Geography of the Netherlands

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File:Netherlands pol87.jpg
Map of the Netherlands.
Relief map of the Netherlands.

The geography of the European part of the Netherlands is unusual in that much of its land has been reclaimed from the sea and is below sea level, protected by dikes. Another factor that has influenced its physical appearance is that the country is among the most densely populated on Earth. It is ranked 15th overall on that scale, but is behind only three countries having a population over 10 million. Consequently, the Netherlands is highly urbanised.


The country can be split into two areas: the low and flat lands in the west and north, and the higher lands with minor hills in the east and south. The former, including the reclaimed polders and river deltas, make up about half of its surface area and are less than Template:Convert above sea level, much of it actually below sea level. An extensive range of seawalls and coastal dunes protect the Netherlands from the sea, and levees and dikes along the rivers protect against river flooding. The latter is mostly flat; only in the extreme south of the country does the land rise to any significant extent, in the foothills of the Ardennes mountains. This is where Vaalserberg is located, the highest point on the European part of the Netherlands at Template:Convert above sea level.


Geographic coordinates: 5.45°E and 50.30°N

  • 1 degree = 111 km NS, 68 km EW (the ratio is 0.61, the cosine of the latitude)
  • 1 minute = 1,850 m NS (ca. 1 nautical mile), 1,140 m EW
  • 1 second = 31 m NS, 19 m EW

The Dutch RD coordinate system (Rijksdriehoeksmeting) is also in common use; see [1] (pdf, in Dutch; see little map on p. 1) and converter. There is a west-east coordinate between 0 and 280 km, and a south-north coordinate between 300 and 620 km.

The reference point is the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwentoren (Our Lady's Tower) in Amersfoort, with RD coordinates (155.000, 463.000) and geographic coordinates approximately Template:Coord.

Rate of change of solar time: 1 minute per 17 km EW.

Highest altitude of the Sun varies at the center from 38.5 ? 23.5 = 15 degrees in December to 38.5 + 23.5 = 62 degrees in June. This occurs, depending on east-west location, at ca. 11:40 UTC, i.e. local time 12:40 in winter and 13:40 in summer.

File:Satellite image of the Netherlands in May 2000.jpg
Satellite overview of the Netherlands.

Map references: Europe

total: Template:Convert
land: Template:Convert
water: Template:Convert

Land boundaries:
total: Template:Convert
border countries:

Coastline: Template:Convert

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: Template:Convert
continguous zone: Template:Convert
exclusive fishing zone: Template:Convert

Climate: temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters (European mainland), tropical (Caribbean islands)

Terrain: mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast

File:Hypsometric curve of the Netherlands.svg
Hypsometric curve of the Netherlands

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Zuidplaspolder (Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel) Template:Convert, below sea level.
highest point on European mainland: Vaalserberg Template:Convert above sea level.
highest point (including the Caribbean islands): Mount Scenery on Saba Template:Convert above sea level.

Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land

Land use: (2011)
arable land: 25.08%
permanent crops: 0.88%
other: 74.04%

Irrigated land (2007): Template:Convert

Total renewable water resources (2011): Template:Convert

File:Nordholland SchoorlAnZee 2004 022a.jpg
The coastal dunes are vital to the existence of the Netherlands.

Natural hazards: flooding by sea and rivers is a constant danger. The extensive system of dikes, dams, and sand dunes protect nearly one-half of the total area from being flooded during the heavy autumn storms from the north-west.

Environment – current issues: water pollution in the form of heavy metals, organic compounds, and fetilisers such as nitrates and phosphates; air pollution from vehicles and refining activities; acid rain

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note: located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Scheldt)


Largest cities

Sources are CBS based

see [2]; and <ref name="CBS_pdfs">2006bevolkingskerneninnederlandart.pdf

with their provinces in 2006:

