The World Factbook (1990)/Netherlands

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World Factbook (1990) Netherlands.jpg

See regional map V


Total area: 37,290 km²; land area: 33,940 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries: 1,027 km total; Belgium 450 km, FRG 577 km

Coastline: 451 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters

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

Natural resources: natural gas, crude oil, fertile soil

Land use: 25% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 34% meadows and pastures; 9% forest and woodland; 31% other; includes 15% irrigated

Environment: 27% of the land area is below sea level and protected from the North Sea by dikes

Note: located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, Schelde)


Population: 14,936,032 (July 1990), growth rate 0.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 13 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 2 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 7 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 74 years male, 81 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Dutchman(men), Dutch woman(women); adjective—Dutch

Ethnic divisions: 96% Dutch, 4% Moroccans, Turks, and others (1988)

Religion: 36% Roman Catholic, 27% Protestant, 4% other, 33% unaffiliated (1986)

Language: Dutch

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 5,300,000; 50.1% services, 28.2% manufacturing and construction, 15.9% government, 5.8% agriculture (1986)

Organized labor: 29% of labor force


Long-form name: Kingdom of the Netherlands

Type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Amsterdam, but government resides at The Hague

Administrative divisions: 12 provinces (provinciën, singular—provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland

Dependent areas: Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

Independence: 1579 (from Spain)

Constitution: 17 February 1983

Legal system: civil law system incorporating French penal theory; judicial review in the Supreme Court of legislation of lower order rather than Acts of Parliament; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Queen's Day, 30 April (1938)

Executive branch: monarch, prime minister, vice prime minister, Cabinet, Cabinet of Ministers

Legislative branch: bicameral States General (Staten Generaal) consists of an upper chamber or First Chamber (Eerste Kamer) and a lower chamber or Second Chamber (Tweede Kamer)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (De Hoge Raad)

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER, Prince of Orange, son of Queen Beatrix (born 27 April 1967);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Ruud (Rudolph) F. M. LUBBERS (since 4 November 1982); Deputy Prime Minister Wim KOK (since 2 November 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Willem van Velzen; Labor (PvdA), Wim Kok; Liberal (VVD), Joris Voorhoeve; Democrats '66 (D'66), Hans van Mierio; Communist (CPN), Henk Hoekstra; a host of minor parties

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: First Chamber—last held on 9 June 1987 (next to be held 9 June 1991); results—elected by the country's 12 provincial councils; seats—(75 total) percent of seats by party NA;

Second Chamber—last held on 6 September 1989 (next to be held by September 1993); results—CDA 35.3%, PvdA 31.9%, VVD 14.6%, D'66 7.9%, others 10.3%; seats—(150 total) CDA 54, PvdA 49, VVD 22, D'66 12, others 13

Communists: about 6,000

Other political or pressure groups: large multinational firms; Federation of Netherlands Trade Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a Protestant trade union; Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations; the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises; and IKV—Interchurch Peace Council

Member of: ADB, Benelux, CCC, Council of Europe, DAC, EC, ECE, EIB, EMS, ESA, ESCAP, FAQ, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICES, ICO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INRO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, IRC, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council (with respect to interests of the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname), NATO, OAS (observer), OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WEU, WHO,

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Richard H. FEIN; Chancery at 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 244-5300; there are Dutch Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador C. Howard WILKINS; Embassy at Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ The Hague (mailing address APO New York 09159); telephone [31](70) 62-49-11; there is a US Consulate General in Amsterdam

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg which uses a lighter blue and is longer


Overview: This highly developed and affluent economy is based on private enterprise. The government makes its presence felt, however, through many regulations, permit requirements, and welfare programs affecting most aspects of economic activity. The trade and financial services sector contributes over 50% of GDP. Industrial activity, including construction, provides about 25% of GDP, and is led by the food-processing, oil-refining, and metal-working industries. The highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 6% of the labor force, but provides large surpluses for export and the domestic food-processing industry. An unemployment rate of over 8.6% and a sizable budget deficit are currently the most serious economic problems.

GDP: $205.9 billion, per capita $13,900; real growth rate 4.2% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 8.6% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $71 billion; expenditures $82 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA billion (1989)

Exports: $110.3 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—agricultural products, processed foods and tobacco, natural gas, chemicals, metal products, textiles, clothing; partners—EC 74.9% (FRG 28.3%, Belgium-Luxembourg 14.2%, France 10.7%, UK 10.2%), US 4.7% (1988)

Imports: $100.9 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—raw materials and semifinished products, consumer goods, transportation equipment, crude oil, food products; partners—EC 63.8% (FRG 26.5%, Belgium-Luxembourg 23.1%, UK 8.1%), US 7.9% (1988)

External debt: none

Industrial production: growth rate 4.8% (1989 est.)

Electricity: 22,216,000 kW capacity; 63,570 million kWh produced, 4,300 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 4% of GDP; animal production predominates; crops—grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables; shortages of grain, fats, and oils

Aid: donor—ODA and OOF commitments (1970-87), $15.8 billion

Currency: Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (plural guilders, gulden, or florins); 1 Netherlands guilder, gulden, or florin (f.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Netherlands guilders, gulden, or florins (f.) per US$1—2.2906 (January 1990), 2.1207 (1989), 1.9766 (1988), 2.0257 (1987), 2.4500 (1986), 3.3214 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 3,037 km track (includes 1,871 km electrified and 1,800 km double track; 2,871 km 1.435-meter standard gauge operated by Netherlands Railways (NS); 166 km privately owned

Highways: 108,360 km total; 92,525 km paved (including 2,185 km of limited access, divided highways); 15,835 km gravel, crushed stone

Inland waterways: 6,340 km, of which 35% is usable by craft of 1,000 metric ton capacity or larger

Pipelines: 418 km crude oil; 965 km refined products; 10,230 km natural gas

Ports: maritime—Amsterdam, Delfzijl, Den Helder, Dordrecht, Eemshaven, Ijmuiden, Rotterdam, Scheveningen, Terneuzen, Vlissingen; inland—29 ports

Merchant marine: 345 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,661,822 GRT/3,732,282 DWT; includes 2 short-sea passenger, 187 cargo, 42 refrigerated cargo, 23 container, 9 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 3 livestock carrier, 12 multifunction large-load carrier, 15 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 27 chemical tanker, 11 liquefied gas, 2 specialized tanker, 1 combination ore/oil, 9 bulk, 2 combination bulk; note—many Dutch-owned ships are also registered in the captive Netherlands Antilles register

Civil air: 98 major transport aircraft Airports: 28 total, 28 usable; 19 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 12 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 3 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: highly developed, well maintained, and integrated; extensive system of multiconductor cables, supplemented by radio relay links; 9,418,000 telephones; stations—6 AM, 20 (32 repeaters) FM, 21 (8 repeaters) TV; 5 submarine cables; communication satellite earth stations operating in INTELSAT (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean) and EUTELSAT systems

Defense Forces

Branches: Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy/Marine Corps, Royal Netherlands Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 4,134,006; 3,660,048 fit for military service; 111,948 reach military age (20) annually

Defense expenditures: 2.9% of GDP, or $6.0 billion (1989 est.)