Netherlands Travel Information

Photo The 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 a brutal invasion and occupation by Germany 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 EC, and participated in the introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.


The Dutch are primarily of Germanic stock with some Gallo-Celtic mixture. Their small homeland frequently has been threatened with destruction by the North Sea and has often been invaded by the great European powers.
Julius Caesar found the region which is now the Netherlands inhabited by Germanic tribes in the first century B.C. The western portion was inhabited by the Batavians and became part of a Roman province; the eastern portion was inhabited by the Frisians. Between the fourth and eighth centuries A.D., most of both portions were conquered by the Franks. The area later passed into the hands of the House of Burgundy and the Austrian Habsburgs. Falling under harsh Spanish rule in the 16th century, the Dutch revolted in 1558 under the leadership of Willem of Orange. By virtue of the Union of Utrecht in 1579, the seven northern Dutch provinces became the Republic of the United Netherlands.


The Dutch economy is going into its sixth year of expansion, combining strong GDP growth with sharply falling unemployment and modest inflation. A tight labor market and firming inflation add to the danger of overheating of the economy. Only mildly affected by the crisis in emerging markets and a subsequent slowdown in the euro area, the Dutch economy expanded by 3.6% in 1999. Economic growth in 1999 was driven predominantly by investment and consumer spending, buoyed by sizable income gains resulting from a boom in asset prices. With job growth largely outpacing an expansion of the labor force, unemployment in 1999 fell to less than 3% of the labor force, a level last seen in the early 1970s. Consumer price inflation remained modest as the effects of higher crude oil prices and depreciation of the euro lifted the CPI in 1999 to 2.2%.


The United States' partnership with the Netherlands is its oldest continuous relationship and dates back to the American Revolution. The excellent bilateral relations are based on close historical and cultural ties and a common dedication to individual freedom and human rights. An outward-looking nation, the Netherlands shares with the U.S. a commitment to an open market and free trade. The U.S. attaches great value to its strong economic and commercial ties with the Dutch. The Netherlands is the United States' eighth-largest export market. The U.S. currently runs an annual trade surplus with the Netherlands of more than $11 billion. The Netherlands is the third-largest direct investor in the U.S. ($85 billion in 1997). The U.S. is the largest direct foreign investor in the Netherlands ($65 billion in 1997).

Important: Travel to Netherlands may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Netherlands visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Capital city: Amsterdam
Area: 41,543 sq km
Population: 16,730,632
Ethnic groups: Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Caribbean 0.8%, other 4.8%
Languages: Dutch
Religions: Roman Catholic 30%, Protestant 20%
Government: constitutional monarchy
Chief of State: Queen BEATRIX
Head of Government: Prime Minister Mark RUTTE
GDP: 701.4 billion
GDP per captia: 42,000
Annual growth rate: 1.1%
Inflation: 2.3%
Agriculture: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables
Major industries: agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land
Location: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
Trade Partners - exports: Germany 26.2%, Belgium 14.1%, France 9.3%, UK 7.7%, Italy 4.8%
Trade Partners - imports: Germany 14.5%, China 11.8%, Belgium 8.6%, UK 6.1%, Russia 6%, US 5.9%, France 4%