LANDSCAPE AND CLIMATE
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 be seen.

 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 13C and 22C. 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.

Did you know? 

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. 

Summary Fact Sheet


 
 
Official Name: The Kingdom of the Netherlands
Capital:  Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government 
Type of Government: Parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy 
Population:  15.5 million
Area:  41,526 sq. km
Major Ethnic Group:  Dutch 
Languages:  Dutch, Frisian
Religions:  Roman Catholic, Protestant 
Unit of Currency:  Guilder 
National Flag:  Red, white and blue horizontal stripes 
Date of Independence: September 18, 2021


 
 
Did you know? 

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.