Natural resources, energy and environment
The Netherlands has few natural resources,
with the exception of natural gas and fertile soil.
There are also small oil deposits, mainly in the North
Sea. In addition, salt, limestone and sand are
Extraction of natural gas has occurred since 1959,
especially near the city of Groningen in the north and
in the North Sea. For a long time, the gas was extracted
by state companies but in 2004 a privatization was
completed. The Netherlands has been one of the world's
largest gas exporters. But the extraction of gas in
Groningen, which is the world's largest natural gas
field, more than halved between 2012 and 2018 and will
cease until 2030. The Netherlands is now a net importer
of natural gas.
Major exports by Netherlands with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Natural gas accounted for over half of electricity
generation for a long time, but has declined. Instead,
the use of coal power has increased and amounts to more
than one third of production. Oil is also used and to a
lesser extent nuclear power. The development of nuclear
power has been interrupted for environmental reasons.
Only one nuclear power plant is in use, in Borssele.
According to a 2013 energy deal between the
government and the social partners, older coal-fired
power plants will be phased out and all energy will come
from renewable sources in 2050. However, that figure was
just over 6 percent in 2018, the second lowest share in
the EU. The most common renewable energy source is
biomass, but efforts are now being made not least on
wind power. In January 2017, the state railway company
NS reported that all train traffic is now powered by
electricity from wind power.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, NL stands for Netherlands.
The extremely densely populated country, including
intensive agriculture, has considerable environmental
problems. This applies to least eutrophication,
emissions of heavy metals and acid rain. However,
considerable resources are devoted to solving the
problems (see also Agriculture and Fisheries and
The Netherlands is particularly vulnerable to the
consequences of climate change, as parts of the country
are below sea level and have been recovered from the sea
(see Geography and Climate).
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
4,233 kilos of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
6713 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
167 303 thousand tons (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
9.9 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
5.9 percent (2015)
Government crisis averted
A threatening government crisis is averted after a proposal for a new health
insurance law has been withdrawn. The law should now be reviewed, the government
says. The law had been passed in the Second Chamber but unexpectedly fell in the
Senate, when three Labor Party members unexpectedly voted against the
government's proposal. The law was intended to reduce the state's health care
expenditure by EUR 1 billion.
Geert Wilder is prosecuted
The State Prosecutor announces that PVV leader Geert Wilders is being
indicted for incitement against ethnic groups, since he led a demonstration in
March where slogans were shouted against Moroccans. Wilders also spoke on TV
about "Moroccan scum". The Prosecutor has received 6,400 complaints against
Wilders (see also June 2011).
Measures against bird flu
An outbreak of a highly contagious form of avian influenza causes both the
Dutch authorities and the EU to take special measures. Around 150,000 birds are
slaughtered, sales from the affected area are banned and all transport is
temporarily stopped throughout the country. The Netherlands normally exports
over six billion eggs a year (see also Agriculture and Fisheries).
Victim ceremony in Ukraine crash
Hundreds of relatives and friends of those killed in the crash in Ukraine in
July are attending a memorial ceremony in Amsterdam. There is no clarity as to
who was behind the shooting, and the remains of many of the victims have not yet
been brought back to the Netherlands.
Bombing war against IS in Iraq
The Netherlands joins the US-led alliance of countries that carry out air
strikes against the extreme Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq.
Flight disaster in Ukraine
The nation is put in a state of shock and sadness when it is clear that 193
Dutch people perished in a plane crash in Ukraine. Russian-speaking separatists
are suspected to have shot down the aircraft belonging to Malaysian Airlines and
departed from Amsterdam. Read more about the crash in Ukraine: Calendar.
New judgment on Srebrenica
A court blames the Dutch state on the deaths of over 300 men and boys at the
Srebrenica massacre in 1995 (see also September 2013).
Relatives of the victims who turned to the court wanted to convict the
Netherlands of all the around 8,000 murders committed by the Serbs at the
massacre. The Court ruled that it was illegal for the Dutch peacekeeping force
to release to the Serbs the 300 men and boys who sought protection at the UN
base in Srebrenica, but at the same time concludes that the Netherlands cannot
be held responsible for the abduction and murder of all those who were present.
Civil success in EU elections
In the elections to the European Parliament, the Christian Democratic CDA and
the left-wing D66 will be the largest parties, each with about 15 percent of the
vote. Geert Wilder's Islamist right-wing party PVV makes a worse choice than
expected with 13 percent of the vote.
The government parties back in local elections
Both the right-wing Liberal VP and Social Democratic Labor Party are losing
support in the municipal elections. Christian Democratic CDA is progressing
strongly and the left-liberal D66 will be the largest in many cities, including
Amsterdam where the PvdA has dominated since the 1940s.