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About the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country in north-western Europe. It is a very low and flat country, with about 26% of its area located below sea level, and only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. Nearly 17% of the country's land area is reclaimed from the sea and from lakes.

Much of the country was originally formed by the estuaries of three large European rivers: the Rhine (Rijn), the Meuse (Maas) and the Scheldt (Schelde), as well as their tributaries.

The Netherlands has the 17th-largest economy in the world and has in fact played an important role in the European economy for many centuries. Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have all been leading sectors of the Dutch economy. The capital city Amsterdam is the 5th-busiest tourist destination in Europe, it is also the financial and business capital, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading finance centres. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX), part of Euronext, is the world's oldest stock exchange.  

Amsterdam is famous for its canals, its port remains the second largest in the country and 5th largest in Europe.  The City has a population of 1,351,587 in the urban area, and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area.

The Netherlands is one of the world's ten leading exporting countries. Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector. Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, trade, services and tourism.

Language - The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants and 90% of the total population are fluent in English, 70% in German and 29% in French.

Constitution and Regulatory Environment - The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815 and a parliamentary democracy since 1848 and in 2010, The Economist ranked the Netherlands as the 10th most democratic country in the world.

The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces, each under a Commissioner of the King (Commissaris van de Koning), except for Limburg province where the position is named Governor (Gouverneur). All provinces are divided into municipalities (gemeenten), of which there are 388.

Because of the multi-party system, no single party has held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, and coalition cabinets had to be formed. Since suffrage became universal in 1919, the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest of which were the Christian democrats; second were the social democrats; and third were the liberals, of which the right wing People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is the main representative.

Government authorities supervise financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies and the financial system as a whole. De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) (the Dutch Central Bank) and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) carry out this supervision which protects businesses and consumers who entrust their money to these institutions.

Currency - The Netherlands are part of the European Economic Area and are members of the European Union.  As such they adopted the Euro as their national currency as part of currency union with the other member states.

Travel Links - Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal railway station.

Amsterdam is served by ten stations which cater for local and intercity travel. Amsterdam Centraal is also an international railway station with regular services to destinations such as Austria, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Switzerland.

A high-speed train service between Amsterdam and London links the two cities in under 4 hours.

Whitmill Trust Company Limited through its partnership with DMS (Netherlands) BV is able to offer the knowledge, experience and professionalism required to take full advantage of the benefits that the Netherlands can offer.

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