The Dutch guilder or florin has fallen in value in relation to the U.S. dollar and other major European currencies. In 1995, 1 U.S. dollar was equal to 1.6057 guilders; however, in 1999, one U.S. dollar equaled 1.8904 guilders. The weakness of the Dutch currency has actually helped the nation's economy since it has made Dutch products cheaper and therefore more marketable. In 1999, the kingdom was one of the founding members of EMU. EMU created a single currency, the euro, for the EU nations which replaced national currencies in 2002. The euro is fixed at a rate of 2.20371 guilders per euro. Since its introduction, the euro has been weak against the U.S. dollar. In 2000, 1 U.S. dollar equaled 0.9867 euros (when the euro was introduced it was equal to US$1.1789). The low value of the euro is expected to continue to help Dutch exports when the nation adopts the currency.
Banks in the Netherlands manage the transfer of funds and securities and handle savings and checking accounts. They also assist companies in stock offerings. The banking system is overseen by the government-owned Dutch national bank, De Nederlandsche Bank, or DNB. The bank also oversees monetary policy . As a member of the European System of Central Banks, DNB coordinates with other European national banks on issues of monetary policy and national economies, as well as the implementation of EMU. Foreign-owned banks are allowed to operate in the kingdom according to the same rules and regulations as Dutch banks.
In 2002, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange will celebrate its birthday as the world's oldest stock market. The exchange has developed close ties with stock markets in Belgium and Luxembourg, and almost half of the investments in the Amsterdam Exchange come from foreign investors. The Amsterdam Exchange lists 972 different companies or investment institutions, of which 604 are Dutch and the rest foreign-owned. In 1999, the total value of the exchange was 1.497 trillion euros.
|Exchange rates: Netherlands|
|euros per US$1|
|Note: Rates prior to 1999 are in Netherlands guilders per US$.|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|