Democracy and rights
The democratic institutions are strong in the
Netherlands, which has long been a stable welfare state.
The country is one of the highest ranked in the world in
terms of freedom of the press.
In the rankings of political and civil rights as well
as the functions of the rule of law, the Netherlands
ranks among the best countries in the world. Often only
a few of the Nordic states are better off, or they and
some other western countries. An exception is order and
security, where several otherwise rather undemocratic
states are ranked higher.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Netherlands, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Freedom of association and assembly are respected,
electoral democracy is strong and minority groups can
exercise their democratic rights. Corruption is
relatively limited: The Netherlands is ranked 8 out of
180 on Transparency International's list of 180
countries ranked by levels of corruption (the ranking
list is here).
The Netherlands has long had a reputation for being
one of the most tolerant countries in the world, but
that image has gained something of a thorn in recent
years with increased xenophobia, aimed not least at
Muslims. There are criticisms, among other things, of
long stays in prison-like facilities for migrants and
Freedom of expression and media
Press freedom has existed in practice since 1848 and
is now constitutional as is freedom of speech. In
Reporters Without Borders' ranking list for freedom of
the press in world countries, the Netherlands is in 5th
place out of 180 countries (see list here), after four
However, the media climate has hardened somewhat, not
least in sensitive issues related to migration, religion
or the nation state. Tough competition has also resulted
in newspaper ownership being concentrated to fewer
hands, at the same time as the number of newspapers has
decreased and circulations have dropped. No newspaper is
directly linked to any political party.
The media works freely and the legal protection of
journalists is strong, as is the source protection.
However, as in many other parts of Europe, both physical
and verbal threats to media workers have become more
common. In recent years, several charges have been
brought - and convictions have been dropped - against
people who threatened journalists online. Following a
stricter law in 2018, all police reports made by
journalists must be properly investigated.
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary has an independent position and the
rule of law is generally good. In recent years, some
criticism has been directed at stricter security
legislation that is considered to threaten to undermine
human rights and the rule of law. Among other things,
several laws were passed in 2017 which, according to
critics, give the authorities powers to restrict rights
on too loose grounds. The laws allow extensive
electronic monitoring. Furthermore, individuals may be
banned from travel and citizenship may be revoked for
those with dual citizenship if they are suspected of
having traveled abroad to join an armed group. Criticism
has also been directed at a ban on covering the face in
public places such as hospitals and schools. The ban,
which critics believe is aimed at Muslims, came into
force in 2018 after several years of debate.
The city of The Hague in the Netherlands is the seat
of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the
International Criminal Court (ICC), among others. The
Special Tribunal for War Crimes in Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
was also located here but was wound up in 2017.
Legal proceedings after Srebrenica
The participation of the Netherlands in the UN
operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s led to
a national trauma and a lengthy legal process against
the Dutch state. The reason was that Dutch UN soldiers
failed to prevent massacres of up to 8,000 Muslim boys
and men, committed when Bosnian Serb forces took the
city of Srebrenica. Seven years after the genocide, the
government resigned in the Netherlands after an
investigation criticized both the political leadership
and the military for having the UN force too vague and
too lightly armed to protect the civilian population
(see Modern History). The Dutch state has been ordered
in three courts to pay damages to relatives of 350 men
and boys who were handed over to the Bosnian Serbs (see
Calendar). Damages to all victims of the genocide have
not been relevant.
The state saves the bank
The global financial crisis is having repercussions and leading the state to
take over parts of the country's second largest bank, Fortis.
Extended Afghanistan mandate
The Dutch troops in Afghanistan will have their mandate extended until the
end of 2010.
New Beam end government is formed
After three months of negotiations, the "fourth Balkenende government" is
formed, now a coalition between the Christian Democratic CDA, the Social
Democratic Labor Party and the small Protestant Party Christian Union (CU).
During the negotiations, the three parties agree that approximately 30,000
immigrants who have entered the country illegally will be granted a residence