Netherlands Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Netherlands Basic Information


  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Name of the country: Kingdom of the Netherlands / Koninkrijk der Nederlanden

In the last parliamentary elections held in the Netherlands in March 2021, 10.462 million voters took part, i.e. 78.7% of eligible voters. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte won for the fourth time in a row and took 34 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Democrats 66 (D66), led by former diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs Siegriet Kaag (24 mandates), finished second. The Party for Freedom (PVV) dropped from 20 to 17 seats and the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) from 19 to 15 seats. The Socialist Party moved from 14 to 9 seats and the Green Party from 14 to eight. After very lengthy negotiations, a new Dutch government was appointed only on January 10, 2022, which was finally composed of the same political parties as those already active in Prime Minister Rutte’s third cabinet (2017-2021), i.e. the liberal VVD, the centrist Democrats 66, CDA and the Christian Union (CU). Including the secretaries of state (they are not members of the government), the parties of the government coalition of four occupied a total of 29 seats, of which fourteen were occupied by women (if we are talking only about the ministers, of which there are 20, the ratio of women and men is 50:50), with the most women (five out of eight ministerial positions) are for the VVD. According to the coalition agreement, the new government, which can rely on a comfortable majority in the lower house of the NL parliament, will have several fundamental tasks during its four-year tenure: solving the housing issue; the climate and the reduction of the emission load and thus the fulfillment of the quotas resulting from the Green Deal and Fit for 55 (in this context, the discussion on the construction of one or two nuclear power plants has already been renewed); after the scandal with the enforcement of “unauthorized” paid child benefits, there must be a complete reconstruction of the benefit payment system; reform of the healthcare system. The traditionally thrifty country thus faces significant expenses in order to deal with the tasks before it, including a greater influx of money into the field of education and an increase of up to a quarter of the defense budget. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government’s attention will undoubtedly turn to protecting the economy from the negative effects of the conflict, especially higher energy prices. Check computerminus to learn more about Netherlands political system.

Composition of the government:

Prime Minister: Mark Rutte (VVD)
Minister of Finance: Sigrid Kaag (D66)
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Wopke Hoekstra (CDA)
Minister of Justice and Security: Dilan Yesilgöz (VVD)
Minister of Interior and Kingdom Affairs: Hanke Bruins Slot (CDA)
Minister of Education, Culture and Science: Robbert Dijkgraaf (D66)
Minister of Defence: Kajsa Ollongren (D66)
Minister of Infrastructure and Waterways: Mark Harbers (VVD)
Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate: Micky Adriaansens (VVD)
Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality: Henk Staghouwer ( CU)
Minister of Social Affairs and Employment: Karien van Gennip (CDA)
Minister of Health, Prosperity and Sport: Ernst Kuipers (D66)

Foreign policy of the country

The Netherlands has long been very actively involved on the international scene, its foreign policy promotes the rule of law, human rights and democracy. The priority is to strengthen European integration, ensure European security and stability using the NATO and EU mechanisms, and participate in conflict management and peacekeeping missions. For its goals, the Netherlands uses the platforms of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), etc. Thanks to its centuries-old legal tradition, the Netherlands has become home to the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, as well as the European judicial organization Eurojust and the police organization Europol. The Dutch security policy is based on membership in NATO, the Dutch post-war customs union with Belgium and Luxembourg became the basis of the European Community and the resulting EU. The Dutch are traditionally strong supporters of European integration, and most aspects of their foreign, economic and trade policy are coordinated through the EU. The Netherlands has traditionally been one of the most generous donors of development aid (fifth largest aid donor in relative terms and eighth largest in absolute terms). Within the framework of EU policy, the Netherlands is active primarily in issues related to the internal market, the free movement of goods and capital. In addition to a well-functioning internal market system, it also emphasizes the need to strengthen the competitiveness and resilience of the EU. The emphasis on open markets and well-functioning international partnerships is also evident in the ongoing discussion on Digital Europe. In its framework, the Netherlands draws attention to the necessary protection of basic human rights, the protection of the individual (personal data) and the security of the digital world. Check relationshipsplus for Netherlands defense and foreign policy.

The foreign policy priorities of the new Dutch government are based on its program statement. The government will primarily focus on the active protection of its country, security and prosperity. At the European level, it will support steps leading to a more decisive, economically strong, greener and safer EU. He intends to concentrate on digitization and new technologies, climate, migration, security, trade and the fight against tax evasion. It will be essential for the NL government that common EU values ​​are unquestionable by individual member countries. Beyond the EU framework, the foreign policy of the new NL government will be based on five basic pillars: 1) Support for international cooperation with an emphasis on strengthening transatlantic relations and new partnerships; 2) Greater focus on promoting national interests; 3) Reducing dependence on strategic goods and raw materials; 4) Continued enforcement of respect for human rights; 5) Better and more accessible services for Dutch citizens abroad. Another document that defines the area of ​​NL’s foreign policy is the “Integrated Foreign and Security Strategy 2018-2022: globally for a safer Netherlands”. It defines three basic pillars of NL foreign policy: 1) Prevention (prevention of conflicts in the neighborhood of Europe and NL, elimination of the roots of terrorism, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, control of armaments and disarmament, protection of universal human rights, international standards for the prosecution of illegal cyber activities); 2) Defense (modern and effective, collective, self-defense, strengthening of cyber defense, fight against terrorism, resistance to hybrid threats, protection of economic security and prosperity, fight against cross-border crime); 3) Strengthening (strengthening the foundations of security – international relations, legal order, support for peacekeeping missions and operations for crisis resolution, integrated border management, etc.). In the area of ​​defense, the White Paper on Defense (2018-2022) was approved in March 2018. The department’s three basic tasks include: 1) protection of national territory (including Dutch Caribbean territory) and allied territories; 2) protection and promotion of international legal order and stability; 3) support to civil authorities in the field of law enforcement, disaster relief and humanitarian aid both nationally and internationally. The new government also plans to increase the budget of the Ministry of Defense by about a quarter. NL regularly participates in foreign operations and NATO missions, recently Dutch soldiers have participated in e.g. missions in Lithuania, Mali and Afghanistan. 3) support to civil authorities in the field of law enforcement, disaster relief and humanitarian aid both nationally and internationally. The new government also plans to increase the budget of the Ministry of Defense by about a quarter. NL regularly participates in foreign operations and NATO missions, recently Dutch soldiers have participated in e.g. missions in Lithuania, Mali and Afghanistan.


The country’s population at the end of March 2022 was 17.62 million (8.9 million women, 8.7 million men). In 1900 the Netherlands had a population of around 5 million, by 1950 this number had doubled. The post-World War II period was characterized by relatively rapid population growth; in 1970, the country already had 13 million inhabitants. The growth rate then started to decline. In the coming five decades, the Dutch population is projected to grow continuously, reaching 20.4 million inhabitants by 2070. The population is expected to be 18 million in 2037 and reach 20 million in 2063.

The population density is 516 inhabitants/km².

Demographic composition: 12% under 12; 16% 12-25 years; 53% 25-65 years; 19% older than 65 years.

National composition: 75.8% Dutch nationality; 24.2% of migrant origin (400 thousand Turks, 390 thousand Moroccans, 350 thousand Surinamese, etc.).

Religion: 54% no religion; 20% Roman Catholic; 15% Protestant denomination; 11% others.

Administrative division – province / capital / largest city / area (km²) / population:

  • Drenthe / Assen / Assen / 2,641 / 494,700
  • Flevoland / Lelystad / Almere / 1,417 / 423,000
  • Friesland / Leeuwarden / Leeuwarden / 3,341 / 650,000
  • Gelderland / Arnhem / Nijmegen / 4,971 / 2,086,000
  • Groningen / Groningen / Groningen 2,333 / 586,000
  • South Holland / The Hague / Rotterdam / 2,814 / 1,117,000
  • Limburg / Maastricht / Maastricht / 2,150 / 2,563,000
  • Overijssel / Zwolle / Enschede / 3,325 / 2,880,000
  • North Brabant / ´s-Hertogenbosh / Eindhoven / 4,916 / 1,162,000
  • North Holland / Haarlem / Amsterdam / 2,671 / 3,709,000
  • Utrecht / Utrecht / Utrecht / 1,385 / 1,355,000
  • Zeeland / Middelburg / Middelsburg / 1,787 / 383,000