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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Political, social and economic background and trends


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

Last update: 21 June 2022

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the position of the monarch is laid down in the Constitution. The monarch and the ministers together constitute the government.

The Netherlands has a population of almost 16.8 million, living in an area of approximately 41,528 km2. Its inhabitants speak Dutch, a Germanic language.

One of the key features of the Dutch education system is freedom of education. Schools and institutions also have a great degree of educational and administrative autonomy. In the Netherlands, it is compulsory for all young people aged 5 to 18 to attend school full-time or until they have obtained a basic qualification. There is a key deciding moment at the end of primary education when pupils decide which of the various types of secondary education they wish to follow.