The Dutch can be characterized by the statement “intolerant to intolerance”. It’s true that the Netherlands are the leader in the world when looking at taboo topics, such as legalization of prostitution, soft drugs and euthanasia, leaving many observers ambivalent about the ethics of such legislation. But if nothing else, the Netherlands is a country of pragmatic people; historically the nation of merchants, the Dutch took over the world not by fighting but by trading. Since the citizens of Dutch colonies enjoyed equal rights as native Dutch, many immigrants from principally Indonesia and Suriname in the past century came to the Netherlands and stayed. This trend is continuing today, but supplemented with immigration from Turkey, Morocco and elsewhere, leading to foreign-born immigrant population of 10.6% in 2009. In an effort to integrate all the foreigners in the Dutch society, the Dutch government made it obligatory for everyone wishing to obtain Dutch citizenship to undergo “naturalization”, where not only Dutch language, but also culture and traditions are taught. In a land, where everyone lives on top of each other (at whooping 487.13 people per square kilometer, the Netherlands are the most densely populated country in European Union; except for city states, such as Monaco and San Marino), being tolerant is the greatest virtue, but even the Dutch weren’t spared the hysteria and violence connected to Islamic extremists, and lately the extreme right-wing is gaining more and more support among the people.
Population. Ranked 64th in 2013.
GDP per capita. Ranked 14th in 2012.
33,760 sq km
Sq. km. Ranked 129th in 2008.