The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports. It employs about 4% of the Dutch labour force but produces large surpluses for the food-processing industry and accounts for 21 percent of the Dutch total export value. The Dutch rank second worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind only the United States. with exports earning €80.7 billion in 2014, up from €75.4 billion in 2012.
The Netherlands has, at some time in recent history, supplied one quarter of all of the world's exported tomatoes, and trade of one-third of the world's exports of chilis, tomatoes and cucumbers goes through the country. The Netherlands also exports one-fifteenth of the world's apples.
Aside from that, a significant portion of Dutch agricultural exports consists of fresh-cut plants, flowers, and flower bulbs, with the Netherlands exporting two-thirds of the world's total.
The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,093,000 as of January 2017. It is the most populous country in Europe by size, except for very small city countries like Monaco, Vatican City, etc. and the 63rd most populous country in the world. Between 1900 and 1950, the country's population almost doubled from 5.1 to 10 million. From 1950 to 2000, the population further increased, to 15.9 million, though this represented a lower rate of population growth. The estimated growth rate in 2013 is 0.44%.
The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.78 children per woman (2013 est.), which is high compared with many other European countries, but below the rate of 2.1 children per woman required for natural population replacement. Life expectancy is high in the Netherlands: 83.21 years for newborn girls and 78.93 for boys (2013 est.). The country has a migration rate of 1.99 migrants per 1,000 inhabitants per year.
The majority of the population of the Netherlands is ethnically Dutch. According to a 2005 estimate, the population was 80.9% Dutch, 2.4% Indonesian, 2.4% German, 2.2% Turkish, 2.0% Surinamese, 1.9% Moroccan, 0.8% Antillean and Aruban, and 7.4% others. Some 150,000 to 200,000 people living in the Netherlands are expatriates, mostly concentrated in and around Amsterdam and The Hague, now constituting almost 10% of the population of these cities.
The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, with an average height of 1.81 metres (5 ft 11.3 in) for adult males and 1.67 metres (5 ft 5.7 in) for adult females in 2009. People in the south are on average about 2 cm (0.8 inches) shorter than those in the north.
According to Eurostat, in 2010 there were 1.8 million foreign-born residents in the Netherlands, corresponding to 11.1% of the total population. Of these, 1.4 million (8.5%) were born outside the EU and 0.428 million (2.6%) were born in another EU Member State. On 21 November 2016, there were 3.8 million residents in the Netherlands with at least one foreign-born parent ("migration background"). Over half the young people in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a non-western background. Dutch people, or descendants of Dutch people, are also found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United States. According to the 2006 US Census, more than 5 million Americans claim total or partial Dutch ancestry. There are close to 3 million Dutch-descended Afrikaners living in South Africa. In 1940, there were 290,000 Europeans and Eurasians in Indonesia, but most have since left the country.
The Netherlands is the 24th most densely populated country in the world, with 408.53 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,058/sq mi) or – if only the land area is counted (33,883 km2, 13,082 sq mi) – 500.89 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,297/sq mi). When the land area of the provinces only is counted (33,718 km2, 13,019 sq mi), a number of 500 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,295/sq mi) was reached in the first half of 2014. The Randstad is the country's largest conurbation located in the west of the country and contains the four largest cities: Amsterdam in the province North Holland, Rotterdam and The Hague in the province South Holland, and Utrecht in the province Utrecht. The Randstad has a population of 7 million inhabitants and is the 6th largest metropolitan area in Europe. According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in 2015, 28 percent of Dutch population had a spendable income above 40 thousand EUR.
The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. Besides Dutch, West Frisian is recognised as a second official language in the northern province of Friesland (Fryslân in West Frisian). West Frisian has a formal status for government correspondence in that province. In the European part of the Netherlands two other regional languages are recognised under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
The first of these regional languages is Low Saxon (Nedersaksisch in Dutch) is recognised. Low Saxon consists of several dialects spoken in the north and east, like Twents in the region of Twente, and Drents in the province of Drenthe. Secondly, Limburgish is also recognised as a regional language. It consists of Dutch varieties of Meuse-Rhenish Franconian languages and is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg. The dialects most spoken in the Netherlands are the Brabantian-Hollandic dialects.
Ripuarian language, which is spoken in Kerkrade and Vaals in the form of, respectively, the Kerkrade dialect and the Vaals dialect is not recognised as a regional language of the Netherlands.
English has a formal status in the special municipalities of Saba and Sint Eustatius. It is widely spoken on these islands. Papiamento has a formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire. Yiddish and the Romani language were recognised in 1996 as non-territorial languages.
The Netherlands has a tradition of learning foreign languages, formalised in Dutch education laws. Some 90% of the total population indicate they are able to converse in English, 70% in German, and 29% in French. English is a mandatory course in all secondary schools. In most lower level secondary school educations (vmbo), one additional modern foreign language is mandatory during the first two years.
In higher level secondary schools (havo and vwo), two additional modern foreign languages are mandatory during the first three years. Only during the last three years in vwo one foreign language is mandatory. Besides English, the standard modern languages are French and German, although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, or Russian. Additionally, schools in Friesland teach and have exams in Frisian, and schools across the country teach and have exams in classical Greek and Latin for secondary school (called gymnasium or vwo+).
Religions in the Netherlands (2015)
No affiliation (67.8%)
Roman Catholic (11.7%)
Protestant Church in the Netherlands (8.6%)
Other Christian denominations (4.2%)
Hinduism and Buddhism (2.0%)
Beliefs in the Netherlands (2015), based on in-depth interviewing by Radboud University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity until late into the 20th century. Although religious diversity remains, there has been a decline of religious adherence. In 2006, 34% of the Dutch population identified as Christian, decreasing till in 2015 almost 25% of the population adhered to one of the Christian faiths (11.7% Roman Catholic, 8.6% PKN, 4.2% other small Christian denominations), 5% is Muslim and 2% adheres to Hinduism or Buddhism, based on independent in-depth interviewing by Radboud University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Approximately 67.8% of the population in 2015 has no religious affiliation, up from 61% in 2006, 53% in 1996, 43% 1979 and 33% in 1966. The Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (Social and Cultural Planning Agency, SCP) expects the number of non-affiliated Dutch to be at 72% in 2020.
A large majority of the Dutch population believes that religion should not have a determining role to play in politics and education. Religion is also decreasingly seen as a social binder, and is generally considered a personal matter which should not be propagated in public. The Dutch constitution guarantees freedom of education, which means that all schools that adhere to general quality criteria receive the same government funding. This includes schools based on religious principles by religious groups (especially Roman Catholic and various Protestant). Three political parties in the Dutch parliament, (CDA, and two small parties, ChristianUnion and SGP) are based upon the Christian belief. Several Christian religious holidays are national holidays (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and the Ascension of Jesus). In the late 19th century atheism began to rise as secularism, liberalism and socialism grew; in the 1960s and 1970s Protestantism and Catholicism notably began to decline. There is one major exception: Islam which grew considerably as the result of immigration. Since the year 2000 there has been raised awareness of religion, mainly due to Muslim extremism. In 2013 a Catholic became Queen consort.
From a December 2014 survey by the VU University Amsterdam it was concluded that for the first time there are more atheists (25%) than theists (17%) in the Netherlands. The majority of the population being agnostic (31%) or ietsistic (27%). Atheism, agnosticism and Christian atheism are on the rise and are widely accepted and considered to be non-controversial. Among those who adhere to Christianity there are high percentages of atheists, agnostics and ietsists, since affiliation with a Christian denomination is also used in a way of cultural identification in the different parts of the Netherlands. In 2015, a vast majority of the inhabitants of the Netherlands (82%) said they had never or almost never visited a church, and 59% stated that they had never been to a church of any kind. Of all the people questioned, 24% saw themselves as atheist, an increase of 11% compared to the previous study done in 2006. The expected rise of spirituality (ietsism) has come to a halt according to research in 2015. In 2006 40% of respondents considered themselves spiritual, in 2015 this has dropped to 31%. The number who believed in the existence of a higher power fell from 36% to 28% over the same period.
Christianity is currently the largest religion in the Netherlands. The provinces of North Brabant and Limburg have historically been strongly Roman Catholic, and some of their people might still consider the Catholic Church as a base for their cultural identity. Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. The largest of these is the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), a United church which is Reformed and Lutheran in orientation. It was formed in 2004 as a merger of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and a smaller Lutheran Church. Several orthodox Reformed and liberal churches did not merge into the PKN. Although in the Netherlands as a whole Christianity has become a minority, the Netherlands contains a Bible Belt from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel, in which Protestant (particularly Reformed) beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.
Islam is the second largest religion in the state. In 2012, there were about 825,000 Muslims in the Netherlands (5% of the population). Muslim numbers increased from the 1960 as a consequence of large numbers of migrant workers. This included migrants from former Dutch colonies, such as Surinam and Indonesia, but mainly migrant workers from Turkey and Morocco. During the 1990s, Muslim refugees arrived from countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan.
Other religions account for some 6% of the Dutch people. Hinduism is a minority religion in the Netherlands, with around 215,000 adherents (slightly over 1% of the population). Most of these are Indo-Surinamese. There are also sizable populations of Hindu immigrants from India and Sri Lanka, and some Western adherents of Hinduism-oriented new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas. The Netherlands has an estimated 250,000 Buddhists or people strongly attracted to this religion, mainly ethnic Dutch people. There are about 45,000 Jews in the Netherlands.
Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16 when HAVO, VWO or MBO level 2 or higher completed or 18.
All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from (on average) ages 4 to 12. It comprises eight grades, the first of which is facultative. Based on an aptitude test, the 8th grade teacher's recommendation and the opinion of the pupil's parents or caretakers, a choice is made for one of the three main streams of secondary education (after completing a particular stream, a pupil may still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream):
- The vmbo has 4 grades and is subdivided over several levels. Successfully completing the vmbo results in a low-level vocational degree that grants access to the mbo.
- MBO ("middle-level applied education"). This form of education primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree. With the MBO certification, a student can apply for the HBO.
- The havo has 5 grades and allows for admission to the hbo.
- HBO ("higher professional education"), are universities of professional education (or applied sciences) that award professional bachelor's degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees. A HBO degrees gives access to the university system.
- The vwo (comprising atheneum and gymnasium) has 6 grades and prepares for studying at a (research) university.
- Universities offer of a three-year bachelor's degree, followed by a one-, two- or three year master's degree, which in turn can be followed by a four-year doctoral degree program. Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are generally non-tenured employees of a university.
In 2015 the Netherlands has maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index (EHCI), which compares healthcare systems in Europe, scoring 916 of a maximum 1,000 points. The Netherlands has been in the top three countries in each report published since 2005. On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 37 European countries for the sixth year in a row. The Netherlands was ranked first in a study in 2009 comparing the health care systems of the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.
Ever since a major reform of the health care system in 2006, the Dutch system received more points in the Index each year. According to the HCP (Health Consumer Powerhouse), the Netherlands has 'a chaos system', meaning patients have a great degree of freedom from where to buy their health insurance, to where they get their healthcare service. But the difference between the Netherlands and other countries is that the chaos is managed. Healthcare decisions are being made in a dialogue between the patients and healthcare professionals.
Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory. Healthcare in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance:
- Zorgverzekeringswet (Zvw), often called "basic insurance", covers common medical care.
- Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (AWBZ) covers long-term nursing and care. While Dutch residents are automatically insured by the government for AWBZ, everyone has to take out their own basic healthcare insurance (basisverzekering), except those under 18 who are automatically covered under their parents' premium. If you don't take out insurance, you risk a fine. Insurers have to offer a universal package for everyone over the age of 18 years, regardless of age or state of health – it's illegal to refuse an application or impose special conditions. In contrast to many other European systems, the Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare system in the Netherlands, but not in charge of its management.
Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: three echelons, in somatic and mental health care and in 'cure' (short term) and 'care' (long term). Home doctors (huisartsen, comparable to General Practitioners) form the largest part of the first echelon. Being referenced by a member of the first echelon is mandatory for access to the second and third echelon. The health care system is in comparison to other Western countries quite effective but not the most cost-effective.
Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January 2006. Long-term treatments, especially those that involve semi-permanent hospitalization, and also disability costs such as wheelchairs, are covered by a state-controlled mandatory insurance. This is laid down in the Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten ("General Law on Exceptional Healthcare Costs") which first came into effect in 1968. In 2009 this insurance covered 27% of all health care expenses.
For all regular (short-term) medical treatment, there is a system of obligatory health insurance, with private health insurance companies. These insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a defined set of insured treatments. This insurance covers 41% of all health care expenses.
Other sources of health care payment are taxes (14%), out of pocket payments (9%), additional optional health insurance packages (4%) and a range of other sources (4%). Affordability is guaranteed through a system of income-related allowances and individual and employer-paid income-related premiums.
A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums may not be related to health status or age. Risk variances between private health insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through risk equalization and a common risk pool. Funding for all short-term health care is 50% from employers, 45% from the insured person and 5% by the government. Children under 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive compensation to help them pay their insurance. Premiums paid by the insured are about 100 € per month (about US$127 in August 2010 and in 2012 €150 or US$196,) with variation of about 5% between the various competing insurers, and deductible a year €220 US$288.
Art, philosophy and literature
The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. The 17th century, in which the Dutch Republic was prosperous, was the age of the "Dutch Masters", such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th and 20th century were Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. M. C. Escher is a well-known graphics artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in Rotterdam, although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist.
The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. All of Descartes' major work was done in the Netherlands. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) discovered Saturn's moon Titan, argued that light travelled as waves, invented the pendulum clock and was the first physicist to use mathematical formulae. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms with a microscope.
In the Dutch Golden Age, literature flourished as well, with Joost van den Vondel and P. C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia. Important 20th century authors include Godfried Bomans, Harry Mulisch, Jan Wolkers, Simon Vestdijk, Hella S. Haasse, Cees Nooteboom, Gerard (van het) Reve and Willem Frederik Hermans. Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she died in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.
The traditional Dutch architecture is especially valuated in Amsterdam, Delft and Leiden, with 17 and 18th century buildings along the canals. Smaller village architecture with wooden houses is found in Zaandam and Marken. Replicas of Dutch buildings can be found in Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan. A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang, China. Windmills, tulips, wooden shoes, cheese, Delftware pottery, and cannabis are among the items associated with the Netherlands by tourists.
The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is regarded as a liberal country, considering its drug policy and its legalisation of euthanasia. On 1 April 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation to legalise same-sex marriage.
Dutch value system and etiquette
The Dutch have a code of etiquette which governs social behaviour and is considered important. Because of the international position of the Netherlands, many books have been written on the subject. Some customs may not be true in all regions and they are never absolute. In addition to those specific to the Dutch, many general points of European etiquette apply to the Dutch as well.
Dutch society is egalitarian, individualistic and modern. The people tend to view themselves as modest, independent and self-reliant. They value ability over dependency. The Dutch have an aversion to the non-essential.
Ostentatious behaviour is to be avoided. Accumulating money is fine, but public spending of large amounts of money is considered something of a vice and associated with being a show-off. A high lifestyle is considered wasteful and suspect with most people. The Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage, rich history in art and involvement in international affairs.
Dutch manners are open and direct with a no-nonsense attitude; informality combined with adherence to basic behaviour. According to a humorous source on Dutch culture, "Their directness gives many the impression that they are rude and crude—attributes they prefer to call 'openness.'"
A well known more serious source on Dutch etiquette is "Dealing with the Dutch" from Jacob Vossestein: "Dutch egalitarianism is the idea that people are equal, especially from a moral point of view, and accordingly, causes the somewhat ambiguous stance the Dutch have towards hierarchy and status." As always, manners differ between groups. Asking about basic rules will not be considered impolite. "What may strike you as being blatantly blunt topics and comments are no more embarrassing or unusual to the Dutch than discussing the weather."
The majority of the Dutch are irreligious and religion is in the Netherlands generally considered as a very personal matter which is not supposed to be propagated in public.
Dutch people and ecology
The Netherlands has the reputation of the leader country in environmental and population management. In 2015, Amsterdam and Rotterdam were, respectively, at the 4th and the 5th position on the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index.
Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch. The goal of the Dutch Government is to have a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system, by 2050, in which CO2 emissions have been halved and 40 percent of electricity is derived from sustainable sources.
The government is investing billions of euros in energy efficiency, sustainable energy and CO2 reduction. The Kingdom also encourage Dutch companies to build sustainable business/projects/facilities, with financial aids from the state to the companies or individuals who are active in making the country more sustainable.
The Netherlands has multiple music traditions. Traditional Dutch music is a genre known as "Levenslied", meaning Song of life, to an extent comparable to a French Chanson or a German Schlager. These songs typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward structure of couplets and refrains. Themes can be light, but are often sentimental and include love, death and loneliness. Traditional musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also use synthesizers and guitars. Artists in this genre include Jan Smit, Frans Bauer and André Hazes.
Contemporary Dutch rock and pop music (Nederpop) originated in the 1960s, heavily influenced by popular music from the United States and Britain. In the 1960s and 1970s the lyrics were mostly in English, and some tracks were instrumental. Bands such as Shocking Blue, Golden Earring, Tee Set, George Baker Selection and Focus enjoyed international success. As of the 1980s, more and more pop musicians started working in the Dutch language, partly inspired by the huge success of the band Doe Maar. Today Dutch rock and pop music thrives in both languages, with some artists recording in both.
Current symphonic metal bands Epica, Delain, ReVamp, The Gathering, Asrai, Autumn, Ayreon and Within Temptation as well as jazz / pop singer Caro Emerald are having international success. Also metalbands like Hail of Bullets, God Dethroned, Izegrim, Asphyx, Textures, Present Danger, Heidevolk and Slechtvalk are popular guests at the biggest metal festivals in Europe. Contemporary local heroes include pop singer Anouk, country pop singer Ilse DeLange, in South Guelderish dialect singing folk band Rowwen Hèze, rock band BLØF and Dutch language duo Nick & Simon.
