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In this work we present a model for the calculation of the magnetic properties of superconductors of orthorhombic shape in the perfect shielding state when an external uniform magnetic field is applied in the direction of one of the principal axes of the sample. Our model accounts for demagnetization effects and it is free of fitting parameters and boundary value conditions. We consider planar linear circuits that lie perpendicular to the direction of the applied field. Calculation of the value of the currents is based on magnetic energy minimization. The model is proved to be accurate enough to reproduce experimental results as long as the dimension along the applied field is not much lower than the other dimensions. Calculations of surface currents, as well as measurements and calculations of magnetization and initial susceptibility, are reported. We also present an empirical formula that provides a good fit to the initial susceptibility of a general sample of orthorhombic shape. Demagnetization effects observed on the experimental results are explained in terms of the induced currents in the superconductor. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.