About the Netherlands

The Dutch – all 17,2 million of them – live in 41,543 square kilometers, little more than half the size of Scotland. This makes the Netherlands one of the world’s most densely populated countries. 

The Netherlands is best known for its tulips, windmills and clogs. And for its low altitude and vulnerability to flooding. Less well known is that the Netherlands has the sixteenth largest economy in the world, and ranks eleventh in GDP per capita. Equally little known is that the Dutch have won Nobel prizes for chemistry, physics, medicine, economics and peace or that the world’s planners and architects flock here to learn about Dutch solutions for this crowded country. 

Facts and statistics

  • About 60% of the population live below sea level.
  • The highest point in the Netherlands is the Vaalserberg in the province of Limburg. It is 321 metres/1,053 feet above sea level. 
  • The lowest point in the country, located in the Prince Alexander Polder northeast of Rotterdam (Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel), is 6.76 metres/ 22.18 feet below sea level.
  • Head of State: King Willem Alexander van Oranje Nassau
  • Type of state: constitutional monarchy
  • Seat of government: The Hague
  • Capital: Amsterdam 
  • Population: 17.2 million 
  • Number of households: 7.9 million
  • Average life expectancy men: 80,2 years, women: 83,3 years
  • Average age: 42 (gradually increasing: in 1990, it was 36.6)
  • Religion: 49% of Dutch inhabitants profess to being religious
  • Healthy to very healthy: 78% 
  • Labour force: 9.343 million (jan.2020)
  • Unemployment Jan. 2020: 284.000 (3.0% of labour force)
  • Gross National Product per capita: € 38.400 (2017)
  • Most important trade partner: Germany 
  • Average income: € 36.500bruto 
  • Average selling price of a house: € 326.000 

The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by a majority of the inhabitants. 

There is a tradition of learning foreign languages in the Netherlands: European research shows that about 94% of the Dutch inhabitants speak at least one other language besides their native language. About 90 % speaks English, 71% speaks German and 29% speaks French. Most Dutch secondary schools also teach classical languages and/or modern languages. Modern languages with official state exams are English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Russian and Frisian.