Surgery in the Netherlands is performed by 700 surgeons in 148 hospitals that serve a population of more than 15 million. Surgical standards are high and among the best in Western medicine. Training in surgery requires 6 years. In 1998, one third of the medical doctors applying to the surgical training program were women. The practice of surgery and surgical training are under pressure by the government to limit the working hours of residents, to reduce the number of hospitals, and to reduce medical budgets.