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Netherlands vs. Belgium

Introduction

NetherlandsBelgium
BackgroundThe Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830, Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered German invasion and occupation in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU) and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In October 2010, the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and the three smallest islands - Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba - became special municipalities in the Netherlands administrative structure. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands and Aruba as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830; it was occupied by Germany during World Wars I and II. The country prospered in the past half century as a modern, technologically advanced European state and member of NATO and the EU. In recent years, political divisions between the Dutch-speaking Flemish of the north and the French-speaking Walloons of the south have led to constitutional amendments granting these regions formal recognition and autonomy. The capital city of Brussels is home to numerous international organizations including the EU and NATO.

Geography

NetherlandsBelgium
LocationWestern Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Geographic coordinates52 30 N, 5 45 E
50 50 N, 4 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 41,543 sq km
land: 33,893 sq km
water: 7,650 sq km
total: 30,528 sq km
land: 30,278 sq km
water: 250 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
about the size of Maryland
Land boundariestotal: 1,053 km
border countries (2): Belgium 478 km, Germany 575 km
total: 1,297 km
border countries (4): France 556 km, Germany 133 km, Luxembourg 130 km, Netherlands 478 km
Coastline451 km
66.5 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: geographic coordinates define outer limit
continental shelf: median line with neighbors
Climatetemperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters
temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy
Terrainmostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast
flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 30 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m
highest point: Mount Scenery 862 m (on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, now considered an integral part of the Netherlands following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles)
note: the highest point on continental Netherlands is Vaalserberg at 322 m
mean elevation: 181 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: North Sea 0 m
highest point: Botrange 694 m
Natural resourcesnatural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land
construction materials, silica sand, carbonates, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 55.1%
arable land 29.8%; permanent crops 1.1%; permanent pasture 24.2%
forest: 10.8%
other: 34.1% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 44.1%
arable land 27.2%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 16.1%
forest: 22.4%
other: 33.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land4,860 sq km (2012)
230 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsflooding
volcanism: Mount Scenery (887 m), located on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, last erupted in 1640; Round Hill (601 m), a dormant volcano also known as The Quill, is located on the island of St. Eustatius in the Caribbean; these islands are at the northern end of the volcanic island arc of the Lesser Antilles that extends south to Grenada
flooding is a threat along rivers and in areas of reclaimed coastal land, protected from the sea by concrete dikes
Environment - current issueswater pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; acid rain
intense pressures from human activities: urbanization, dense transportation network, industry, extensive animal breeding and crop cultivation; air and water pollution also have repercussions for neighboring countries
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelocated at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde); about a quarter of the country lies below sea level and only about half of the land exceeds one meter above sea level
crossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals are within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
Population distributionan area known as the Randstad, anchored by the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and Utrecht, is the most densely populated region; the north tends to be less dense, though sizeable communities can be found throughout the entire country
most of the population concentrated in the northern two-thirds of the country; the southeast is more thinly populated; considered to have one of the highest population densities in the world; approximately 97% live in urban areas

Demographics

NetherlandsBelgium
Population17,084,719 (July 2017 est.)
11,491,346 (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 16.41% (male 1,434,919/female 1,368,437)
15-24 years: 12.07% (male 1,051,319/female 1,010,969)
25-54 years: 39.52% (male 3,387,716/female 3,364,010)
55-64 years: 13.28% (male 1,128,484/female 1,139,703)
65 years and over: 18.73% (male 1,449,752/female 1,749,410) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 17.16% (male 1,010,201/female 961,994)
15-24 years: 11.34% (male 665,483/female 637,700)
25-54 years: 40.05% (male 2,320,845/female 2,281,411)
55-64 years: 12.86% (male 732,062/female 746,212)
65 years and over: 18.58% (male 929,594/female 1,205,844) (2017 est.)
Median agetotal: 42.6 years
male: 41.5 years
female: 43.6 years (2017 est.)
total: 41.4 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 42.7 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate0.39% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2017 est.)
Birth rate10.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
11.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate8.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
5.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 81.4 years
male: 79.3 years
female: 83.7 years (2017 est.)
total population: 81.1 years
male: 78.5 years
female: 83.8 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate1.78 children born/woman (2017 est.)
1.78 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.2% (2016 est.)
NA
Nationalitynoun: Dutchman(men), Dutchwoman(women)
adjective: Dutch
noun: Belgian(s)
adjective: Belgian
Ethnic groupsDutch 77.4%, EU 6.2%, Turkish 2.3%, Moroccan 2.3%, Indonesian 2.1%, Surinamese 2%, other 7.7% (2017 est.)
Belgian 75%, Italian 4.1%, Moroccan 3.7%, French 2.4%, Turkish 2%, Dutch 2%, other 12.8% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS23,000 (2016 est.)
NA
ReligionsRoman Catholic 23.7%, Protestant 15.5% (includes Dutch Reformed 6.5%, Protestant Church of The Netherlands 5.7%, Calvinist 3.3%), Islam 4.9%, other 5.7% (includes Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish), none 50.1% (2015 est.)
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant and other Christian 2.5%, Muslim 5%, Jewish 0.4%, Buddhist 0.3%, atheist 9.2%, none 32.6% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths<200 (2016 est.)
NA
LanguagesDutch (official)
note: Frisian is an official language in Fryslan province; Frisian, Low Saxon, Limburgish, Romani, and Yiddish have protected status under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages; Dutch is the official language of the three special municipalities of the Caribbean Netherlands, English is a recognized regional language on Sint Eustatius and Saba, and Papiamento is a recognized regional language on Bonaire
Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 18 years
male: 18 years
female: 18 years (2012)
total: 20 years
male: 19 years
female: 21 years (2014)
Education expenditures5.6% of GDP (2013)
6.4% of GDP (2011)
Urbanizationurban population: 91.5% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.72% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 97.9% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.36% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 99.9% of population
total: 97.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 0.1% of population
total: 2.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 99.5% of population
rural: 99.4% of population
total: 99.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.5% of population
rural: 0.6% of population
total: 0.5% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationAMSTERDAM (capital) 1.091 million; Rotterdam 993,000; The Hague (seat of government) 650,000 (2015)
BRUSSELS (capital) 2.045 million; Antwerp 994,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate7 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures10.9% of GDP (2014)
10.6% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density3.35 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
2.97 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density4.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)
6.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate20.4% (2016)
22.1% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth29.6 years (2015 est.)
28.6 years (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate73%
note: percent of women aged 18-45 (2013)
66.8%
note: percent of women aged 15-54 (2013)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 53.1
youth dependency ratio: 25.6
elderly dependency ratio: 27.4
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 54.2
youth dependency ratio: 26.2
elderly dependency ratio: 28
potential support ratio: 3.6 (2015 est.)

