; 8,000 Air Force; 5,500 Constabulary) (2020)

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 Germany, Italy, and Sweden; 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 (2019)

Military deployments

160 Afghanistan (NATO); 270 Lithuania (NATO) (2020)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2016)

Military - note

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


Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) (2020)

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): 31,694 (Syria), 14,809 (Eritrea), 13,007 (Somalia), 8,423 (Iraq), 5,815 (Afghanistan) (2019)

stateless persons: 1,951 (2019)

Illicit drugs

major European producer of synthetic drugs, including ecstasy, and cannabis cultivator; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy and a significant consumer of ecstasy; a large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering