Changes coming in the Netherlands, Country Profile reports
The colors were derived from those of William I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century. Originally, the upper band was orange, but because its dye tended to turn red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color.
Location: Bordering the North Sea in Western Europe, between Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands is about twice the size of New Jersey.
Language: Dutch is the official language, while English is a recognized regional language.
Total Population: 17.2 million
Government: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Religion: Roman Catholic (23.6%) and Protestant (14.9%)about 50 percent don’t identify with a religion.
Economy: The Netherlands has capitalized on its location and advanced economy to become one of the top dozen trading countries in the world. It benefits from a consistently high trade surplus, stable industrial relations and low unemployment, and is a key center within the global business network. The U.S. is the largest foreign investor in the Netherlands and has its largest bilateral trade surplus in the world with the country— $23.7 billion in 2017. The Dutch economy is experiencing stable growth, and its government projects further growth of 2.7 percent in 2019. The financial sector is highly concentrated, with four commercial banks possessing more than 80 percent of banking assets.
News note: Amsterdam, which is facing a broader over-tourism issue, is tackling one area in particular as it aims to address the throngs of tourists who flock to the capital city’s red-light district. Starting January 1, 2020, the city will ban all guided tours of the red-light district in a move to reduce overcrowding and also improve the working conditions for sex workers, who it says “experience disturbances caused by groups of tourists.” Both paid and free tours are part of the ban, as is soliciting visitors to take part in tours.
GDP (official exchange rate): $832.2 billion
Currency: Euro (conversion rate at press time: 1 Euro equals $1.14 USD).
Franchising in the Netherlands: While franchising is a well-established business model in the Netherlands, the Dutch government is considering sweeping draft legislation to regulate everything from pre-sale disclosure to franchisee purchasing obligations and the ability of franchisors to develop similar, competitive goods or services outside the framework of the franchise. As FT columnist Philip Zeidman wrote in the April issue, foreign franchisors “accustomed to thinking of the Netherlands as a welcoming environment, will surely need to reappraise that assessment.”
Ease of doing business ranking by World Bank: 36, no change from 2018.