cover image

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland [ˈneːdərlɑnt] (listen)), informally Holland,[12][13][14] is a country located in Northwestern Europe with overseas territories in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[15][16][17] The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces; it borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, with a North Sea coastline to the north and west. It shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium in the North Sea.[18] The country's official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland.[1] Dutch Low Saxon and Limburgish are recognised regional languages, while Dutch Sign Language, Sinte Romani and Yiddish are recognised non-territorial languages.[1][2] Dutch, English and Papiamento are official in the Caribbean territories.[1]

Quick facts: NetherlandsNederland (Dutch), Sovereign ...
Nederland (Dutch)
Je maintiendrai (French)
(English: "I will maintain")
Anthem: Wilhelmus (Dutch)
(English: "William of Nassau")
Location of Netherlands (dark green)

 in Europe (green & dark grey)
 in the European Union (green)

Sovereign stateKingdom of the Netherlands
Before independenceSpanish Netherlands
Act of Abjuration26 July 1581
Peace of Münster30 January 1648
Kingdom established16 March 1815
Liberation Day5 May 1945
Kingdom Charter15 December 1954
Caribbean reorganisation10 October 2010
and largest city
Amsterdam[lower-alpha 1]
52°22′N 4°53′E
Government seatThe Hague[lower-alpha 1]
Official languagesDutch
Recognised languages
Ethnic groups
  • 55.4% No religion
  • 37.5% Christianity
  • 5.2% Islam
  • 1.1% Hinduism
  • 0.8% Others[4]
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Mark Rutte
LegislatureStates General
House of Representatives
European Parliament
26 seats
41,850 km2 (16,160 sq mi) (131st)
 Water (%)
Highest elevation887 m (2,910 ft)
 30 November 2022 estimate
17,769,400[6] (67th)
 2011 census
423/km2 (1,095.6/sq mi) (16th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
$1.2 trillion [8] (27th)
 Per capita
$68,572[8] (13th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
$1.01 trillion[8] (19th)
 Per capita
$57,836[8] (13th)
Gini (2020) 28.2[9]
HDI (2021) 0.941[10]
very high · 10th
Time zone
  Summer (DST)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Mains electricity230 V–50 Hz
Driving sideright
Calling code+31, +599[lower-alpha 7]
ISO 3166 codeNL
Internet, .bq[lower-alpha 8]

The four largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.[19] Amsterdam is the country's most populous city and the nominal capital.[20] The Hague holds the seat of the States General, Cabinet and Supreme Court.[21] The Port of Rotterdam is the busiest seaport in Europe.[22] Schiphol is the busiest airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest in Europe. The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD, and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centred in The Hague.[23]

Netherlands literally means "lower countries" in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 m (3.3 ft) above sea level, and nearly 26% falling below sea level.[24] Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 14th century.[25] In the Republican period, which began in 1588, the Netherlands entered a unique era of political, economic, and cultural greatness, ranked among the most powerful and influential in Europe and the world; this period is known as the Dutch Golden Age.[26] During this time, its trading companies, the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, established colonies and trading posts all over the world.[27][28]

With a population of 17.7 million people, all living within a total area of 41,850 km2 (16,160 sq mi)—of which the land area is 33,500 km2 (12,900 sq mi)—the Netherlands is the 16th most densely populated country in the world and the second-most densely populated country in the European Union, with a density of 529 people per square kilometre (1,370 people/sq mi). Nevertheless, it is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products by value, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture, and inventiveness.[29][30][31][32]

The Netherlands has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848. The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion, prostitution and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a liberal drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in Civil Law in 1870, though it was not completely removed until a new constitution was approved in 1983. The Netherlands allowed women's suffrage in 1919 and was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. Its mixed-market advanced economy has the twelfth-highest per capita income globally.[33] The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indices of press freedom,[34] economic freedom,[35] human development and quality of life, as well as happiness.[36][37]

Oops something went wrong: