The Netherlands is located in Western Europe on the North Sea, bordered by Germany and Belgium. The country’s name is quite appropriate, as about one quarter of the Netherlands is below sea level. The Netherlands is known for famous artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh and Mondrian, and for its long-time history as one of the most important maritime trading nations. In recent times, the Netherlands has also been a leading supporter of international cooperation.
The economy of the Netherlands is similar to that of the European Union as a whole. The rate of GDP growth in the Netherlands was negative during 2012 and 2013, but the economy was able to recover by the following year. GDP per capita, despite positive growth predictions for 2014, decreased slightly in 2015, before picking up again, and is now expected to be back to its previous state by the end of 2018. One reason for this may be that, due to negative and slow economic growth, the government has imposed austerity measures and has slightly reduced spending compared to revenue.
The economy of the Netherlands is largely based on the services sector, which is responsible for almost 75 percent of GDP generation. Employment across the sectors shows a similar distribution. The unemployment rate increased between 2013 and 2014, when GDP growth was negative, but it is expected to stabilize as the economy improves. Trade continues to play an important role for the Netherlands and the country boasts a positive trade balance which contributes to a stable economy. Imports and exports occur predominantly with Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Overall, the Netherlands is experiencing slow economic growth in a stable economy.
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