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The Netherlands is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which also includes several Caribbean islands. The European mainland portion of the Netherlands includes twelve provinces. Queen Beatrix is the head of state and the prime minister is elected democratically.
The majority of Dutch citizens speaks one or two languages other than their native tongue. A full 85% of the population speaks English.
The country’s official language is Dutch, whereas Frisian is the secondary official language in the northern province of Friesland only. Over 16.5 million people live on the Netherlands' limited surface of 41,526 km2. The population density is extremely high with 495 people per km2. The two urban provinces of North and South Holland even approximate a population density of 1,000 per km2. The Dutch capital, Amsterdam, is located in the central north-western part of the country, in the province of North Holland. The Dutch population is divided into 8.3 million households, a substantial number of which consist of singles and couples.
A total of 7.8 million Dutch residents are part of the working population.
The Netherlands is a member of EMU, the European Monetary Union. This means that the Euro is the official currency. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the location of AEX (Amsterdam Exchange Index), which is currently part of Euronext.
Depending on the criteria, the Dutch economy is the fifteenth to twentieth economy in the world; it is a prosperous country with the GDP per head of population amounting to 50,355 USD [source: International Monetary Fund, 2011], heavily depending on foreign trade. Relatively low inflation [2.5% in January 2012] and low unemployment [6.1% in March 2012] enable a stable economy in the Netherlands.
Food processing, chemical industry, oil refining and manufacturing electrical devices are the main industrial activities. Furthermore, the Netherlands is the third exporting country of fresh produce, after the USA and France.
Exports form a key factor in the Dutch economy. Its main export destinations include Germany, Great-Britain and France. Of all companies with a European distribution centre, 15% established it in the Netherlands, followed by France, with 13% of all European DCs.
A dense and efficient transport network has made the Netherlands the portal to Europe.
113,018 km in total;
|Inland waterways:||5,046 km suitable for cargo ships|
|Pipe lines:||18 km (for crude oil)
965 km (for refined oil products)
10,230 km (for natural gas)
|Port area:||Rotterdam; the largest port in Europe
Vlissingen / Terneuzen (south)
with Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) being one of the largest in the world
The south-east of the Netherlands is a key junction for transport and related activities. This was the reason for Bol International to establish its office in this area. In order to receive international customers, Bol has a reception and meeting facility near Schiphol.
The Netherlands are first worldwide in terms of the scale of inbound and outbound direct investment. Foreign companies invest over 3,000 billion USD by establishing an office or site in the Netherlands . Most of these foreign investments in the Netherlands originate from US companies, followed by the UK, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Germany [see image].
In return, Dutch companies invest a total of 3,700 billion USD abroad. A large part of this amount is invested in American companies. This amount gives the Netherlands the third place in the list of investors in the American economy.
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