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The Netherlands PDF Print E-mail
Population : 16.730.632 inhabitants (2012)
Surface area : 37.354 km²
Federal capital
: Amsterdam
Head of State
: King Willem Alexander
Prime Minister
: Mark Rutte
National Day
: 27 April (Koningsdag)
5 May (Bevrijdingsdag)
National languages
:
Dutch
Currency
:
the euro (EUR)
National product
:
156 Milliard of EUR (2012)
Annual growth rate
:
-0,5 % (2012) (dueto crisis)
Time zone
:
GMT + 1 hour (summer)
:
GMT + 2 hours

Population density
:
447,9inhabitants per km² (2012)
Geographical centre
:
Lunteren (Gelderland)
Peak
: Vaalserberg Limburg (323m)
Averagetemperature
:
10,3º Celsius
Precipitation : 973 mm (annual average)
Sunshine : 1610hours (annual average)

The Dutch are surprising people. They live – almost 17 million citizens - on 37.354 square kilometers, little more than half the size of Scotland . The Netherlands is thus one of the world's most densely populated countries. However, the Dutch have turned their crowded country into such a success that the world's planners and architects flock here to find out how.

The Netherlands is best known for its tulips, windmills and clogs,but also for its low altitude and vulnerability to flooding. The Netherlands is the world's fifth largest exporter of goods and capital and the world's third largest exporter of food. Equally little known is that Dutch people have won 15 Nobel prizes: for chemistry, physics, medicine, economics and peace.

The Dutch are major players in fields like science, the economy, the arts and sports - and their country is a beacon of forward-thinking social and cultural policy.

The Country

The Netherlands is a constitutionalmonarchywith King Willem Alexander as its head of state. The full name is the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It consists of three individual countries, the Netherlands itself and six islands in the Caribbean Sea: Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles consisting of Bonaire, Curacao, St Maarten, Saba en St. Eustatius. Sometimes The Netherlands isalso called " Holland ". The word features in the names of the two western coastal provinces, North and South Holland, which have played a dominant role in the country's history. Due to their location on the estuaries of two major West European rivers, the Rhine and the Maas, these two provinces are still of great importance for the economy. Since it is situated at the north sea, Holland has a mild sea climate with soft winters and cool summers.

Each of the Netherlands' major cities has a distinctive character, even though they are all located near to each other. Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht all belong to the Randstad conurbation and 40% of the Dutch population live here. Amsterdam attracts many tourists, with its historic center, majestic buildings, museums and unique ring of canals. However The Hague, Delft, Haarlem, Utrecht, Groningen and Maastricht also have their share of historic buildings, museums, traditions and attractions. Rotterdam is renowned for its strikingly modern architecture, as exemplified by the Erasmus Bridge, known locally as the "Swan".

Economy

The Netherlands has been a trading nation for centuries due to its open economy and outlook. The Dutch are seasoned travelers. They are proficient in languages and skilled in negotiating trade agreements and implementing projects against the odds.

Nevertheless, the Netherlands belonged to the top 5 largest exporter of goods and services in 2010. Its workforce numbered 7.7 million, eighty percent of whom worked in the service sector. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was €27,900. The unemployment rate is currently 8,2%, due to the economic crisis.

Strategic Position

Traversed by the rivers Rhine, Maas and Scheldt as they meander towards the North Sea, the Netherlands is a hub of transport and distribution: a natural gateway to Europe and center for multinational enterprise. Its advantages include an advanced infrastructure both for transport and telecommunications. Many Asian and North American imports to Europe are transshipped at Rotterdam or Amsterdam, the country's two transport centers.The seaport of Rotterdam is the largest in the world, transshipping tens of millions of tons of goods per year. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the fourth largest airport in Europe for passengers and the third largest for freight traffic. Schiphol is even in the top 5 of best airports in the world. No wonder that Dutch transport companies are clustered around those the two main import and export centers. The best-known transport companies are DHL, Frans Maas and Smit International. The world's oldest national airline, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, had to merge with French airline Air France in 2003.

Services and Technological cooperation

In recent years, services have grown into the Netherlands ' largest economic sector. The largest service industry is trade, followed by transport and telecommunications, construction, banking and insurance, and other financial services. The four largest banks are ABN Amro, ING,Rabobank and SNS Reaal, who operate worldwide, serving Dutch and non-Dutch businesses as well as governments.Although commercial services as a whole contracted in 2003, telecommunications and financial services expanded. Information and communications technology (ICT) seems best positioned to grow, especially where combined with innovation. ICT is expected to benefit productivity in all sectors. By linking businesses in networks, it enables them to benefit from each other's investments.

Government incentives

In January 2004, the government launched its Innovation Partnerships Grant Programme to promote cooperation in research and development. The Programme encourages businesses and public-sector knowledge institutes to study and launch national and international partnerships. By drawing on each other's knowledge and expertise, businesses will become better placed to face the competition, improve their knowledge base and make the Dutch economy more innovative. Around 5,000 Dutch companies are conducting research to develop new products and to boost quality and efficiency. The country's five largest multinationals - Philips, Shell, Akzo Nobel, DSM and Unilever - are at the forefront of industrial research and development.

Source: www.minbuza.nl

 

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