Facts & Figures
With over 16.5 million people and a population density of 488 people per km2, the Netherlands is the most densely populated country of the European Union and one of the mostly densely populated countries in the world. The total size of the Netherlands is 41,500 km2. Amsterdam is the capital, but the government resides in The Hague. More than 40% of the total population live in the Randstad, the agglomeration of the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.
The official language is Dutch. The population of the province of Friesland has a choice between Dutch and Frisian, the only officially recognised regional language. The Netherlands also include the regional languages of West Low German and Limburgs. Inother parts of the Netherlands, people often speak a dialect besides Standard Dutch. Many Dutch people also speak German and English.
Water dominates the Dutch landscape. Three big European rivers (Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt) reach the ocean via the Netherlands and create an important delta. 26% of the Netherlands is under sea level. During a age-long battle against the water, the Dutch constructed a water system consisting of dykes, polders and weirs. However, the Netherlands offers more variation than the familiar green, flat polder landscape with black and white cows.
The Netherlands is known as a politically stable country with a sound financial policy. The Netherlands is one of the most open economies in the world and is one of the world’s top 5 biggest exporters.
Three quarters of the professional population work in the tertiary sector, one quarter in the industrial sector and only 4 percent in agriculture. Despite these figure, the Netherlands are a big exporter of agricultural and horticultural products. Some big Dutch companies are: Shell, Unilever, Akzo Nobel, Philips, Aegon, ING Group, Rabobank, Heineken, TNT and Randstad.
The most popular sports in the Netherlands are football, hockey, tennis, cycling, golf, volleyball, korfball, handball, swimming and ice-skating. Dutch football and speed skating especially enjoy a worldwide reputation.
Orange is related to the Dutch Royal Family and represents the national identity of the Netherlands. That’s why Dutch fans dress up in orange. During some sport events the whole country turns orange and people become infected with what we like to call the ‘orange fever’.
The Dutch National anthem is ‘Het Wilhelmus’, which consists of 15 stanzas about Prince William of Nassau, the Prince of Orange. The anthem is still played at official occasions, but most Dutch people will mainly recognise it because it is played during international football competitions.
The Dutch are creative, open minded and pragmatic. They are also rather direct, honest and open in their dealings with others. The Dutch are known for their tolerant attitudes towards topics such as abortion, euthanasia and (soft) drug use.