the netherlands

The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with some islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and...

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The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with some islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. It is a parliamentary democracy organised as a unitary state. The country capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as "Holland", although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces.

The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 20% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one metre above sea level. This distinct feature contributes to the country's name: in Dutch, English, and in many other European languages, its name literally means " Low Countries" or "Low Country". Most of the areas below sea level are man-made, caused by centuries of extensive and poorly controlled peat extraction, lowering the surface by several meters. Even in flooded areas peat extraction continued through turf dredging. From the late 16th century land reclamation started and large polder areas are now preserved through elaborate drainage systems with dikes, canals and pumping stations. Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important European rivers, which together with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast and several low hill ranges in the central parts.

some cities

experiences (4)

have you spent time in the netherlands? share your experiences

7

the netherlands - Gamma's (m/20/united states) reflections after years there in their teens

posted by Gamma on 09/28/13.

What brought you to the Netherlands? Where were you before?

While I was born in California, I moved to Connecticut when I was 2 1/2, so that is where I really grew up. I lived in Connecticut for 11 years, and in that time had never left the United States. We almost did once, for a trip, but my dad's job got in the way. We came to Holland in a sort of unexpected way. My dad's workplace shut down, so to stay employed, he started his own freelance business, doing what he did for his old job for anyone. Eventually he did some work for MedCo Pharmaceuticals, a pharmacy benefits company. They liked his work, and hired him full-time. After a few years, they asked him if he would move to the Netherlands to be the VP of their new international division. He agreed, and we moved over that year. Luckily for me, I had just finished middle school, so I would get to begin high school somewhere instead of dropping in halfway through. MedCo kept us there for a year, before it was bought by a smaller, but richer, company, Express Scripts. They were much more focused then MedCo, and decided to shut down the new international division. My dad, not wanting to move us after only a year, started...

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5

utrecht, netherlands - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 11/27/13.

How much time have you spent in Utrecht?

Half year as a Foreign Exchange Student and then two years as an International Student (Master's Degree)

Which best describes how old you are/were while in the Netherlands?

Late 20s.

What brought you to Utrecht? Where were you before?

I won't lie, it was the coffee shops mostly. To be honest, I never actually hung out in coffeeshops myself. But I simply wanted to live in a place where stuff like that couldn't earn you a ten year prison sentence. That's basically it.

Describe your impressions of Utrecht.

Utrecht is a medieval Dutch city that is largely dominated by its universities. It's one of the larger cities in the Netherlands, but its still tiny compared to a US city. It's got gorgeous canals, a lively city center, old buildings, crappy food, lots of students and even more bikes. It's also a great travel hub.

What are the the people of Utrecht/the Netherlands like?

Dutch folks are usually very friendly and well educated. Everyone speaks perfect English and they watch all the American TV shows, so they will totally get you and your humor. That being said, I found the typical Dutch to be a bit of a 'know-it-all". They...

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3

the netherlands - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/20/13.

How much time have you spent in the Netherlands?

A little over 4 years.

How old were you when you came to the Netherlands? Where were you before?

I was 19 when I first moved to the Netherlands. Before that, I lived in Chicago.

What brought you to the Netherlands? What made you choose the Netherlands over any other place you could've gone?

Long story short, I had a German girlfriend who was going to school here and I didn't have much going for me in the US. They have a lot of English University programs here, so I kind of dropped everything and just started university here.

Describe the city you live in in the Netherlands and your impressions of it.

I lived for years in The Hague, though I now live in Amsterdam. The Hague is a quiet, beautiful place with a pretty big international community. It's definitely not a party oriented place, but you can always find things to do. Amsterdam, on the other hand, is constantly alive and there's always something going on (for better or worse). It's a beautiful place with a never ending supply of interesting things to do. The only drawback is the tourists.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in the...

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2

the netherlands - anonymous' reflections after spending decades there

posted by anonymous on 11/06/13.

How much time have you spent in the Netherlands?

I've lived here nearly 30 years total. We had three years in the States in between times.

How old were you when you came to the Netherlands? Where were you before?

I was here for 18 months in my late 20's. I came here for good when I was 33.

What brought you to the Netherlands? What made you choose the Netherlands over any other place you could've gone?

My husband is Dutch.

Describe the city you live in in the Netherlands and your impressions of it.

We started out in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is magical. When our second child was on the way we moved to Almere. Almere is a new city, built on reclaimed land. We always said, 'We will NEVER move to Almere'. At the time, it was easy to move to Almere. The houses were affordable, the commute to Amsterdam was an easy one, and it seemed a good idea at the time. We have not been sorry. It misses the 'gezelligheid' of an older city or village. (gezellig is a word that can't be purely translated but kind of means 'cozy').

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in the Netherlands? What drew you to the city you live in over other cities in the Netherlands?

Because...

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demographics

population

16,730,632 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Caribbean 0.8%, other 4.8% (2008 est.)

languages

Dutch (official), Frisian (official)

religions

Roman Catholic 30%, Protestant 20% (Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%), Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42% (2006)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 17.2% (male 1,474,530/ female 1,408,144)

15-64: 15-64 years: 66.2% (male 5,569,934/ female 5,505,269)

65+: 65 years and over: 16.6% (male 1,231,914/ female 1,540,841) (2012 est.)

urbanization

83% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

80.91 years

literacy rate

99%

average years of education

17 years

economics

cost of living

7/10 (medium-high)

economic overview

The Dutch economy is the fifth-largest economy in the euro-zone and is noted for its stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable trade...

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The Dutch economy is the fifth-largest economy in the euro-zone and is noted for its stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable trade surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs only 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. After 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth, the Dutch economy - highly dependent on an international financial sector and international trade - contracted by 3.5% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. The Dutch financial sector suffered, due in part to the high exposure of some Dutch banks to U.S. mortgage-backed securities. In 2008, the government nationalized two banks and injected billions of dollars of capital into other financial institutions, to prevent further deterioration of a crucial sector. The government also sought to boost the domestic economy by accelerating infrastructure programs, offering corporate tax breaks for employers to retain workers, and expanding export credit facilities. The stimulus programs and bank bailouts, however, resulted in a government budget deficit of 5.3% of GDP in 2010 that contrasted sharply with a surplus of 0.7% in 2008. The government of Prime Minister Mark RUTTE began implementing fiscal consolidation measures in early 2011, mainly reductions in expenditures, which resulted in an improved budget deficit of 3.8% of GDP.

major industries

agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing

agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing

gdp per capita

$42,000 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

1.1% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 2.7% industry: 24.2% services: 73.1% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

4.4% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

10.5% (2005)

gini index

30.9 (2007) country comparison to the world: 111 32.6 (1994)