Capital city: Amsterdam
Total area: 41 526 km²
Population: 16.4 million
The North Sea also plays an important role for the industry. In the great seaport of Rotterdam, lots of freight ships arrive from all over the world to unload their goods. These goods are then transported further into Europe by car, train and riverboat. In Rotterdam and Vlissingen (Flushing) you find a lot of industry. Vlissingen (Flushing), in the Southwest of the Netherlands, borders the Westerschelde, a sea arm off the North Sea. Nieuwdorp is very close to Vlissingen (Flushing). The Westerschelde connects Antwerp with the sea. Antwerp is the biggest seaport in Belgium. Large sea ships sail in from the sea over the Westerschelde to Antwerp. The Netherlands is also extracting oil and natural gas from the North Sea. Large oil platforms are found in the North Sea, to get the oil and natural gas to the surface. It is then pumped to the main land through pipelines.
In February 1953 the Southwest of the country was hit by a severe storm and extreme high tide. A large part of the Southwest was flooded as a result of that. Lots of people and animals drowned. After this disaster, the Dutch government decided to protect the Dutch coastline and make it safe. The dykes were raised and the Delta Plan was drawn up. All the sea arms off the North Coast had to be closed as much as possible to protect the land against the sea. This plan was finalised in 1986.