Cruising in the Netherlands


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 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: Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany
Geographic coordinates: 52 30 N, 5 45 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 41,526 sq km
Land: 33,883 sq km
Water: 7,643 sq km


451 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


Temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters


Mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m
Highest point: Vaalserberg 322 m


The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade. The economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs no more than 2% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports.

The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. The country continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment. Economic growth slowed considerably in 2001-05, as part of the global economic slowdown, but for the four years before that, annual growth averaged nearly 4%, well above the EU average.


Airports: 27 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 20
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 7
Heliports: 1 (2005)
Pipelines: condensate 325 km; gas 6,998 km; oil 590 km; refined products 716 km (2004)
Railways: total: 2,808 km
Roadways: total: 116,500 km


5,046 km (navigable for ships of 50 tons) (2004)

Merchant marine

Total: 563 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,925,489 GRT/5,052,931 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 366, chemical tanker 31, container 54, liquefied gas 12, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 14, petroleum tanker 14, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 16, specialized tanker 3
Foreign-owned: 152 (Australia 1, Belgium 2, Denmark 9, Finland 9, Germany 58, Ireland 13, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 6, Sweden 21, UK 21, US 11)
Registered in other countries: 222 (Antigua and Barbuda 10, Australia 2, Austria 2, The Bahamas 25, Bermuda 1, Canada 1, Cyprus 18, Isle of Man 2, Liberia 13, Luxembourg 3, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 5, Netherlands Antilles 69, Norway 3, Panama 26, Philippines 20, Portugal 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7, Singapore 1, Turkey 1, UK 2, US 4, unknown 1) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Amsterdam, Groningen, Ijmuiden, Rotterdam, Terneuzen, Vlissingen, Zaanstad

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Belgium - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - Germany - Latvia - Lithuania - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia - Sweden

Further Reading

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