Capital city Hanoi
Surface 331.690 km²
Population 96.209.000
Road network length 42.200 km
Length of highway network 895 km
First highway ~2000
Motorway name Freeway
Traffic drives To the right
License plate code VN

Vietnam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam), formally the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam), is a country in Southeast Asia. The country is about 8 times the size of the Netherlands and has 96 million inhabitants. It is the 14th most populous country in the world. The capital is Hanoi, the largest city is Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon).

The capital Hanoi on the Red River.


According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Vietnam is an elongated country on the South China Sea. It borders China to the north and Laos and Cambodia to the west. Vietnam measures a maximum of 1,650 kilometers from north to south and a maximum of 630 kilometers from west to east, although the distance east-west in the center of the country is barely 50 kilometers. The country is comparable in area to Germany. The major rivers of Vietnam are the Sông Hồng (Red River) in the north and the Mekongin the south. Both rivers have a densely populated delta. The extreme south of Vietnam consists almost entirely of lowlands that are only a few meters above sea level. However, most of Vietnam is hilly to mountainous. The 3,143 meter high Phan Xi Păng, also known as the Fansipan, is the highest mountain in Vietnam and Indochina. Most of Vietnam consists of the Annamite Range, a mountain range with peaks up to 2,500 meters. The Hạ Long Bay in the north of the country is famous.

Vietnam has a varied climate, which changes with altitude. The north has a humid subtropical climate, while the south has a predominantly tropical savanna climate. Parts of central and southern Vietnam have a monsoon climate. The dry season falls in the winter while the wet season falls in the summer. The northern Hanoi has a greater variation in temperature, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 20°C in winter to 32°C in summer, with annual precipitation of 1,700 mm. In the southern Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) the temperatures are around 32-34°C all year round and there is 1,800 mm of precipitation per year.


Vietnam is a developing country with a low GDP per capita. The nominal economy is relatively large due to its sizeable population. The Vietnamese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Historically, Vietnam has had an agricultural economy, mainly focused on growing rice. There is also some mining. Vietnam has a communist planned economy with 5-year plans. Since 1986, the economy has been transforming into a market economy with a socialist foundation. This led to strong economic growth in the 1990s. Since then, the manufacturing industry in particular has grown. Extreme poverty has since declined, but the economy is plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Vietnam is emerging as a holiday destination.


Name Population
Ho Chi Minh City 8.244.000
Hanoi 7.379.000
Hai Phong 1.946.000
Can Tho 1.238.000
Bien Hoa 1.104.000
Danang 1.008.000

Vietnam has over 96 million inhabitants who largely live in the delta of the Sông Hồng (Red River) in the north and the Mekong and Saigon in the south. See Vietnam population density. Demographically, Vietnam consists of two centers of gravity, the region around the capital Hanoi and the region around the largest city Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. Vietnam has six cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, but the countryside around the river deltas is very densely populated.

Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt) is spoken in Vietnam, a language that originally used Chinese characters until the 13th century, when its own script was developed. In the 17th century, Vietnamese was romanized, which quickly became popular. The spelling of Vietnamese place names is slightly different from the Latin script used by other languages. There are additional accents and diacritics not found in other Latin scripts. For example, Hanoi is written in Vietnamese as Hà Nội, Vietnam as Việt Nam.

Cities are often written with the prefix Thành phố, abbreviated TP, and villages are often written with the prefix thị trấn, abbreviated TT. Ho Chi Minh City is referred to as Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh in Vietnamese.

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest conurbation in Vietnam. The four provinces together have 14.4 million inhabitants. There is no clear transition from urban to rural as the entire south of Vietnam is densely populated.


Vietnam originally belonged to China. In the year 939, an independent Vietnam was formed, which was ruled by a series of royal dynasties. In the mid-19th century, Indochina was colonized by France. The country was then developed, the first infrastructure was built and the introduction of education increased the education level of the population. A developed agriculture was created and the country started exporting products such as tobacco, coffee, tea and rice. At the start of the Second World War, Indochina was occupied by Japan, although the country remained under the rule of the allies of Vichy France until 1945. Vietnam was not a major battleground during the Second World War.

Shortly after World War II, the country was briefly ruled by the British and power was quickly transferred to the French. Vietnam’s status as a colony of France was supported at the time by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. From 1946, a guerrilla war started by the Viet Minh against the French. This war lasted 8 years and ended with the withdrawal of the French in 1954. The country was then divided into a communist North Vietnam and a western-backed South Vietnam. In the late 1950s, a communist uprising began in the south and gradually expanded into a full-scale war, which has since been known as the Vietnam War. From 1964, American support began to increase from material and financial support to the deployment of ground troops. US deployment reached its peak in the late 1960s, particularly after the Tet Offensive of 1968. Beginning in the early 1970s, the United States began withdrawing troops from Vietnam, forcing South Vietnam to win the war itself. This failed and Saigon fell in 1975.

The country was thereafter politically and economically isolated. In 1978, Vietnam invaded neighboring Cambodia to overthrow the Khmer Rouge. In the late 1970s, relations with China deteriorated significantly, leading to a short-lived war between China and Vietnam in early 1979. The country then became increasingly dependent on the Soviet Union.

In 1986 political and economic reforms were initiated that moved the country towards a socialist free market economy. In the 1990s, the economy grew rapidly and Vietnam became a major player in Asia. Political isolation began to diminish and by 2000 ties with almost all countries had been restored. After 2000, Vietnam continued to develop with rapid economic growth, mainly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as some coastal cities. The countryside is relatively behind. A lot of manufacturing industry is located in particular around Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam Location Map