The Netherlands - A Country File

Understand the basics of the Netherlands at a glance...

The Netherlands is a country situated in north western Europe. It is one part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which includes the Netherlands, Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean.

The Netherlands is commonly referred to as Holland, although the two provinces of Holland make up only a small part of the country. Amsterdam - the capital city, the Hague - the seat of government and Rotterdam - the third largest city all fall within Holland.

The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, although English is taught at schools and is widely spoken in the urban centres. English is a second official language of the Amsterdam region, although it has a lower status than Dutch. This means that English cannot be used in official publications and meetings but may be used when communicating with the council (local government offices).

Dutch is also the term used to describe nationals of the Netherlands; many of them also speak French and German. In northern parts of the Netherlands a large number of Dutch speak Frisian.

The resident population of the Netherlands is approximately 17 million.