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Demographics
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Area and population - Netherlands

High average number of residents per municipality
11/01/2015

The Netherlands has a large number of residents per municipality in comparison with most other European countries. More than one fifth of the country's population lives in very highly urbanised areas and nearly one quarter live in non-highly urbanised areas. The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The balanced weighing of the various functions of the rural areas is a political task.

The Netherlands, with an area of 4,154,307 hectares, is one of the EU's smaller Member States. Some 55% of the country's total area, 2,275,827 hectares, is agricultural land, and 782,403 hectares is water. Forested land and open nature areas account for more than 485,000 hectares (12%) of the country's total area. The Netherlands had a population of almost 16.8 million on 1 January 2013. Almost one-quarter of the population is younger than 20 years old. The life expectancy at birth is 79.1 for men and 82.8 for women. The population density is high, with 498 residents per km2 of land, as a result of which the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The Netherlands has almost 7.6 million households, of which 2.9 million are single-person households. An average household consists of 2.19 persons. Almost 21% of the country's population live in very highly urbanised areas and more than 24% live in highly urbanised areas. About one fifth of the population lives in non-urbanised areas. The Netherlands had 403 municipalities on 1 January 2014, 28 of which had 100,000 residents or more. The average number of residents per Dutch municipality is almost 42,000, a high number in comparison with most other European countries. The Netherlands' capital city is Amsterdam, with 799,000 residents. Rotterdam and The Hague are the second and third largest cities, with 616,000 and 506,000 residents respectively. There is a great deal of pressure on the available space in the Netherlands' rural areas. Consequently, the balanced weighing of the various functions of the rural areas – accommodation for functions such as agriculture, nature, forest, industrial parks, offices, homes and transport – is the responsibility of the political sector.



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