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Why the Netherlands has such a high population density

The Netherlands lies in the heart of Western Europe. Beyond its idyllic landscapes, the Netherlands boasts another remarkable feature. With a population density of 522 per km2 the country has one of the highest population densities in the world. With over 17 million people the Netherlands captivates scholars, urban planners and curious minds alike with its unique demographic landscape. Why has the Netherlands such a high density?

Historical Land Reclamation

Much of the land in the Netherlands has been reclaimed from the sea through a process of land reclamation called poldering. This allowed the Dutch to expand their inhabitable territory but the reclaimed land is often flat and densely populated.


The Netherlands has a highly urbanized population with many people living in cities and metropolitan areas. Cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague are densely populated urban centers.

Small Land Area

The Netherlands is a relatively small country in terms of land area but it has a relatively large population. This contributes to its high population density.

Agricultural Intensification

Dutch agriculture is highly efficient and intensive with a high population density even in rural areas. This means that even outside of urban centers the land is often densely populated with farms and agricultural activities.

Transportation Hubs

The Netherlands is a transportation hub for Europe with major airports, seaports and extensive road and rail networks. This attracts a significant population to areas around these hubs, further contributing to population density.

Economic Opportunities

The Netherlands has a strong economy with diverse industries including manufacturing, trade, finance and technology. This attracts people from within the country and from abroad leading to a high concentration of population in areas where economic opportunities are abundant.

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