The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland, also commonly, but incorrectly, called Holland) is a European country, bordering Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and France in the Caribbean as the Dutch territory Sint Maarten borders French territory Saint-Martin. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to, in English, as "Dutch".
With over 17 million people on an area of just 41,543km², it's a densely populated country with its gorgeous capital Amsterdam being just one of many interesting cities. Once a great naval power, this small nation boasts a wealth of cultural heritage and is famous for its painters, windmills, clogs and notoriously flat lands. A modern European country today, it preserved its highly international character and is known for its liberal mentality. As a founding member of EU and NATO, and host to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands is at the heart of international cooperation. Its small size, welcoming attitude to travellers and many sights make it a unique and fairly easy to discover destination and a great addition to any European trip.
The official name of the country is the Netherlands. In the rest of the world, the name Holland is commonly used for the entire country. However, when used correctly, the name Holland only refers to the area covered by the provinces of North and South Holland. Indeed, in this area, which contains the largest cities and largest part of the population, this use is common as well. However, outside of this area, and particularly in the South and North, this use is often considered quite insulting, and the Netherlands is preferred. Consider how a Scot would feel if called English. In these areas, you are likely to be corrected with a slightly annoyed explanation of the difference between Holland and the Netherlands.
|Culture & History|
The southern part of the country was part of the Holy Roman Empire until it was acquired piece by piece by the Franks. At the end of the Middle Ages, it became a Spanish possession (together with what is now Belgium). Little survives from this period, except a few historic city centres, and a few castles.
Following the Dutch Revolt, led by national hero William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), the Netherlands became a de facto independent republic in 1572. The (first) split with Belgium came when the northern provinces (including Flanders) signed the Union of Utrecht in 1579. It grew to become one of the major economic and seafaring powers in the world during the 17th century, which is known as the Dutch Golden Age (Gouden Eeuw). During this period, many colonies were founded or conquered, including the Netherlands East Indies (currently Indonesia) and New Amsterdam (currently New York City), which was later traded with the British for Suriname.
In 1805, the country became a kingdom when Emperor Napoleon appointed his brother 'King of Holland'. In 1815, it became the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden) together with Belgium and Luxembourg under King William I (Willem I). In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. Luxembourg received independence from the Netherlands in 1890, as the Salic Law prohibited a female ruler.
Avoiding the liberal revolutions of 1848 and new adopted Treaty, the Netherlands quietly became a constitutional monarchy and remained neutral in World War I History
but suffered a brutal invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. In 1944, the Low Countries formed the union of the Benelux in which they economically (and sometimes politically) work together. The country was a founding member of NATO in 1949 and the European Community (EC) in 1957, and participated in the introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.
|Country Name||Kingdom of the Netherlands|
|Inter. Airports||Schiphol (AMS)|
|Religion(s)||50.1% No religion 43.8% Christianity —23.7% Catholicism —18.1% Protestantism —2.0% Other Christian 4.9% Islam 1.2% Others|