Living in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is an internationally-focused country, often referred to as ‘the gateway to Europe’. The language spoken is Dutch, with English widely spoken as a second language.

Its central location combined with excellent transport and communication infrastructures has attracted people and businesses from all over the world and encouraged many of them to make the Netherlands their home. Every year, thousands of people come to the Netherlands to study and work.

The Netherlands is extremely flat with a staggering 27% of the entire country being built on reclaimed land. This has led to the immense sprawl of dykes throughout the country, for which it is now famous.

The Netherlands in a nutshell:

  • 13 research universities
  • 38 universities of applied sciences
  • Official name: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Kingdom of the Netherlands), sometimes referred to as Holland
  • Form of government: Constitutional monarchy
  • Capital city: Amsterdam
  • Seat of government: The Hague
  • Surface area: 41,500 km2, of which 33,800 km2 is land; 26% of the country is below sea level
  • Population: 17.1 million (506 people per km2)
  • Currency: euro
  • Languages: Dutch and Frisian (English is spoken all over the country)
  • Religion: 50.1% is not affiliated with a religion. Historically: Protestant (16%) and Catholic (24%); Islam is gaining popularity (5%) particularly due to immigration (source: Central Bureau of Statistics, 2015)
  • Temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters
  • Everyone living in the Netherlands above the age of 14 is required to carry some form of identification ('verblijfsdocument') as proof of residency status. There is an on-the-spot fine for non-compliance.
Cycling people in the Netherlands