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Netherlands:
Geography

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Netherlands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Netherlands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a 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 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 EEC (now the EU), and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999.
Location
Definition
Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
Geographic coordinates
Definition
52 30 N, 5 45 E
Map references
Definition
Europe
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 41,526 sq km
land: 33,883 sq km
water: 7,643 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,027 km
border countries: Belgium 450 km, Germany 577 km
Coastline
Definition
451 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters
Terrain
Definition
mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m
highest point: Vaalserberg 322 m
Natural resources
Definition
natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 21.96%
permanent crops: 0.77%
other: 77.27% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
5,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
89.7 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 8.86 cu km/yr (6%/60%/34%)
per capita: 544 cu m/yr (2001)
Natural hazards
Definition
flooding
Environment - current issues
Definition
water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; acid rain
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Geography - note
Definition
located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)


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