Geography and climate of the Netherlands
Location: North Western Europe, West and North-West coastline the North Sea, borders with Belgium from the South and Germany from the East and Northeast.
Geographic coordinates: 52 30 N, 5 45 E
Seacoast: 451 km, territorial waters: 12 nautical miles, exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm.
Land borders: 1,027 km; borders with Belgium - 450 km long, with Germany - 577 km long.
Area of the Netherlands: 41,526 sq km. A large part of the Netherlands is covered with water: 7,643 sq km, land: 33,883 sq km.
Main rivers: Maas, Rhine
Biggest lake: Ijsselmeer (artificial lake created as a result of closing of a Zuidermeer bay).
Biggest Island: Texel ( Frisian Islands).
Highest point: Vaalserberg 321 m. The highest point in the whole Kingdom is overseas: Mount Scenery (862 m) on the small island of Saba, Netherlands Antilles.
Lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -6,7 m below NAP (Normal Amsterdam Level - the accepted constant sea level).
Landscape: Mostly coastal lowland and the land reclaimed from sea (polders); low and flat; about half of the surface of the Netherlands is less than 1 m above sea level, and large parts of it (ca 24%) are actually below sea level.
Some hills are only in southeast of the country.
Maritime climate: The Netherlands has a mild, maritime climate, similar to England; summers are generally warm with colder, rainy periods, and excessively hot weather is rare, but last years happens more and more often. Winters can be fairly cold, windy, with rain and some snow. The possibility of extreme cold is rare. Rain occurs throughout the whole year, spring being the driest season.
Natural disasters: Sea storms and floods.
Historically storms and floods were a periodical natural disaster in the Netherlands. Worst of them in the years 1287, 1421, and 1953 - with many human victims, are still remembered. Today an impressive system of dikes (only so called secondary dikes are 13 000 km long) and huge pumping stations protect the Netherlands from flooding.