Short Facts

Flag

Green background, with in white letters the Muslim creed in Arabic: “There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

Emblem

A date palm, representing vitality and growth, and two crossed swords, symbolizing justice and strength rooted in faith.

Language

The official language is Arabic. English is widely used in business.

Religion

Sunni Islam, which is the basis of the legal system and of government.

Rulers

King Abdulaziz bin Abdelrahman Al-Saud, the founder (1932-1963), followed by his sons: King Saud (1953-64), King Faisal (1964-75), King Khalid (1975-82), King Fahd (1982-2005), King Abdullah (2005-2015) and the current ruler, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Government

Islamic state based on principles prescribed by the Qur’an (Islam’s Holy Book) and the Shari’ah (Islamic law); Provincial Council System, Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), and Council of Ministers.

National Day

September 23, commemorating the foundation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 by AbdelAziz bin Abdelrahman Al-Saud.

Currency

Saudi Riyal (SR)
Rate of exchange: EUR 1 = SAR 4.2 (July 2019); bank notes, in Arabic and English; coins of halalahs, with 100 halalahs equal to one riyal;

Geography

Southwest Asia, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa; extending from the Red Sea in the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east; bordered on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, on the south, by Yemen and Oman, and on the east by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. (GMT+3).

Climate

June through August, over 44°C midday in the desert; humidity in coastal regions up to 100 percent; elsewhere, mild; possible winter temperatures in the northern and central regions dropping below freezing; rainfall, from none at all for up to 10 years in the Rub Al-Khali, to 20 inches a year in the mountains of Asir Province.

Calendar

Islamic (Hijrah), dating from emigration of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah, currently 1440 (H); weekend: Friday and Saturday. 

Islamic Year: Muharram, Safar, Rabi’ Al-Awal, Rabi’ Al-Akher, Jumada Al-Awal, Jumada Al-Akher, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu Al-Qadah, Dhu Al-Hajjah .

Holidays

Closure of all offices and schools on Eid Al-Fitr, the feast of the breaking of the fast, from the evening of the twenty-fifth day of Ramadan through the fifth day of Shawwal; Eid Al-Adha, the culmination of the Hajj, from the fifth through fifteenth day of Dhu Al-Hajjah; and September 23, National Day.

Population

The total Saudi population is 33.4 Million (2018), with about 50% of them being under the age of 30.
The current birthrate is 2.47 children per woman.
The life expectancy at birth is 74 years.

Education

Education is free at all levels. The school system is composed of elementary, intermediate, and secondary schools. The rate of literacy is 90.4% among males and is about 81.3% among females. Higher education has expanded rapidly, with large numbers of Universities and colleges being founded particularly since 2000.

Health

Saudis and public sector expatriates are eligible for a comprehensive package of benefits including, public health, preventive, diagnostic, and curative services and pharmaceuticals with few exclusions and no cost sharing.

Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, based on purchasing power parity (PPP): USD 53,802
Gross national debt as percentage of GDP: 5 %