Early 1990s Dutch and Belgian house music came together in Eurodance project 2 Unlimited. Selling 18 million records, the two singers in the band are the most successful Dutch music artists to this day. Tracks like "Get Ready for This" are still popular themes of U.S. sports events, like the NHL. In the mid 1990s Dutch language rap and hip hop (Nederhop) also came to fruition and has become popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. Artists with North African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern origins have strongly influenced this genre.
Since the 1990s Dutch electronic dance music (EDM) gained widespread popularity in the world in many forms, from trance, techno and gabber to hardstyle. Some of the world's best known dance music DJs hail from the Netherlands, including Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Dash Berlin, Nicky Romero, W&W and Afrojack; the first four of which have been ranked as best in the world by DJ Mag Top 100 DJs. The Amsterdam dance event (ADE) is the world's leading electronic music conference and the biggest club festival for the many electronic subgenres on the planet. These DJs also contribute to the world's mainstream pop music, as they frequently collaborate and produce for high-profile international artists.
In classical music, Jan Sweelinck ranks as the Dutch most famous composer, with Louis Andriessen amongst the best known living Dutch classical composers. Ton Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Notable violinists are Janine Jansen and André Rieu. The latter, together with his Johann Strauss Orchestra, has taken classical and waltz music on worldwide concert tours, the size and revenue of which are otherwise only seen from the world's biggest rock and pop music acts. The most famous Dutch classical composition is "Canto Ostinato" by Simeon ten Holt. A minimalistic composition for multiple instruments. Acclaimed harpist Lavinia Meijer in 2012 released an album with works from Philip Glass that she transcribed for harp, with approval of Glass himself.
The Concertgebouw (completed in 1888) in Amsterdam is home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, considered one of the world's finest orchestras.
Film and television
Some Dutch films – mainly by director Paul Verhoeven – have received international distribution and recognition, such as Turkish Delight ("Turks Fruit") (1973), Soldier of Orange ("Soldaat van Oranje") (1975), Spetters (1980) and The Fourth Man ("De Vierde Man") (1983). Verhoeven then went on to direct big Hollywood movies like RoboCop, Total Recall (1990) and Basic Instinct, and returned with Dutch film Black Book in 2006.
Other well-known Dutch film directors are Jan de Bont (Speed), Anton Corbijn (A Most wanted Man), Dick Maas (De Lift), Fons Rademakers (The Assault), documentary maker Bert Haanstra and Joris Ivens. Film director Theo van Gogh achieved international notoriety in 2004 when he was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam after directing the short film Submission.
Internationally successful Dutch actors include Famke Janssen (X-Men films), Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones), Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Jeroen Krabbé (The Living Daylights) and Derek de Lint.
The Netherlands has a well developed television market, with both multiple commercial and non-commercial broadcasters. Imported TV programmes, as well as interviews with responses in a foreign language, are virtually always shown with the original sound, and subtitled. The only exception are shows for children.
TV exports from the Netherlands mostly take the form of specific formats and franchises, most notably through internationally active TV production conglomerate Endemol, founded by Dutch media tycoons John de Mol and Joop van den Ende. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Endemol has around 90 companies in over 30 countries. Endemol and its subsidiaries create and run reality, talent, and game show franchises worldwide, including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. John de Mol later started his own company Talpa which created show franchises like The Voice and Utopia.
Approximately 4.5 million of the 16.8 million people in the Netherlands are registered to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the country. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly. Football is the most popular participant sport in the Netherlands, before field hockey and volleyball as the second and third most popular team sports. Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual sports.
Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Federations for sports were established (such as the speed skating federation in 1882), rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence. A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in 1912. Thus far, the nation has won 266 medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another 110 medals at the Winter Olympic Games.
In international competition Dutch national teams and athletes are dominant in several fields of sport. The Netherlands women's field hockey team is the most successful team in World Cup history. The Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times out of 32 events. Dutch K-1 kickboxers have won the K-1 World Grand Prix 15 times out of 19 tournaments.
The Dutch speed skaters' performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics, where they won 8 out of 12 events, 23 out of 36 medals, including 4 clean sweeps, is the most dominant performance in a single sport in Olympic history.
Motorcycle racing at the TT Assen Circuit has a long history. Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. The circuit was purpose built for the Dutch TT in 1954, with previous events having been held on public roads.
Limburger Max Verstappen currently races in Formula One, and was the first Dutchman to win a Grand Prix. The coastal resort of Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from 1958 to 1985.
The Volleyball national men's team has also been successful, winning the silver medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and the gold medal four years later in Atlanta. The biggest success of the women's national team was winning the European Championship in 1995 and the World Grand Prix in 2007.