Government

NetherlandsBelgium
Country name"conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland
etymology: the country name literally means ""the lowlands"" and refers to the geographic features of the land being both flat and down river from higher areas (i.e., at the estuaries of the Scheldt, Meuse, and Rhine Rivers; only about half of the Netherlands is more than 1 meter above sea level)
"
conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
conventional short form: Belgium
local long form: Royaume de Belgique (French)/Koninkrijk Belgie (Dutch)/Koenigreich Belgien (German)
local short form: Belgique/Belgie/Belgien
etymology: the name derives from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries B.C.
Government typeparliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Amsterdam; note - The Hague is the seat of government
geographic coordinates: 52 21 N, 4 55 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, not to the constituent countries in the Caribbean
name: Brussels
geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslan (Friesland), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant (North Brabant), Noord-Holland (North Holland), Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland (Zealand), Zuid-Holland (South Holland)
note 1: the Netherlands is one of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three, Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, are all islands in the Caribbean; while all four parts are considered equal partners, in practice, most of the Kingdom's affairs are administered by the Netherlands, which makes up about 98% of the Kingdom's total land area and population
note 2: three other Caribbean islands, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba, are considered to be special municipalities of the Netherlands proper
3 regions (French: regions, singular - region; Dutch: gewesten, singular - gewest); Brussels-Capital Region, also known as Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch), Region de Bruxelles-Capitale (French long form), Bruxelles-Capitale (French short form); Flemish Region (Flanders), also known as Vlaams Gewest (Dutch long form), Vlaanderen (Dutch short form), Region Flamande (French long form), Flandre (French short form); Walloon Region (Wallonia), also known as Region Wallone (French long form), Wallonie (French short form), Waals Gewest (Dutch long form), Wallonie (Dutch short form)
note: as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; the 2012 sixth state reform transferred additional competencies from the federal state to the regions and linguistic communities
Independence23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581 they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)
4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
National holidayKing's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday
Belgian National Day (ascension to the throne of King LEOPOLD I), 21 July (1831)
Constitutionhistory: previous 1597, 1798; latest adopted 24 August 1815 (substantially revised in 1848)
amendments: proposed as an “Act of Parliament” by or on behalf of the king or by the Second Chamber of the States General; the Second Chamber is dissolved after its first reading of the “Act”; passage requires a second reading by both the First Chamber and newly elected Second Chamber, followed by at least two-thirds majority vote of both chambers, and ratification by the king; amended many times, last in 2010 (2016)
"history: drafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state)
amendments: ""revisions"" proposed as declarations by the federal government in accord with the king or by Parliament followed by dissolution of Parliament and new elections; adoption requires two-thirds majority vote of a two-thirds quorum in both houses of the next elected Parliament; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)
"
Legal systemcivil law system based on the French system; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General
civil law system based on the French Civil Code; note - Belgian law continues to be modified in conformance with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union; judicial review of legislative acts
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER (since 30 April 2013); Heir Apparent Princess Catharina-Amalia (since 30 April 2013)
head of government: Prime Minister Mark RUTTE (since 14 October 2010; Deputy Prime Ministers (since 26 October 2017) Hugo DE JONGE, Karin Kajsa OLLONGREN, and Carola SCHOUTEN (since 26 October 2017); note - Mark RUTTE heads his third cabinet since 26 October 2017
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch
chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH, daughter of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Charles MICHEL (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Ministers Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012), Jan JAMBON (since 11 October 2014), Kris PEETERS, Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and approved by Parliament
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial council members by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve up to 4-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held on 26 May 2015 (next to be held in May 2019); Second Chamber - last held on 15 March 2017 (next to be held 15 March 2021)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VVD 13, CDA 12, D66 10, PVV 9, SP 9, PvdA 8, GL 4, CU 3, other 7; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 21.3%, PVV 13.1%, CDA 12.4%, D66 12.2%, GL 9.1%, SP 9.1%, PvdA 5.7%, CU 3.4%, PvdD 3.2%, 50 Plus 3.1%, other 7.4%; seats by party - VVD 33, PVV 20, CDA 19, D66 19, GL 14, SP 14, PvdA 9, CU 5, PvdD 5, 50 Plus 4, other 8
description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate or Senaat (in Dutch), Senat (in French) (60 seats; 50 members indirectly elected by the community and regional parliaments based on their election results, and 10 elected by the 50 other senators; members serve 5-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (in Dutch), Chambre des Representants (in French) (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
note: the 1993 constitutional revision that further devolved Belgium into a federal state created three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; this reality leaves six governments, each with its own legislative assembly; changes above occurred since the sixth state reform
elections: Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); note - elections will coincide with the EU's elections
