- Country name : Netherlands
- Official name : Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- System of government : Constitutional monarchy.
- National anthem :
- Area : 40 840 km².
- Capital : Amsterdam.
- Border countries : Belgium and Germany.
- Population : 16,1 millions (2003)
- Language(s) : Dutch (official), Frisian.
- Religions : Catholic (34 %), Protestant (25 %), Muslim (3 %), other (2 %), unaffiliated (36 %).
>The Dutch economy is extremely open to world trade. The Netherlands is the world's sixth-largest exporting country.
>Services are the largest economic sector in the Netherlands. Trade is the largest activity in the service sector, followed by transport and communications, construction, banking and insurance.
>Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining and electrical machinery.
>Agriculture in the Netherlands is highly intensive and is a major generator of exports.
>The Dutch economic system is widely regarded as a model of consensus thanks to a close and regular contact between the trade unions, employers'organisations and independant consultants appointed by the government.
>Before the 1st century B.C., the region was inhabited by Germanic and Celtic tribes.
>In the 8th and 9th centuries, it became part of Charlemagne's empire.
>During the 15th and early 16th centuries, most of the region comprising the present-day Netherlands came into the hands of the dukes of Burgundy and the Austrian Habsburgs, and finally came under the Spanish rule.
>In 1648, the Spanish recognized the sovereignty of the Dutch Republic. By the end of the 17th century, the Netherlands was one of the great sea and colonial powers of Europe.
>In 1795, during the French Revolutionary Wars, the Batavian Republic replaced the republic of the seven United Provinces.
>At the Congress of Vienna (1815), the Kingdom of the Netherlands was restored, with the addition of the territory that is now Belgium. In 1830, the Belgians rebelled and became independant.
>The country remained neutral during World War I but was invaded by the Nazis in May 1940 and suffered heavy destruction.
>Great colonial power until World War II, the Netherlands granted independance to Indonesia in 1949, to Suriname in 1975 and to Aruba in 1996.