A record 11.7 million foreign tourists visited the Netherlands in 2012

German, British and Belgian nationals dominated the record 11.7 million foreign tourists who visited the Netherlands last year, according to new figures from the tourist and convention board NBTC.

The increase in tourist numbers was up 4% on 2011, the NBTC said.

In particular, the Netherlands is benefiting from strong economic growth in Asia, and the rise of a wealthy middle class. The  number of visitors from Japan and China soared by 23%, while there was a 16% rise in tourists from India.

‘We are pleased with the growth although spending is under pressure,’ general manager Jos Vranken is quoted as saying. Foreign tourists spent some €4.75bn on their trips to the Netherlands, about the same as in 2011.

The organisation forecasts further growth in tourist numbers of 3% this year, partly due to the wealth of special events in the capital – such as the reopening of the Rijksmuseum and celebrations to mark 400 years of the city’s canals.