election results: Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - N-VA 20.3%, PS 11.7%, CD&V 11.6%, Open VLD 9.8%, MR 9.6%, SP.A 8.8%, Groen! 5.3%, CDH 5.0% Workers' Party 3.7%, VB 3.7%, Ecolo 3.3%, Defi 1.8%, PP 1.5%, other 3.9%; seats by party - N-VA 33, PS 23, MR 20, CD&V 18, Open VLD 14, SP.A 13, Groen! 6, CDH 9, Workers' Party 2, VB 3, Ecolo 6, Defi 2, PP 1
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (consists of 41 judges: the president, 6 vice presidents, 31 justices or raadsheren, and 3 justices in exceptional service, referred to as buitengewone dienst); the court is divided into criminal, civil, tax, and ombuds chambers
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch from a list provided by the Second Chamber of the States General; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; district courts, each with up to 5 subdistrict courts; note in mid-July 2017, legislation was proposed to establish a new commericial court for international trade disputes with the Netherlands
highest court(s): Constitutional Court or Grondwettelijk Hof in Dutch and Cour constitutionelle in French (consists of 12 judges - 6 Dutch-speaking and 6 French-speaking); Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie in Dutch and Cour de Cassation in French (court organized into 3 chambers: civil and commercial; criminal; social, fiscal, and armed forces; each chamber includes a Dutch division and a French division, each with a chairperson and 5-6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by Parliament; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by the High Council of Justice, a 44-member independent body of judicial and non-judicial members; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional courts; specialized courts for administrative, commercial, labor, immigration, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace
Political parties and leadersChristian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Sybrand VAN HAERSMA BUMA]
Christian Union or CU [Gert-Jan SEGERS]
Democrats 66 or D66 [Alexander PECHTOLD]
Denk [Tunahan KUZU]
50 Plus [Henk KROL]
For the Netherlands or VNL [Jan ROOS]
Forum for Democracy or FvD [Thierry BAUDET]
Green Left or GL [Jesse KLAVER]
Labor Party or PvdA [Lodewijk ASSCHER]
Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]
Party for the Animals or PvdD [Marianne THIEME]
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD [Mark RUTTE]
Reformed Political Party or SGP [Kees VAN DER STAAIJ]
Socialist Party or SP [Emile ROEMER]
plus a few minor parties
Flemish parties:
Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Wouter BEKE]
Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Gwendolyn RUTTEN]
Groen [Meyrem ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER]
Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [John CROMBEZ and Stephanie VAN HOUTVEN]
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN]
Francophone parties:
Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Patrick DUPRIEZ and Zakia KHATTABI]
Francophone Federalist Democrats or Defi [Olivier MAINGAIN]
Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Benoit LUTGEN]
People's Party or PP [Mischael MODRIKAMEN]
Reform Movement or MR [Olivier CHASTEL]
Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]
Workers' Party or PTB [Peter MERTENS]
other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leadersChristian Trade Union Federation or CNV [Maurice LIMMEN]
Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers or VNO-NCW [Hans DE BOER]
Federation for Small and Medium-sized Businesses or MKB [Michael VAN STRAALEN]
Netherlands Trade Union Federation or FNV [Han BUSKER]
Social Economic Council or SER [Mariette HAMER]
Trade Union Professionals or VDP [Nic VAN HOLSTEIN]
Belgian General Federation of Labor or ABVV or FGTB [Rudy DE LEEUW, Marc GOBLET]
Confederation of Christian Trade Unions or ACV or CSC [Marc LEEMANS, Marie-Helene SKA]
Federation of Enterprises in Belgium or VBO or FEB [Pieter TIMMERMANS, Bernard GILLIOT]
other: numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; trade unions; various organizations representing the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as BEPax and groups representing immigrants
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Hendrik Jan Jurriaan SCHUWER (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300, [1] 877-388-2443
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco
chief of mission: Ambassador Dirk Jozef M. WOUTERS (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900
FAX: [1] (202) 333-3079
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Peter HOEKSTRA (since 10 January 2018)
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: [31] (70) 310-2209
FAX: [31] (70) 310-2207
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Matthew LUSSENHOP (since 21 January 2017)
embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent [Regentlaan], B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710
telephone: [32] (2) 811-4000
FAX: [32] (2) 811-4500
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (bright vermilion; top), white, and blue (cobalt); similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; the colors were derived from those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century; originally the upper band was orange, but because its dye tended to turn red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color; the banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use
three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field)
National anthem"name: ""Het Wilhelmus"" (The William)
lyrics/music: Philips VAN MARNIX van Sint Aldegonde (presumed)/unknown
note: adopted 1932, in use since the 17th century, making it the oldest national anthem in the world; also known as ""Wilhelmus van Nassouwe"" (William of Nassau), it is in the form of an acrostic, where the first letter of each stanza spells the name of the leader of the Dutch Revolt
"
"name: ""La Brabanconne"" (The Song of Brabant)
lyrics/music: Louis-Alexandre DECHET[French] Victor CEULEMANS [Dutch]/Francois VAN CAMPENHOUT
note: adopted 1830; according to legend, Louis-Alexandre DECHET, an actor at the theater in which the revolution against the Netherlands began, wrote the lyrics with a group of young people in a Brussels cafe
"
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)lion, tulip; national color: orange
golden rampant lion; national colors: red, black, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Netherlands
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belgium
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

