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Dutch population tripled during twentieth century

Netherlands Facts & Statistics

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

Incoming requests for facts and statistics about things Dutch and the Netherlands are gratifying to the editors of the Windmill, but sometimes frustrating, because such repeatedly asked for information easily could be obtained from local Public Libraries.

From time to time the Windmill will print some of these facts and statistics into this new column.

One of the most-asked questions - and for many the most-confusing fact - is the official name of the country.

Prior to 1795, “Holland”/Nederland/the Netherlands officially was called (since 1648) the United Nether-lands Republic. After a few changes during the subsequent Napoleonic era, when the concept of Kingdom already was briefly introduced under King Louis Bonaparte, the country became a kingdom in 1814 when it also adopted a new constitution. Since then the official name is the Kingdom of the Netherlands (het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden). The plural - meaning ‘Low Countries’ - refers to the Treaty of Utrecht of 1579 in which the seven northern provinces forged a common front (against the Spanish monarchy, which ‘owned’ them).

The country is a Constitutional Monarchy. Royalty: the House of Orange, Queen Beatrix (since April 30, 1980).

Equally confusing to some is the fact that Amsterdam is the capital, but the seat of government is at The Hague where Parliament, the Department and the foreign embassies are located.

There are twelve provincies in the Netherlands. South and North Holland are still dominant but Brabant with its (international) industries and strategic location increasingly is a new, leading economic factor in the country. At Dutch schools the order (top to bottom) is taught as follows: Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevo-land (nearly reclaimed in its entirety), Gelderland, Utrecht, North & South Holland, Zeeland, North Brabant and Limburg. Also belonging to the Kingdom are Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean.

Sharing space the Dutch way

Geography: land: 33,889 sq. km; water: 7,637 sq. km; total 41,526 sq. km. Border with Germany 577 km, with Belgium 450 km, coastline 451 km, total 1,478 km. Lowest land elevation: 7 metres below sea level at Prins Alexanderpolder, highest point 321 metres at Vaalser-berg. Agricultural areal covers nearly 70%, forests and woodland 10%, urban 6% and industrial/commercial 3%.

Population: 16 million in 2001 and still growing, nota-bly with immigrants (this number compares with 5.1 million in 1900 and 9.6 million in 1947). Birth rate: est. 11.62 per 1,000 population, Death rate 8.69 per 1,000 (1998). Fertility rate: 1.49 children born per woman. Average life expectancy at birth: 78 years. For men: 75 years, women: 81 years. Dutchmen also share their country with millions of farm animals. The figures for 2000: 14 million hogs (1.5 million in 1938), 98 million chickens (25.3 million in 1951), 2.4 million ducks and turkeys (528.000 in 1951), 4 million dairy cows and calves (2.7 million in 1950), 1.5 million dogs, 2 million cats, 1.4 million sheep (360.000 in 1951), 575.000 animals raised for fur, 440.000 rabbits, 132.000 goats, 114.000 horses & ponies (250.000 horses only in 1951).