|The Netherlands is in Western Europe, on the coast
of the North Sea. To the east is Germany and to the south is Belgium. The
nation's name means "the low countries," since about a quater of its territory
lies below sea level. Large rivers flow through the country and form a
delta. These are the Maas River, the Schelde, the Lek and the Waal. The
land is flat and fertile, with hills and woodland only in the southeast.
|The Dutch have always worked hard to prevent flooding.
Disastous flooding in 1953 killed 1,800 people and destroyed more than
70,000 homes. This led to a huge flood control project. Flooding struck
again in 1995. Rising waters forced 240,000 people to relocate until the
water receded. Pumping stations work around the clock to drain excess water.
Dams and dikes protect the land, and canals divert water around drained
fields called polders. Windmills, which once pumped the soil dry, can still
Some of the Netherlands is land reclaimed
from the sea. An arm of the North Sea called the Zuider Zee had gradually
crept inland. The Dutch have enclosed this body of water with a dam, drained
it, developed the reclaimed land for farming and housing, and created a
freshwater lake called IJsselmeer.
|Although the population is not large (about 15
million people), this is one of the most densely populated countries in
the world. The large cities are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
The climate is mild and damp. Winter temperatures
are usually close to freezing. Summer temperatures are between 13°C
and 22°C. About 760 mm of precipitation falls each year, and on most
days more than half the sky is covered with clouds.
Some Caribbean islands are part of the Netherlands.
They are the Dutch Antilles: Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius
and St. Maarten.
The Netherlands is also known as Holland,
because it contains the provinces of North and South Holland. These provinces,
along with the province of Utrecht, are the mostly densely populated part
of the country. The northern provinces are largely rural. Altogether there
are 12 provinces in the Netherlands.
||The Kingdom of the Netherlands
||Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of
|Type of Government:
||Parliamentary democracy with a constitutional
||41,526 sq. km
|Major Ethnic Group:
||Roman Catholic, Protestant
|Unit of Currency:
||Red, white and blue horizontal stripes
|Date of Independence:
||September 18, 2021
Disastrous flooding in 1953 killed
1,800 people and destroyed more than 70,000 homes. This led to a huge flood-control
project. Flooding struck again in 1995. Rising rivers forced 240,000 people
to relocate until the water receded.