The Netherlands is a small country (world rank #131) but has a relatively large population (17.0 million, world rank #66). Yet there are few ‘large’ cities to be found; the vast majority of Dutch cities have fewer than 200,000 residents.
One of the reasons the country developed this way has to do with its topography. The western half characterized by its flat terrain that sits at or just below sea level. The lower parts would have been under water in the past, covered by ponds and marshy wetlands. It has only been in the last millennium that the Dutch were able to devise a way to effectively drain these wet ‘polder’ lands (with windmills) and keep them from filling with water again (canals and dikes).
Still, these low lands will always have a natural propensity for filling with water and the Dutch have to constantly monitor the situation. As such, those areas are commonly used for agricultural purposes rather than residential. This has impeded the ability for cities to expand organically, such as in the United States or Canada.
The most populated region in the Netherlands is known as the ‘Randstad‘, a roughly diamond-shaped area with Amsterdam to the north, Rotterdam to the south, The Hague to the west and Utrecht to the east. Those also happen to be four largest Dutch cities. The population of the Randstad region is 8.1 million, almost half that of the entire country.
The 10 biggest cities in the Netherlands based on population are…