NetherlandsBelgium
Economy - overviewThe Netherlands, the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, plays an important role as a European transportation hub, with a persistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations, and low unemployment. Industry focuses on 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 food-processing and underpins the country’s status as the world’s second largest agricultural exporter.

The Netherlands is part of the euro zone, and as such, its monetary policy is controlled by the European Central Bank. The Dutch financial sector is highly concentrated, with four commercial banks possessing over 80% of banking assets, and is four times the size of Dutch GDP.

In 2008, during the financial crisis, the government budget deficit hit 5.3% of GDP. Following a protracted recession from 2009 to 2013, during which unemployment doubled to 7.4% and household consumption contracted for four consecutive years, economic growth began inching forward in 2014. Since 2010, Prime Minister Mark RUTTE’s government has implemented significant austerity measures to improve public finances and has instituted broad structural reforms in key policy areas, including the labor market, the housing sector, the energy market, and the pension system. In 2016, the government budget returned to a surplus of 0.3% of GDP, with economic growth of 2.1%, and GDP per capita finally surpassed pre-crisis levels. The Netherlands achieved growth of 3.1% in 2017, with unemployment decreasing to 5.1%.
Belgium’s central geographic location and highly developed transport network have helped develop a well-diversified economy, with a broad mix of transport, services, manufacturing, and high tech. Industry is concentrated mainly in the more heavily-populated region of Flanders in the north. Belgium is 100% reliant on foreign sources of fossil fuels, and the planned closure of its seven nuclear plants by 2025 should increase its dependence on foreign energy. Its role as a regional logistical hub makes its economy vulnerable to shifts in foreign demand, particularly with EU trading partners. Roughly three-quarters of Belgium's trade is with other EU countries.

Belgium’s GDP grew by 1.6% in 2017, unemployment stood at 7.5%, and the budget deficit was 2.1% of GDP. The economy largely recovered from the March 2016 terrorist attacks, which mainly impacted the Brussels region tourist and hospitality industry. Prime Minister Charles MICHEL's center-right government has pledged to further reduce the deficit in response to EU pressure to decrease Belgium's high public debt of about 104% of GDP, but such efforts could also dampen economic growth. In addition to restrained public spending, low wage growth and higher inflation promise to curtail a more robust recovery in private consumption.

