Netherlands Overview

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Research, development and innovation play an increasingly important role in the Netherlands. Germany and the Netherlands maintain close and friendly neighborly relations. Cross-border regional cooperation is of great importance in many areas.

netherlands population - fertility rate

Population / geography

Country name Koninkrijk der NederlandenKingdom of the Netherlands

Short form: Netherlands

Capital Amsterdam
Land area 41,526 km²
Population 17,084,719 million2017 (estimated)
Life expectancy Men: 79 yearsWomen: 83.7 years

2017 (estimated)

Age structure 0-14: 16.41%15-64: 64.86%

65 and older: 17.73%

2017 (estimated)

Growth of population 0.39%2017 (estimated)
Population groups Dutch 77.4%European 6.2%

Turks 2.3%

Moroccans 2.3%

Indonesian 2.1%

Surinamese 2%

Remaining 7.7%

2017 (estimated)

Languages Dutch, Frisian (Province of Friesland)
Religions Roman Catholic 23.7%,Protestant 15.5%

Islamic 4.9%

Others 5.7%

No affiliation 50.1%

2015 (estimated)

Time zone CET (UTC + 1)
Currency 1 euro EUR / 100 centsExchange rates to other currencies at – Currency converter (see links below)
Prefix +31



Politics / Administration

Country name Koninkrijk der NederlandenKingdom of the Netherlands

Short form: Netherlands

Capital Amsterdam
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy
Head of state Willem AlexanderKing of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau

(since April 30, 2013)

Head of government Mark Rutteprime minister

(since October 26, 2017)

Foreign Minister Half Zijlstra(since October 26, 2017)
Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven(since October 26, 2017)
Science Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven(since October 26, 2017)
Houses of Parliament States General, consisting of two chambers:First Chamber: 75 seats (representatives of the provinces); No direct election of the members of the First Chamber. On May 26, 2015, they were elected by the deputies of the provincial parliaments according to the results of the provincial elections of March 18, 2015. The next elections for the First Chamber will take place on May 27, 2019.

Second Chamber (corresponds to the Bundestag): 150 seats; Following the elections and subsequent coalition negotiations, the Rutte III cabinet consisting of the parliamentary groups from VVD, CDA, CU and D66 was appointed on October 26, 2017.

Ruling parties The government in the Netherlands is a bourgeois-conservative coalition of four parties:

  • VVD (33 seats),
  • CDA (19),
  • CU (5)
  • and D66 (19).

Together the four parties have 76 seats and thus a narrow majority in the second chamber.

Opposition parties The opposition in the Netherlands consists of nine parties:

  • PVV (20 seats),
  • SP (14),
  • GroenLinks (14),
  • PvdA (9),
  • PvdD (5)
  • 50Plus (4),
  • SGP (3),
  • THINK (3),
  • FvD (2).

Together, the parties have 74 of the 150 seats.

Administrative structure The Netherlands is divided into 12 “Provincies”: Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslan, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland
National holiday April 27th – Koningsdag (King’s Day)
Independence day On July 26, 1581, the northern part of the Netherlands declared itself independent from Spain; independence was confirmed with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

State building and current political developments

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. In addition to the ministers and state secretaries, the government also includes the incumbent monarch, who is also the head of state. The head of state has been King Willem-Alexander from the House of Orange-Nassau since April 30, 2013. The Prime Minister is constitutionally chairman of the Council of Ministers without authority to issue guidelines. The tasks of the cabinet include the preparation and enforcement of legal provisions, the supervision of subordinate regional authorities and the maintenance of international relations.

The State Council is the highest and oldest advisory body of the Crown. The king is chairman. The State Council also has a Vice President and consists of a maximum of 28 members. The Crown sends all bills to the Council of State for assessment before they are introduced to Parliament. The State Council is also the highest administrative court.

The legislative power lies with the crown and the parliament, called the States General, consisting of a first (Senate) and a second chamber. The second chamber, comparable to the Bundestag, is the result of general elections with a legislative period of four years, the last election date was March 15, 2017. The election is based on proportional representation. There is no “five percent clause”. However, a party must receive a minimum number of votes for a mandate. The First Chamber is only partially comparable with the Federal Council. It is elected by the provincial states (state parliaments of the twelve provinces, which are most closely comparable with the German administrative districts) and has the right to consent or veto the Second Chamber. The last election of the First Chamber by the 564 members of the Provincial Parliaments took place on May 26, 2015, following the election of the Provincial Council on March 18, 2015. The new First Chamber was convened on June 9, 2015. The next provincial council elections will take place on March 20, 2019, the next elections for the First Chamber on May 27, 2019.

The parishes are administered by an elected parish council and a mayor appointed by the king. The last municipal council elections took place on March 19, 2014. Local elections will take place on March 21, 2018.

The Netherlands has a structure comparable to the structure of the courts in Germany. However, the local courts are integrated into the regional courts. There is no special jurisdiction, for example for labor and social law, and only one supreme court, the Hoge Raad, based in The Hague. Administrative jurisdiction is relatively new. The Dutch administrative court code was only introduced in 1994.

The “Statute for the Kingdom of the Netherlands” came into force in 1954 and has been partially amended several times since then. The countries of the kingdom have an equal position; they regulate their affairs independently. The countries are obliged to give each other help and assistance. The kingdom as a whole is responsible for the defense of the kingdom and external relations, among other things. Cooperation between the countries of the Kingdom is governed by the Ministry of Home and Kingdom Affairs.

As of October 10, 2010, the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of four countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. The Netherlands Antilles have been dissolved and their islands have been given a new status:

Curaçao and St. Maarten : New Autonomous Countries in the Kingdom: Curaçao and St. Maarten now have separate status as autonomous countries and have their own governments. However, the Netherlands will continue to assist them in setting up their new national organizations during the transition period.

Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba: new parishes in the Netherlands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba did not want to become independent countries, but wanted to maintain close ties with the Netherlands. They have now achieved the status of “special parishes”.

Aruba: Aruba and the Netherlands have agreed on an agenda for law enforcement, urban quality of life and legislation improvements that they will address over the next few years.

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