Netherlands

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 16.3
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 66%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.2%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 41,53


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Dutch 95.4
Turkish 1.3
Moroccan 1.2
German 0.2
Other 1.9



Main Cities Population
Amsterdam 1 021 245
Rotterdam 991 578
s-Gravenhage 621 512
Utrecht 416 093
Eindhoven 322 410
Leiden 254 716



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Amsterdam, Rotterdam (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official language: Dutch
The majority of the population speaks English, which is the most used language in trade.

Free translation tools

Eurodicautom
The European Union Dictionary (12 languages avalaible)

Systran
Free English-Dutch-English translator of texts and web pages

Tranexp
Free English-Dutch-English translator of texts and web pages

Freedict.com
Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary





Religion
Religious practises : Catholics 34.1%
Protestants 25.2%
No religion 8.9%
Muslims 2.9%
Others 28.9%.


Political context

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy. The Netherlands (official name: Kingdom of the Netherlands) is often called Holland.
The chief of state is the Queen. The monarch is hereditary. Following parliamentary (lower house) elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed Prime Minister by the monarch to serve a four year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government and enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law and running the day-to-day affairs of the country. The Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The Netherlands has a bicameral legislature. The parliament called States General consists of two chambers: First Chamber (upper house) having 75 seats with its members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils for four-year terms; and Second Chamber (lower house) having 150 seats with its members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state, having proper balance of power between executive and legislature. The government has the right to dissolve the parliament, one or both the chambers. The people of Holland enjoy considerable political rights.
The judiciary in the country is free and independent. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1815 (amended many times, most recently in 2002). The legal system is based on the civil law system incorporating French penal theory. The country’s constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the parliament (States General). The Netherlands accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction but with reservations. Holland being a member of the European Union, the national law in the country has needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation. The judicial languages used in the country are Dutch and Frisian.
The Netherlands is ruled by law. Foreigners can expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system. Very low level of corruption exists in the country; although political corruption is a concern.


Major political parties

The Netherlands has a multi-party system, with numerous political parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and hence parties generally work with each other to for coalition governments. Some of the major political parties active in the country are:
- CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) – Christian democrats,
- CU (Christian Union) - a orthodox reformed political party with more centre-left ideas,
- D66 (Democrats 66) - a progressive-liberal and radical-democratic political party,
- Green Left - an eco-socialist and anti-capitalist political party,
- PvdA (Labour Party) – a social-democratic political party,
- VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) - a centre-right, free market, liberal party.


Major political leaders

Queen: BEATRIX (since April 1980) – hereditary
Prime Minister: Jan Peter BALKENENDE (since July 2002) – CDA, heading a temporary minority coalition government with VVD until early general elections in November 2006


Next political election dates

First Chamber: May 2007
Second Chamber (General elections): November 2006




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Netherlands 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 9,646 10,012 10,739 20
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
-Rijks's museum ( Amsterdam ),
-Anne Frank's house (Amsterdam),
-Kroller-Muller museum ( Otterlo ),
-Zuiderzee museum ( Enkhuizen ),
-Mauritshuis museum ( The Hague ),
-Bonnefanten museum ( Maastricht ),
-Boymans Van Beuningen museum ( Rotterdam ),
-Groninger museum ( Groningen ),
-Dutch museum outdoors ( Arnhem) .

For more information about tourism in Netherlands , check out the following web site(s) :
Netherlands Tourism Board



Food


Traditional dishes
The present Dutch cooking is the result of a long tradition, not only at recipes level, but also regarding the composition of the menus.
The Dutch food has been widely influenced by recipes and ingredients of the former colonies, notably by the Indonesian food habits.
Dutch have generally three meals a day, of which only one is actually properly cooked: the breakfast is hearty, the lunch is mostly buffet-like and the dinner, which is served quite early, at about 6 pm.
Among others, the Dutch specialities are:
Boerenkool: curled cabbage with smoked sausage
Hutspot: Dutch stew
Haagse Bluf: whipped eggs
Speculoos: traditional Saint Nicolas cake
Borstplaat or the fondant: titbit, mainly eaten between Saint Nicolas and New Year's day.
Anijsmelk: aniseed milk: one of the favourite drinks of the Dutch just as hot chocolate.
Bisschopswijn: heated wine
Boerenmeisjes: apricot brandy.


Last modified on December 2006

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