The Kingdom of the Netherlands is situated in Western Europe, between Belgium and Germany.
It covers an area of 41,543 sq. km and has a population of 17.616.145 people (2021).
The Dutch form the largest ethnic community (80.7%), the EU citizens account for about 5%, and the rest of the population is represented by other nationalities, such as Indonesian, Turkish, Surinamese, Moroccan, and Caribbean.
The capital is Amsterdam. However, the actual capital is The Hague, where the royal residence, parliament and government, as well as most foreign embassies are located.
The official language is Dutch.
The currency is euro (EUR).
Climate of the Netherlands is moderate, maritime, with cool summers and mild winters; average maximum temperature (July) is +17°C, average minimum temperature (January) is +1°C. Even if the temperatures drop below zero, it never lasts long.
Time difference with Moscow is -1 hous.
Literacy rate is 99%.
Calling code is +31.
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 invasion and occupation by Germany 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 (as before them Aruba) were granted status aparte and joined the Netherlands as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Administratively, the Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces. There are also three dependent territories in the Caribbean: Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten.
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy.
Head of State is the hereditary monarch, but this position is equipped with limited powers.
Executive power is formed by the council of Ministers, the deliberative council of the Dutch cabinet. The cabinet usually consists of 13 to 16 ministers and a number of state secretaries. The head of the government is the Prime Minister.
Legislative power is assigned to bicameral parliament States General, which consists of the 75-seat upper chamber, called First Chamber (members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils to serve four-year terms) and the 150-seat lower chamber, called Second Chamber (members elected by popular vote to serve at most four-year terms).
Judiciary power comprises: 19 district courts (the courts of first instance), 5 courts of appeal (in Amsterdam, Arnhem and other major cities) and the Supreme Court.
The advantages of the Dutch economy include a highly skilled and multilingual workforce; excellent infrastructure; an expensive social system with high taxes and social insurance payments (1/3 of government revenue goes to social payments); high payroll costs low inflation - 1.3% (for 2017). The unemployment rate in the country is 4.7% (as of 2017).
The Dutch economy is the sixth largest in the Eurozone. The service sector accounts for 73% of GDP, industry and construction - 24.5%, agriculture and fisheries - 2.5%.
The Dutch economy is the sixth-largest economy in the euro-zone and is noted for its stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, and a sizable trade surplus. A considerable contribution to the country’s wealth is provided by financial and transportation services, Amsterdam being one of the world’s major financial centers, and Rotterdam having the world’s busiest ports. Industrial activity is predominantly in 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 the food-processing industry and for exports.