  1. Amsterdam (North Holland) 744,740 inhabitants
  2. Rotterdam (South Holland) 581,615 inh.
  3. The Hague ('s-Gravenhage) (South Holland) 474,245 inh.
  4. Utrecht (Utrecht) 290,529 inh.
  5. Eindhoven (North Brabant) 209,601 inh.
  6. Tilburg (North Brabant) 200,975 inh.
  7. Almere (Flevoland) 181,990 inh.
  8. Groningen (Groningen) 180,824 inh.
  9. Breda (North Brabant) 170,451 inh.
  10. Nijmegen (Gelderland) 160,732 inh.
  11. Apeldoorn (Gelderland) 155,328 inh.
  12. Enschede (Overijssel) 154,311 inh.
  13. Haarlem (North Holland) 147,179 inh.
  14. Arnhem (Gelderland) 142,638 inh.
  15. Zaanstad (North Holland) 141,829 inh.
  16. Amersfoort (Utrecht) 139,914 inh.
  17. Haarlemmermeer (municipal seat: Hoofddorp) (North Holland) 139,396 inh.
  18. 's-Hertogenbosch (North Brabant) 135,787 inh.
  19. Zoetermeer (South Holland) 118,534 inh.
  20. Dordrecht (South Holland) 118,443 inh.
  21. Maastricht (Limburg) 118,378 inh.
  22. Leiden (South Holland) 117,363 inh.
  23. Zwolle (Overijssel) 115,144 inh.
  24. Ede (Gelderland) 107,528 inh.
  25. Venlo (Limburg) 100,271 inh.
  26. Westland (municipal seat: Naaldwijk) (South Holland) 99,067 inh.
  27. Deventer (Overijssel) 96,958 inh.
  28. Sittard-Geleen (municipal seat: Sittard) (Limburg) 96,024 inh.
  29. Delft (South Holland) 95,237 inh.
  30. Alkmaar (North Holland) 93,986 inh.

Largest agglomerations

Sources are based on CBS see [3] and <ref name="CBS_pdfs"/>

  1. Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Diemen, Landsmeer, Oostzaan, Wormerland, Zaanstad)
  2. Rotterdam (Rotterdam, Barendrecht, Capelle aan den IJssel, Krimpen aan den IJssel, Spijkenisse, Schiedam, Vlaardingen, Maasland, Maassluis, Rozenburg)
  3. The Hague ('s-Gravenhage, Rijswijk, Wateringen, Voorburg, Leidschendam, Wassenaar)
  4. Utrecht (Utrecht, Nieuwegein, IJsselstein, Maarssen)
  5. Eindhoven (Eindhoven, Veldhoven, Geldrop, Son en Breugel, Waalre)
  6. Breda (Breda, Oosterhout, Etten-Leur, Drimmelen, Zundert)
  7. Tilburg (Tilburg, Goirle)
  8. Haarlem (Haarlem, Heemstede, Bloemendaal)
  9. Twente (Enschede, Hengelo, Borne, Almelo)
  10. Groningen (Groningen, Haren)
  11. Arnhem (Arnhem, Rozendaal)
  12. Leiden (Leiden, Voorschoten, Leiderdorp, Oegstgeest)
  13. Dordrecht (Dordrecht, 's-Gravendeel, Hardinxveld-Giessendam, Papendrecht, Sliedrecht, Zwijndrecht)
  14. Heerlen (Heerlen, Kerkrade, Landgraaf, Brunssum)
  15. 's-Hertogenbosch ('s-Hertogenbosch, Vught)
  16. Sittard-Geleen (Sittard-Geleen, Beek, Stein)
  17. Amersfoort (Amersfoort, Leusden)

See also

  • List of islands of the Netherlands
  • List of places in the Netherlands
  • List of mountains and hills in the Netherlands
  • List of volcanoes in the Netherlands
  • Extreme points of the Netherlands
  • Netherlands: Climate


<references />

External links

Template:Commons category


For public transport maps see Transportation in the Netherlands#External links.

Satellite images and aerial photographs

Google Maps [5] has aerial photographs of the entire country, combined with a full map with town and street names. This is also available through Google Earth.

Footnotes and References

Template:Refbegin ? [3] [4]:

  • 2006bevolkingskerneninnederlandart.pdf (pdf, in Dutch) on: [6], look for stedelijke agglomeraties
  • 2005grootstedelijkeagglomeratiesstadsgewestenafgebakendart.pdf (pdf, in Dutch)
    from: [] on: [7]
  • 2004k4v4p037art.pdf (pdf, in Dutch) on: [8]; look for stedelijke agglomeraties


Template:Netherlands topics Template:Geography of Europe