conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands

conventional short form: Netherlands

local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden

local short form: Nederland

abbreviation: NL

etymology: the country name literally means "the lowlands" and refers to the geographic features of the land being both flat and down river from higher areas (i.e., at the estuaries of the Scheldt, Meuse, and Rhine Rivers; only about half of the Netherlands is more than 1 meter above sea level)
Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

name: Amsterdam; note - The Hague is the seat of government

geographic coordinates: 52 21 N, 4 55 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

time zone note: time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, for the constituent countries in the Caribbean, the time difference is UTC-4

etymology: the original Dutch name, Amstellerdam, meaning "a dam on the Amstel River," dates to the 13th century; over time the name simplified to Amsterdam
Administrative divisions

12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie), 3 public entities* (openbare lichamen, singular - openbaar lichaam (Dutch); entidatnan publiko, singular - entidat publiko (Papiamento)); Bonaire*, Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslan (Friesland), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant (North Brabant), Noord-Holland (North Holland), Overijssel, Saba*, Sint Eustatius*, Utrecht, Zeeland (Zealand), Zuid-Holland (South Holland)

note 1: the Netherlands is one of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three, Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, are all islands in the Caribbean; while all four parts are considered equal partners, in practice, most of the Kingdom's affairs are administered by the Netherlands, which makes up about 98% of the Kingdom's total land area and population

note 2: although Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are officially incorporated into the country of the Netherlands under the broad designation of "public entities," Dutch Government sources regularly apply to them the more descriptive term of "special municipalities"; Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are collectively referred to as the Caribbean Netherlands

23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581, they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)
National holiday

King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; currently celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday

history: many previous to adoption of the "Basic Law of the Kingdom of the Netherlands" on 24 August 1815; revised 8 times, the latest in 1983

amendments: proposed as an Act of Parliament by or on behalf of the king or by the Second Chamber of the States General; the Second Chamber is dissolved after its first reading of the Act; passage requires a second reading by both the First Chamber and the newly elected Second Chamber, followed by at least two-thirds majority vote of both chambers, and ratification by the king; amended many times, last in 2018
Legal system

civil law system based on the French system; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General
International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Netherlands

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch

chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER (since 30 April 2013); Heir Apparent Princess CATHARINA-AMALIA (daughter of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER, born 7 December 2003)

head of government: Prime Minister Mark RUTTE (since 14 October 2010); Deputy Prime Ministers Sigrid KAAG and Wopke HOEKSTRA (since 10 January 2022) and Carola SCHOUTEN (since 26 October 2017); note - Mark RUTTE heads his fourth cabinet

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy prime ministers are appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch

description: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of:
Senate or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial council members by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
House of Representatives or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by open-list proportional representation vote to serve up to 4-year terms)

First Chamber - last held on 27 May 2019 (next to be held in May 2023)
Second Chamber - last held on 15-17 March 2021 (next to be held on 31 March 2025)

election results:
First Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 16%, CDA 12%, GL 10.7%, D66 9.3%, PvdA 8%, PVV 6.7%, SP 5.3%, CU 5.3%, PvdD 4%, SGP 2.7%, 50Plus 2.7%, FvD 1.3%, other 16%; seats by party - VVD 12, CDA 9, GL 8, D66 7, PvdA 6, PVV 5, SP 4, CU 4, PvdD 3, SGP 2, 50Plus 2, FvD 1, other 12; composition (as of September 2021) - men 52, women 23, percent of women 30.7%
Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 21.9%, D66 15%, PVV 10.8%, CDA 9.5%, SP 9.1%, PvdA 5.7%, GL 5.2%, FvD 5%, PvdD 3.8%, CU 3.4%, other 13.7%; seats by party - VVD 34, D66 24, PVV 17, CDA 15, GL 8, FvD 8, PvdD 6, PvdA 9, SP 9, CU 5, Denk 3, SGP 3, 50 Plus 1, other 6; composition (as of September 2021) - men 89, women 61, percent of women 40.7%; note - total States General percent of women 37.3%
Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (consists of 41 judges: the president, 6 vice presidents, 31 justices or raadsheren, and 3 justices in exceptional service, referred to as buitengewone dienst); the court is divided into criminal, civil, tax, and ombuds chambers

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch from a list provided by the Second Chamber of the States General; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: courts of appeal; district courts, each with up to 5 subdistrict courts; Netherlands Commercial Court
Political parties and leaders

Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Wopke HOEKSTRA]
Christian Union or CU [Gert-Jan SEGERS]
Democrats 66 or D66 [Sigrid KAAG]
Denk [Farid AZARKAN]
50Plus [Martin van ROOIJEN]
Forum for Democracy or FvD [Thierry BAUDET]
Green Left (GroenLinks) or GL [Jesse KLAVER]
Labor Party or PvdA (vacant)
Party for Freedom or PVV [Geert WILDERS]
Party for the Animals or PvdD [Esther OUWENHAND]
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD [Mark RUTTE]
Reformed Political Party or SGP [Kees VAN DER STAAIJ]
Socialist Party or SP [Lilian MARIJNISSEN]