The government has pledged to pursue a reform program to improve Belgium’s competitiveness, including changes to tax policy, labor market rules, and welfare benefits. These changes have generally made Belgian wages more competitive regionally, but risk worsening tensions with trade unions and triggering extended strikes.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$915.2 billion (2017 est.)
$888 billion (2016 est.)
$868.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$526.4 billion (2017 est.)
$517.9 billion (2016 est.)
$511.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate3.1% (2017 est.)
2.2% (2016 est.)
2.3% (2015 est.)
1.6% (2017 est.)
1.2% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$53,600 (2017 est.)
$52,100 (2016 est.)
$51,300 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$46,300 (2017 est.)
$45,800 (2016 est.)
$45,500 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 1.6%
industry: 17.9%
services: 70.2% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.7%
industry: 21.8%
services: 77.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line8.8% (2015 est.)
15.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 24.9% (2014 est.)
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 28.4% (2006)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.3% (2017 est.)
0.1% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force7.969 million (2017 est.)
5.324 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.2%
industry: 17.2%
services: 81.6% (2015 est.)
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 18.6%
services: 80.1% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate5.1% (2017 est.)
5.9% (2016 est.)
7.5% (2017 est.)
7.9% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index30.3 (2015 est.)
25.1 (2013 est.)
25.9 (2013 est.)
28.7 (1996)
Budgetrevenues: $344.8 billion
expenditures: $340.2 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: $249.7 billion
expenditures: $260 billion (2017 est.)
Industriesagroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
engineering and metal products, motor vehicle assembly, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, processed food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, base metals, textiles, glass, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate2.5% (2017 est.)
1.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsvegetables, ornamentals, dairy, poultry and livestock products; propagation materials
sugar beets, fresh vegetables, fruits, grain, tobacco; beef, veal, pork, milk
Exports$526.4 billion (2017 est.)
$495.4 billion (2016 est.)
$309.1 billion (2017 est.)
$277.7 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and livestock, manufactured goods
chemicals, machinery and equipment, finished diamonds, metals and metal products, foodstuffs
Exports - partnersGermany 24.1%, Belgium 10.7%, UK 9.4%, France 8.8%, Italy 4.2% (2016)
Germany 16.7%, France 15.4%, Netherlands 11.2%, UK 8.9%, US 5.8%, Italy 5.2% (2016)
Imports$435.4 billion (2017 est.)
$402.9 billion (2016 est.)
$306.1 billion (2017 est.)
$271.2 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
raw materials, machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw diamonds, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, transportation equipment, oil products
Imports - partnersGermany 15.3%, China 14.1%, Belgium 8.4%, US 7.9%, UK 5.3%, Russia 4.1% (2016)
Netherlands 16.1%, Germany 13.6%, France 9.5%, US 8.1%, UK 4.8%, Ireland 4.5%, China 4.3% (2016)
Debt - external$4.063 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.054 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.281 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.214 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.906 (2017 est.)
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.906 (2017 est.)
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt59% of GDP (2017 est.)
61.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
104.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
106% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; general government debt is defined by the Maastricht definition and calculated by the National Bank of Belgium as consolidated gross debt; the debt is defined in European Regulation EC479/2009 concerning the implementation of the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the Treaty on European Union (Treaty of Maastricht) of 7 February 1992; the sub-sectors of consolidated gross debt are: federal government, communities and regions, local government, and social security funds
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$36.13 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$38.21 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$23.57 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$24.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$82.44 billion (2017 est.)
$65.71 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.47 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.849 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$824.5 billion (2016 est.)
$491.7 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$4.888 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.759 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.093 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.054 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$5.809 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.623 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.035 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.016 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$652.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$735.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$675 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$414.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$378.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$374.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate0% (31 December 2016)
0.05% (31 December 2015)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
0.25% (31 December 2016)
0.3% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate1.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
1.47% (31 December 2016 est.)
2% (31 December 2017 est.)
2.01% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.636 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.507 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$783.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$684.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$452.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$411.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
$238 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$198 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
Stock of broad money$907.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$827.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$601.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$525.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
50.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)0.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
-2.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 11.3%
male: 11.3%
female: 11.2% (2015 est.)
total: 22.1%
male: 23.8%
female: 20% (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 44.4%
government consumption: 24.7%
investment in fixed capital: 20.5%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 85.3%
imports of goods and services: -75% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 50.8%
government consumption: 23.3%
investment in fixed capital: 23%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 87.7%
imports of goods and services: -85.3% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving30.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
28.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
23.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
22.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

NetherlandsBelgium
Electricity - production102.5 billion kWh (2015 est.)
64.78 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption106 billion kWh (2015 est.)
81.96 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports19.34 billion kWh (2016 est.)
8.465 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports24.26 billion kWh (2016 est.)
14.65 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production18,090 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports1.09 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
639,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports6,335 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves113.2 million bbl (1 January 2017 es)
0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves786.6 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Natural gas - production47.46 billion cu m
note: the Netherlands has curbed gas production due to seismic activity in the province of Groningen, largest source of gas reserves (2016 est.)
0 cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption39.96 billion cu m (2016 est.)
23.01 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports53.65 billion cu m (2016 est.)
1.694 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports39.57 billion cu m (2016 est.)
18.81 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity33.86 million kW (2015 est.)
21.15 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels80.4% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
34.8% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants0.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels1.4% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
28% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources22% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
32.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production1.28 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
701,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption973,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
662,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports2.331 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
597,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports2.1 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
585,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy184.8 million Mt (2015 est.)
93.62 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

