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Conducive to international trade
Built on the delta of some of Europe’s main rivers, the Netherlands is a small country that punches above its weight in world business and politics. It has a growing and healthy economy with a strong services sector and excellent industries such as life sciences, electronics, agri-food, the chemical industry, water technology, and engineering. Additionally, it offers local and foreign businesses an environment that is conducive to international trade, efficient export, innovation and collaboration with some of the world’s best companies and research institutes.
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A densely populated country
In 2014, the Netherlands had a total population of 16.9 million people, which is a relatively high number considering its small geographic size (approximately 41,000 square kilometres). In terms of population, the Netherlands is the largest of the small countries of Western Europe. It is significantly smaller than neighbouring countries such as France, the United Kingdom and Germany, but also considerably more populated than countries of a similar size, such as Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland. The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
There is very little discrepancy between rural and urban areas in the Netherlands. Of course, isolated villages in the north of the provinces of Groningen or Friesland are strikingly different from cosmopolitan cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, and there are some significant differences when it comes to language, social behaviour and ethnic composition. However, due to the small size of the country, almost everyone in the countryside lives within easy distance of at least a relatively sizeable town.
Household consumption is divided roughly equally between spending on goods and spending on services, although the share of services has been edging upwards in recent years and now comprises just over one-half of the total. Housing-related spending accounts for around 39 percent of total household spending, including costs for housing and household fuels, as well as household goods and services.
Perhaps equally important as gaining insights into the scope and depth of key aspects of the Dutch economy, is an orientation with the Dutch society and the location of the country.
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