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Netherlands Country Report

Country Risk Level

Low

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centre-right four-party government lacks a majority in both houses of parliament. This leaves it more exposed to internal disputes and strong opposition pressure. However, the joint focus on comprehensive crisis management to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak makes it unlikely that an early election will be scheduled before the regular one in March 2021.It is likely that the nine opposition parties represented in parliament will continue to have substantial power during the current administrative term. It is necessary for Rutte to include a fifth partner or several of the opposition parties more formally in the government's legislative plans.The fiscal package to address the fallout from the COVID-19 virus pandemic and maintain employment and incomes has been extended to the middle of 2021. The terms of the support for full-time employees, the self-employed, and companies will continue to be generous. Dutch public finances are in a strong position to absorb the cost.The Dutch economy is on course for a severe recession in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, with annual GDP likely to contract by around 5%. The key uncertainties relate to the strength of the rebound in the third and subsequent quarters as new COVID-19 cases have been increasing since July, raising the risk of new restrictions on activity.The Netherlands faces a risk of low-capability and more sophisticated terrorist attacks launched by lone actors or small cells directly linked to non-state militant groups such as the Islamic State or inspired by their ideology. Soft targets, such as transport hubs, bars and restaurants, shopping centres, or public spaces near tourist attractions, are likely to be most at risk.

Operational Outlook

The Netherlands is usually a favourable business and investment destination, but there is currently a heightened risk of disruption caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak and related emergency measures. Infrastructure is of a very high standard, with reliable links to neighbouring markets. The high cost of labour is a minor deterrent for some businesses, but productivity and quality are correspondingly high. Industrial action is relatively rare and corruption risks are likely to remain very low. Brexit poses a potential risk of disruption for businesses depending on the outcome of ongoing negotiations on future EU-UK relations.

Terrorism

The Netherlands faces a risk of low-capability and more sophisticated terrorist attacks launched by lone actors or small cells directly linked to non-state militant groups such as the Islamic State or inspired by their ideology. Soft targets, such as transport hubs, bars and restaurants, music and sport venues, shopping centres, or public spaces near tourist attractions, are likely to be most at risk. However, because lone actors often launch attacks near their homes, the risk of a terrorist attack is not limited to larger cities. Aside from civilians, other prime targets include individual members of the Dutch security forces or politicians.

Crime

Crime rates, especially for violent crime, are generally very low in the Netherlands and they are no deterrent to foreign investment. According to recent figures from the Dutch Ministry of Justice, the overall crime rate is likely to drop over the coming years. However, cyber crime is a growing threat in the Netherlands, including malware, ransomware attacks, and the targeting of networked systems. The Dutch police force functions effectively and is comparatively well resourced overall.

War Risks

The Netherlands has close political and economic ties with all of its neighbours, which are also partners in the European Union and allies in NATO, rendering the risk of inter-state war extremely low. The country's NATO membership entails the involvement of Dutch military forces in NATO/US-led international security operations, including currently in Afghanistan, where the Dutch government has committed to contribute to NATO's Resolute Support Mission until 2021, and in Lithuania, where around 270 military personnel support the multinational battlegroup of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence.

Social Stability

The probability of larger demonstrations has increased again since June 2020 following initial restrictions in response to the COVID-19 virus. This includes protests against COVID-19 virus-related restrictions and anti-climate-change and anti-racism rallies. Overall, the risk of violent and disruptive protests in the Netherlands is lower than in neighbouring countries. However, anti-Islam and anti-immigrant sentiment, fuelled and exploited by the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid: PVV) or the Forum for Democracy (Forum voor Democratie: FvD), has led to an increase in protests with the potential to turn violent. The Dutch branch of PEGIDA also stages smaller protests.

Health Risk

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Natural Risks

Coastal regions and zones situated below sea level are particularly vulnerable to flooding.

Transportation

The country's road network is very good, dense, and free. However, roads are often gridlocked due to the large number of trucks on major roadways.

Drives are advised to be aware of the numerous cyclists who use the country's roadways, particularly in urban centers, and to be cautious of cyclists traveling in the opposite direction of traffic. Driving while intoxicated is severely punished. Fines resultant from traffic violations must be paid immediately. If you do not have cash with you, police officers will not hesitate to take you to the closest ATM.

Public transportation is very well developed in the country and has priority over individual drivers. However, trains are often late. Trams have priority on roadways and do not hesitate to take it.

Practical Information

Climate

Netherlands experiences a temperate oceanic climate which becomes slightly more continental as you travel inland. Winters are moderate and summers cool. Weather can change quickly. Fog, drizzle, and rain are common and winds can be violent along the coast. Average temperatures fluctuate between 2.2°C (winter) and 16.6°C (summer). Average annual rainfall is 760 mm.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +31
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 112
Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal