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Country Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The village of West Terschelling, the main centre on the West Frisian island of Terschelling, seen from the 55-metre high lighthouse the Brandaris (1594). Near 'West' lies a training range for Dutch air-force bombers. Terschelling and its famous lighthouse attract half a million tourists a year. Foto Rien Zilvold

37,000 square kilometres (excluding water) - 119 percent the seize of Belgium, 7 percent of France, 10 percent of Germany, 15 percent of the United Kingdom and 0.4 percent of the USA.

15,5 million - 153 percent of the population of Belgium, 19 percent of Germany, 26 percent of the UK, 27 percent of France and 6 percent of the USA.

Foto Rien Zilvold

density The Netherlands has the highest population density in the Western world, with 419 people per square kilometre. Population density in Germany is 230 people per square kilometre, 242 in the UK, 108 in France, 333 in Belgium and 28 in the USA.

Staten-Generaal, consisting of the Second Chamber (150 members, elected directly) and the First Chamber (75 members, chosen by the provincial councils). The Second Chamber, the most important chamber of parliament, currently has members from nine parties: social-democrats (PvdA, 45 seats), liberals (VVD, 38 seats), Christian democrats (CDA, 29 seats), neo-liberals (D66, 14 seats), left-wing environmentalists (GroenLinks, 11 seats), socialists (SP, 5 seats) and orthodox Protestants (three parties, 8 seats).

Foto Rien Zilvold

Over the past four years, the cabinet was made up of members of three parties: PvdA, VVD and D66 (the purple coalition). Wim Kok (PvdA, 59) was Prime Minister. General elections were held on 6 May 1998, and a new cabinet is currently being formed, probably by the same parties and under the same Prime Minister as the previous government.

The Netherlands is the 11th wealthiest nation in the Western world, with a gross domestic product of 20,905 dollars per capita. This is just below Germany (21,200 dollars), and above France (20,533 dollars). The wealthiest country is Luxemburg, with a GDP of 32,416 dollars per capita. Total Dutch GDP is 362.9 billion dollars, which amounts to 17 percent of German GDP, 28 percent of British GDP, 26 percent of French GDP, and 5 percent of American GDP.

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2 juli 1998

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