NetherlandsBelgium
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 6,801,678
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 40 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,371,055
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 21,941,981
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 129 (July 2016 est.)
total: 12,457,820
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: highly developed and well maintained
domestic: extensive fixed-line, fiber-optic network; large cellular telephone system with five major operators utilizing the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications technology; one in five households now use Voice over the Internet Protocol services
international: country code - 31; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 5 (3 Intelsat - 1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (2011)
general assessment: highly developed, technologically advanced, and completely automated domestic and international telephone and telegraph facilities
domestic: nationwide mobile-cellular telephone system; extensive cable network; limited microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 32; landing point for a number of submarine cables that provide links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 7 (Intelsat - 3) (2015)
Internet country code.nl
.be
Internet userstotal: 15,385,203
percent of population: 90.4% (July 2016 est.)
total: 9,870,734
percent of population: 86.5% (July 2016 est.)
Broadcast mediamore than 90% of households are connected to cable or satellite TV systems that provide a wide range of domestic and foreign channels; public service broadcast system includes multiple broadcasters, 3 with a national reach and the remainder operating in regional and local markets; 2 major nationwide commercial television companies, each with 3 or more stations, and many commercial TV stations in regional and local markets; nearly 600 radio stations with a mix of public and private stations providing national or regional coverage (2008)
a segmented market with the three major communities (Flemish, French, and German-speaking) each having responsibility for their own broadcast media; multiple TV channels exist for each community; additionally, in excess of 90% of households are connected to cable and can access broadcasts of TV stations from neighboring countries; each community has a public radio network coexisting with private broadcasters (2009)

Transportation

NetherlandsBelgium
Railwaystotal: 3,058 km
standard gauge: 3,058 km 1.435-m gauge (2,314 km electrified) (2016)
total: 3,592 km
standard gauge: 3,592 km 1.435-m gauge (2,960 km electrified) (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 139,124 km (includes 3,654 km of expressways) (2016)
total: 154,012 km
paved: 120,514 km (includes 1,756 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,498 km (2010)
Waterways6,237 km (navigable by ships up to 50 tons) (2012)
2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)
Pipelinesgas 14,000 km; oil and refined products 2,500 km; chemicals 3,000 km (2016)
gas 3,139 km; oil 154 km; refined products 535 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): IJmuiden, Vlissingen
river port(s): Amsterdam (Nordsee Kanaal); Moerdijk (Hollands Diep River); Rotterdam (Rhine River); Terneuzen (Western Scheldt River)
container port(s) (TEUs): Rotterdam (12,235,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Rotterdam
major seaport(s): Oostende, Zeebrugge
river port(s): Antwerp, Gent (Schelde River); Brussels (Senne River); Liege (Meuse River)
container port(s) (TEUs): Antwerp (9,654,000), Zeebrugge (1,569,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Zeebrugge
Merchant marinetotal: 1,244
by type: bulk carrier 11, container ship 42, general cargo 597, oil tanker 15, other 579 (2017)
total: 185
by type: bulk carrier 15, general cargo 15, oil tanker 20, other 135 (2017)
Airports29 (2013)
41 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 23
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 2 (2017)
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 8 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
total: 15
under 914 m: 15 (2013)
Heliports1 (2013)
1 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 8
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 244
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 34,870,204
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 5,292,794,685 mt-km (2015)
number of registered air carriers: 7
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 117
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 11,193,023
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,464,316,900 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixPH (2016)
OO (2016)

Military

NetherlandsBelgium
Military branchesRoyal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Naval Air Service and Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht, KLu), Royal Marechaussee (Military Police) (2015)
Belgian Armed Forces: Land Operations Command, Naval Operations Command, Air Operations Command (2012)
Military service age and obligation17 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2014)
18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 1994 (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.17% of GDP (2017)
1.17% of GDP (2016)
1.16% of GDP (2015)
1.15% of GDP (2014)
1.16% of GDP (2013)
0.87% of GDP (2016)
0.93% of GDP (2015)
0.97% of GDP (2014)
1.01% of GDP (2013)
1.04% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

NetherlandsBelgium
Disputes - internationalnone
none
Illicit drugsmajor European producer of synthetic drugs, including ecstasy, and cannabis cultivator; important gateway for cocaine, heroin, and hashish entering Europe; major source of US-bound ecstasy and a significant consumer of ecstasy; a large financial sector vulnerable to money laundering
growing producer of synthetic drugs and cannabis; transit point for US-bound ecstasy; source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for cocaine, heroin, hashish, and marijuana entering Western Europe; despite a strengthening of legislation, the country remains vulnerable to money laundering related to narcotics, automobiles, alcohol, and tobacco; significant domestic consumption of ecstasy
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 28,394 (Syria); 16,512 (Somalia); 13,488 (Eritrea); 12,740 (Iraq); 5,791 (Afghanistan) (2016)
stateless persons: 1,951 (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 9,080 (Syria) (2016)
stateless persons: 2,630 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook