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) , national_anthem =
( en, "William of Nassau")
, image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 = Netherlands-CIA WFB Map-10-10-10.png , capital =
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
, largest_city = capital , coordinates = , admin_center =
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
, admin_center_type = Government seat , official_languages =
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
, languages_type = Regional , languages_sub = yes , languages = , languages2_type = Recognised , languages2_sub = yes , languages2 = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2020 , ethnic_groups_ref = , religion = , religion_year = 2019 , religion_ref = , demonym = Dutch , membership =
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
, membership_type = Sovereign state , government_type =
Unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
, leader_title1 =
Monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...
, leader_title2 =
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
, leader_name1 =
Willem-Alexander Willem-Alexander (; Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand; born 27 April 1967) is the King of the Netherlands, having acceded to the throne following Beatrix of the Netherlands, his mother's abdication in 2013. Willem-Alexander was born in Utr ...
, leader_name2 =
Mark Rutte Mark Rutte (; born 14 February 1967) is a Dutch politician serving as Prime Minister of the Netherlands The prime minister of the Netherlands ( nl, Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of th ...

Mark Rutte
, legislature = States General , upper_house =
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
, lower_house = House of Representatives , sovereignty_type = Independence , established_event1 = Proclaimed , established_event2 = Recognised , established_event3 = Kingdom established , established_event4 =
Liberation Day Liberation Day is a day, often a public holiday, that marks the liberation of a place, similar to an independence day. Liberation marks the date of either a revolution, as in Cuba, the fall of an oppressive regime, as in Portugal, or the end of a ...
, established_event5 =
Charter A charter is the grant of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social scie ...
, established_event6 =
Caribbean incorporation
Caribbean incorporation
, established_date1 = 26 July 1581 , established_date2 = 30 January 1648 , established_date3 = 16 March 1815 , established_date4 = 5 May 1945 , established_date5 = 15 December 1954 , established_date6 = 10 October 2010 , area_km2 = 41865 , area_rank = 131st , area_sq_mi = , percent_water = 18.41 , population_estimate = , population_estimate_year = , population_census = 16,655,799 , population_census_year = 2011 , population_estimate_rank = 67th , population_density_km2 = 423 , population_density_rank = 16th , population_density_sq_mi = , GDP_PPP = $1.055 trillion , GDP_PPP_year = 2021 , GDP_PPP_rank = 27th , GDP_PPP_per_capita = $60,461 , GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 11th , GDP_nominal = $1.012 trillion , GDP_nominal_year = 2021 , GDP_nominal_rank = 17th , GDP_nominal_per_capita = $58,003 , GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 12th , Gini = 27.5 , Gini_year = 2020 , Gini_change = increase , Gini_ref = , Gini_rank = , HDI = 0.944 , HDI_year = 2019 , HDI_change = increase , HDI_ref = , HDI_rank = 8th , currency = , time_zone = , utc_offset = , utc_offset_DST = , time_zone_DST = , DST_note = , date_format = dd-mm-yyyy , electricity = 230 V–50 Hz , drives_on = right , calling_code = +31, +599 , iso3166code = NL , cctld =
.nl .nl is the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network o ...
,
.bq .bq is designated—but not in use—as the Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is ...
, today = The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally Holland, is a country located in
Northwestern Europe Northwestern Europe, or Northwest Europe, is a loosely defined subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted ...
with territories in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...

Caribbean
. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
. In Europe, the Netherlands consists of , bordering
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
to the east,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
to the south, and the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
. In the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
, it consists of three : the islands of
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles 250px, Map of the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_( ...

Bonaire
,
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ...

Sint Eustatius
and
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
. The country's official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of
Friesland Friesland ( , , ; official fry, Fryslân ), historically known as Frisia, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administra ...

Friesland
, and English and
Papiamento Papiamento () or Papiamentu (; nl, Papiaments) is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean. It is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; als ...
as secondary official languages in the Caribbean Netherlands.
Dutch Low Saxon Dutch Low Saxon ( nl, Nederlands Nedersaksisch; Dutch Low Saxon: ''Nederlaands Leegsaksies'' , Nederlaands Nedersaksisch) are the Low Saxon dialects that are spoken in the northeastern Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally ...
and
Limburgish Limburgish ( li, Lèmburgs ; nl, Limburgs ; german: Limburgisch ; french: Limbourgeois ), also called Limburgan, Limburgian, or Limburgic, is a West Germanic language spoken in the Dutch and Belgian provinces of Limburg and in the neighbouri ...
are recognised regional languages (spoken in the east and southeast respectively), while Dutch Sign Language,
Sinte Romani Sinte Romani (also known as Sintitikes, Manuš) is the variety of Romani language, Romani spoken by the Sinti people in Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, some parts of Northern Italy and other adjacent regions. Sinte Romani is ch ...
, and
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
are recognised non-territorial languages. The four largest cities in the Netherlands are
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
,
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the Netherlands. It is in the Provinces of the Netherlands, province of South Holland, ...

Rotterdam
,
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...

Utrecht
. Amsterdam is the country's most populous city and nominal
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General,
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
and
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
. The
Port of Rotterdam The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port, seaport in Europe, and the world's largest seaport outside of East Asia, located in and near the city of Rotterdam, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004, it was the ...

Port of Rotterdam
is the busiest
seaport A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of ...

seaport
in Europe.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Amsterdam Airport Schiphol , Pars pro toto, known informally as Schiphol Airport ( nl, Luchthaven Schiphol, ), is the main international airport of the Netherlands. It is located 9 kilometres (5.6 miles) southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipalit ...

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
is the busiest airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest in Europe. The country is a founding member of the European Union,
Eurozone The eurozone, officially called the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU) that have adopted the euro (Euro sign, €) as their primary currency and sole legal tender. Th ...

Eurozone
, G10,
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
,
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
, and
WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. Governments use the organization to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international ...
, as well as a part of the
Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for internationa ...

Schengen Area
and the trilateral
Benelux The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
Union. It hosts several
intergovernmental organisations An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other intergovernmental organizations. IGOs are established by a treaty that ...
and
international court International courts are formed by treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include i ...
s, many of which are centred in The Hague, which is consequently dubbed 'the world's legal capital'. ''Netherlands'' literally means "lower countries" in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding
above sea level Above may refer to: *Above (artist) Tavar Zawacki formerly known as 'ABOVE' (born 1981) is an American abstract art Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of ind ...
, and nearly 26% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as , are the result of land reclamation that began in the 14th century. Colloquially or informally the Netherlands is occasionally referred to by the
pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ), , is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (ski ...
''Holland''. In the Republican period, which began in 1588, the Netherlands entered a unique era of political, economic, and cultural greatness, ranked among the most powerful and influential in Europe and the world; this period is known as the
Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1588 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 (the Rampjaar, "Disaster Year"), in which Dutch trade, science, and Dutch art, ...
. During this time, its trading companies, the
Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie; VOC), was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—u ...

Dutch East India Company
and the
Dutch West India Company The Dutch West India Company ( nl, Geoctrooieerde Westindische Compagnie, or GWC; ; en, Chartered West India Company) was a chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as ...
, established colonies and trading posts all over the world. With a population of 17.5 million people, all living within a total area of roughly —of which the land area is —the Netherlands is the 16th most densely populated country in the world and the second-most densely populated country in the European Union, with a density of . Nevertheless, it is the world's second-largest
export An export in international trade International trade is the exchange of capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase ...

export
er of food and agricultural products by value, owing to its
fertile soil Soil fertility refers to the ability of soil Soil (often stylized as SOiL) is an American rock band that was formed in Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago ...
, mild climate,
intensive agriculture Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to extensive farming Extensive farming or extensive agriculture (as opposed to intensive farming) is an agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultiv ...
, and inventiveness. The Netherlands has been a
parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
with a unitary structure since 1848. The country has a tradition of
pillarisation Pillarisation (from the nl, verzuiling) is the politico-denominational segregation of a society, or the separation of a society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs. These societies were (and in some areas, still are) "verticall ...
and a long record of
social tolerance Toleration is the allowing, permitting, or acceptance Acceptance in human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence a ...
, having legalised
abortion Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism ...
,
prostitution Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality Human sexualit ...
and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a liberal
drug policyA drug policy is the policy A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a gov ...
. The Netherlands abolished the
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...
in Civil Law in 1870, though it was not completely removed until a new constitution was approved in 1983. The Netherlands allowed
women's suffrage Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the mid-19th century, aside from the work being done by women for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting law ...
in 1919, before becoming the world's first country to legalise
same-sex marriage Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is the marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obli ...
in 2001. Its mixed-market advanced economy had the eleventh-highest
per capita income Per capita income (PCI) or total income measures the average income earned per person in a given area (city, region, country, etc.) in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population. Per capita i ...
globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indices of
press freedom Press commonly refers to: * Pressure, or the act of pressing * Printing press, commonly called "the press" * Print media, commonly called "the press" after the printing press Press may also refer to: People * Press (surname), a family name of Eng ...
,
economic freedom Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debate Policy debate is a form of debate competition in which teams of two advocate for and against ...
,
human developmentHuman development may refer to: * Development of the human body * Developmental psychology * Human development (economics) * Human Development Index, an index used to rank countries by level of human development * Human evolution, the prehistoric p ...
and
quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United N ...

quality of life
, as well as
happiness The term ''happiness'' is used in the context of mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangla ...

happiness
. In 2020, it ranked eighth on the human development index and fifth on the 2021 .


Etymology

The Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and widely varying names in different languages. There is diversity even within languages. In English, the Netherlands is also called
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...

Holland
or (part of)
the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe Eu ...

the Low Countries
, whereas the term ''"
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
"'' is used as the
demonym A demonym (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...
and adjectival form.


Netherlands and the Low Countries

The region called the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
(comprising
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, the Netherlands and
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
) have the same
toponymy Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt: ...
. Place names with ''Neder'', ''Nieder'', ''Nedre'', ''Nether'', ''Lage(r)'' or ''Low(er)'' (in
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...

Germanic languages
) and ''Bas'' or ''Inferior'' (in
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of informal sociolects of Latin Latin (, or , ) ...

Romance languages
) are in use in low-lying places all over Europe. They are sometimes used in a
deicticIn linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include pho ...
relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as ''Super(ior)'', ''Up(per)'', ''Op(per)'', ''Ober'', ''Boven'', ''High'', ''Haut'' or ''Hoch''. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the ''lower'' region has been more or less downstream and near the sea. The geographical location of the upper region, however, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
(nowadays part of Belgium and the Netherlands) and upstream
Germania Superior 250px, Northern part of the province with the Limes Germanicus. Germania Superior ("Upper Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum ...
(nowadays part of Germany). The designation 'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of
Lower Lorraine The Duchy of Lower Lotharingia, also called Northern Lotharingia, Lower Lorraine or Northern Lorraine (and also referred to as ''Lothier'' or ''Lottier''
, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding ''Upper'' region is
Upper Lorraine The Duchy of Lorraine (french: Lorraine ; german: Lothringen ), originally Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine Lorraine , also , , ; Lorrain: ''Louréne''; Lorraine Franconian: ''Lottringe' ...
, in nowadays Northern France. The
Dukes of Burgundy Duke of Burgundy (french: duc de Bourgogne) was a title used by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, from its establishment in 843 to its annexation by France in 1477, and later by Habsburg Netherlands, Habsburg sovereigns of the Low Countries (1 ...
, who ruled from their residence in the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term ''les pays de par deçà'' ("the lands over here") for the Low Countries, as opposed to ''les pays de par delà'' ("the lands over there") for their original homeland:
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...

Burgundy
in present-day east-central France. Under Habsburg rule, ''Les pays de par deçà'' developed in ''pays d'embas'' ("lands down-here"), a deictic expression in relation to other Habsburg possessions like Hungary and Austria. This was translated as ''Neder-landen'' in contemporary Dutch official documents. From a regional point of view, ''Niderlant'' was also the area between the
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...
and the lower
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
in the late Middle Ages. The area known as ''Oberland'' (High country) was in this deictic context considered to begin approximately at the nearby higher located
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
. From the mid-sixteenth century on, the "Low Countries" and the "Netherlands" lost their original deictic meaning. They were probably the most commonly used names, besides
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...

Flanders
, a ''
pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ), , is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (ski ...
'' for the Low Countries, especially in Romance language-speaking Europe. The
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War ( nl, Tachtigjarige Oorlog; es, Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a Dutch Revolt, revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg a ...
(1568–1648) divided the Low Countries into an independent northern
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
(or
Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to replace traditional writing sy ...
''Belgica Foederata'', "Federated Netherlands", the precursor state of the Netherlands) and a Spanish controlled
Southern Netherlands The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied (then annexed) by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of ...
(Latinised ''Belgica Regia'', "Royal Netherlands", the precursor state of Belgium). The Low Countries today is a designation that includes the countries of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, although in most
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of informal sociolects of Latin Latin (, or , ) ...

Romance languages
, the term "Low Countries" is used as the name for the Netherlands specifically. It is used synonymously with the more neutral and geopolitical term
Benelux The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
.


Holland

The Netherlands is also referred to as
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...

Holland
in various languages, including English. However, Holland proper is only a region within the country that consists of
North North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydro ...
and
South Holland South Holland ( nl, Zuid-Holland ) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands with a population of over 3.7 million as of October 2021 and a population density of about , making it the country's most populous province and on ...
, two of the nation's twelve provinces. Formerly they were a single province, and earlier the
County of Holland The County of Holland was a State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily new ...
, a remnant of the dissolved
Frisian Kingdom The Frisian Kingdom ( fy, Fryske Keninkryk), also known as Magna Frisia, is a modern name for the Frisian realm in the period when it was at its largest (650-734). This dominion was ruled by kings and emerged in the mid-7th century and probably end ...

Frisian Kingdom
which also included parts of present-day
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
. Following the decline of the
Duchy of Brabant The Duchy of Brabant was a State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newsp ...
and the
County of Flanders The County of Flanders ( nl, Graafschap Vlaanderen; vls, Groafschap Vloandern; french: Comté de Flandre) was a historic territory in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays- ...
, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
region. The emphasis on Holland during the formation of the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
, the
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War ( nl, Tachtigjarige Oorlog; es, Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a Dutch Revolt, revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg a ...
, and the
Anglo-Dutch Wars The Anglo–Dutch Wars ( nl, Engels–Nederlandse Oorlogen) were a series of conflicts mainly fought between the Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United N ...
in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, made Holland serve as a ''
pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ), , is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (ski ...
'' for the entire country, which is now considered informal or incorrect. Nonetheless, the name "Holland" is still widely used for the
Netherlands national football team The Netherlands national football team ( nl, Het Nederlands Elftal) has represented the Netherlands in international men's Association football, football matches since 1905. The national team is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association ...
, including in the Netherlands, and the Dutch government's international website for tourism is
holland.com
. In 2020, however, the Dutch government announced that it would only communicate and advertise under the name "the Netherlands" in the future.


Dutch

The term Dutch is used as the demonymic and adjectival form of the Netherlands in the English language. The origins of the word go back to Proto-Germanic ''*þiudiskaz'',
Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to replace traditional writing sy ...
into
Theodiscus ' (in Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known ...
, meaning "popular" or "of the people"; akin to Old Dutch ''Dietsch'', Old High German ''duitsch'', and Old English ''þeodisc'', all meaning "(of) the common (Germanic) people". At first, the English language used (the contemporary form of) Dutch to refer to any or all speakers of West Germanic languages (e.g. the Dutch, the Frisians, and the Germans). Gradually its meaning shifted to the West Germanic people they had most contact with, because of their geographical proximity and for the rivalry in trade and overseas territories. The derivative of the Proto-Germanic word ''*þiudiskaz'' in modern Dutch, ''Diets'', can be found in Dutch literature as a poetic name for the Dutch people or language, but is considered very archaic. Although it had a short resurgence after World War II to avoid the reference to Germany. It is still used in the expression "diets maken" – to put it straight to him/her (as in a threat) or, more neutral, to make it clear, understandable, explain, say in the people's language (cf. the Vulgate (Bible not in Greek or Hebrew, but Latin; the folks' language) in meaning vulgar, though not in a pejorative sense).


Terminology in Dutch and other languages

In Dutch, the names for the Netherlands, the Dutch language and a Dutch citizen are ''Nederland'', ''Nederlands'' and ''Nederlander'', respectively. Colloquially the country is also by the Dutch often referred to as
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...

Holland
, although to lesser extent outside the two provinces North and South Holland, where it may even be used as a
pejorative A pejorative or slur is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning ...
term, e.g. Hollènder (dialect) in
Maastricht Maastricht ( , , ; Limburgish language, Limburgish : ; french: Maestricht ; es, Mastrique ) is a city and a Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It is the capital city, capital and largest city of ...

Maastricht
. Since 1815, the plural ''Nederlanden'' it is only used in the official name ''Koninkrijk der Nederlanden'' ("
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
"). In many other languages the plural stuck, for example ''Niederlande'' (
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
), ''Pays-Bas'' () and ''Países Bajos'' (
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
). In
Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants of the archipelago ** Indonesian w ...

Indonesian
(a former colony) the country is called ''Belanda'', a name derived from 'Holland'.


History


Prehistory (before 800 BC)

The prehistory of the area that is now the Netherlands was largely shaped by the sea and the rivers that constantly shifted the low-lying geography. The oldest human (
Neanderthal Neanderthals (, also Neandertals, ''Homo neanderthalensis'' or ''Homo sapiens neanderthalensis'') are an extinct species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, phys ...
) traces were found in higher soils, near
Maastricht Maastricht ( , , ; Limburgish language, Limburgish : ; french: Maestricht ; es, Mastrique ) is a city and a Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It is the capital city, capital and largest city of ...

Maastricht
, from what is believed to be about 250,000 years ago. At the end of the
Ice Age An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents an ...
, the
nomadic A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomadic
late
Upper Palaeolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehis ...
Hamburg culture The Hamburg culture or Hamburgian (15,500-13,100 BP) was a Late Upper Paleolithic culture of reindeer hunters in northwestern Europe during the last part of the Last glacial period#Weichselian glaciation, Scandinavia and northern Europe, Weichsel G ...
(c. 13.000–10.000 BC) hunted
reindeer The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North ...

reindeer
in the area, using spears, but the later
Ahrensburg culture The Ahrensburg culture or Ahrensburgian (c. 12,900 to 11,700 BP) was a late Upper Paleolithic nomadic hunter culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, socie ...
(c. 11.200–9500 BC) used
bow and arrow The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon A ranged weapon is any weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and eff ...

bow and arrow
. From
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
Maglemosian-like tribes (c. 8000 BC) the oldest canoe in the world was found in
Drenthe Drenthe () is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as wel ...

Drenthe
. Indigenous late Mesolithic
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
s from the Swifterbant culture (c. 5600 BC) were related to the southern Scandinavian
Ertebølle culture The Ertebølle culture (ca 5300 BC – 3950 BC) () is the name of a hunter-gatherer and fisher, pottery-making archaeological culture, culture dating to the end of the Mesolithic period. The culture was concentrated in Southern Scandinavia. ...
and were strongly linked to rivers and open water.Louwe Kooijmans, L.P.,
Trijntje van de Betuweroute, Jachtkampen uit de Steentijd te Hardinxveld-Giessendam
, 1998, ''Spiegel Historiael'' 33, pp. 423–428
Between 4800 and 4500 BC, the Swifterbant people started to copy from the neighbouring
Linear Pottery culture 300px, Linear pottery: "The vessels are oblated globes, cut off on the top and slightly flattened on the bottom suggestive of a gourd."— Frank HibbenHibben, page 121. Note the imitation of painted bands by incising the edges of the band. S ...

Linear Pottery culture
the practice of
animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Ex ...
, and between 4300 and 4000 BC the practice of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
. The
Funnelbeaker culture The Funnel(-neck-)beaker culture, in short TRB or TBK (german: Trichter(-rand-)becherkultur, nl, Trechterbekercultuur; da, Tragtbægerkultur; ) was an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), ass ...

Funnelbeaker culture
(c. 4300–2800 BC), which is related to the Swifterbant culture, erected the
dolmens A dolmen () is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb A megalith is a large pre-historic stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, l ...

dolmens
, large stone grave monuments found in Drenthe. There was a quick and smooth transition from the Funnelbeaker farming culture to the pan-European
Corded Ware #REDIRECT Corded Ware culture#REDIRECT Corded Ware culture The Corded Ware culture comprises a broad archaeological horizon of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by co ...
pastoralist culture (c. 2950 BC). In the southwest, the Seine-Oise-Marne culture — which was related to the Vlaardingen culture (c. 2600 BC), an apparently more primitive culture of hunter-gatherers — survived well into the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
period, until it too was succeeded by the Corded Ware culture. Of the subsequent
Bell Beaker culture The Bell Beaker culture (or, in short, Beaker culture) is an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specif ...

Bell Beaker culture
(2700–2100 BC) several regions of origin have been postulated, notably the Iberian peninsula, the Netherlands and Central Europe. They introduced metalwork in copper, gold and later bronze and opened international trade routes not seen before, reflected in the discoveries of copper artifacts, as the metal is not normally found in Dutch soil. Numerous finds of rare bronze objects suggest that
Drenthe Drenthe () is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as wel ...

Drenthe
was even a trading centre in the Bronze Age (2000–800 BC). The Bell Beaker culture developed locally into the Barbed-Wire Beaker culture (2100–1800 BC) and later the
Elp culture 250px, Location of the Elp culture. The Elp culture (c. 1800—800 BCE) is a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the Netherlands having earthenware pottery of low quality known as "Kümmerkeramik" (also "Grobkeramik") as a marker. The initial pha ...
(c. 1800–800 BC), a Middle Bronze Age archaeological culture having
earthenware Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form ...

earthenware
pottery of low quality as a marker. The initial phase of the Elp culture was characterised by
tumuli File:Gamla uppsala.jpg, The Royal mounds of Gamla Uppsala in Sweden from the 5th and 6th centuries originally the site had 2,000 to 3,000 tumuli, but due to quarrying and agriculture only 250 remain. A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound of Soi ...

tumuli
(1800–1200 BC) that were strongly tied to contemporary tumuli in northern Germany and Scandinavia and was apparently related to the
Tumulus culture The Tumulus culture (german: Hügelgräberkultur) dominated Central Europe Central Europe is the central region of Europe. Central Europe includes contiguous territories that are sometimes also considered parts of Western Europe, Southern Euro ...
in central Europe. The subsequent phase was that of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields, following the customs of the
Urnfield culture The Urnfield culture ( 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second princ ...
(1200–800 BC). The southern region became dominated by the related
Hilversum culture The Hilversum culture is a prehistoric material culture found in middle Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urb ...
(1800–800 BC), which apparently inherited cultural ties with Britain of the previous Barbed-Wire Beaker culture.


Celts, Germanic tribes and Romans (800 BC–410 AD)

From 800 BC onwards, the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
Celtic
Hallstatt culture The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a loc ...

Hallstatt culture
became influential, replacing the
Hilversum culture The Hilversum culture is a prehistoric material culture found in middle Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urb ...
. Iron ore brought a measure of prosperity and was available throughout the country, including
bog iron Bog iron is a form of impure iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of t ...

bog iron
. travelled from settlement to settlement with bronze and iron, fabricating tools on demand. The King's grave of Oss (700 BC) was found in a burial mound, the largest of its kind in western Europe and containing an iron sword with an inlay of gold and coral. The deteriorating climate in Scandinavia around 850 BC further deteriorated around 650 BC and might have triggered migration of
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
tribes from the North. By the time this migration was complete, around 250 BC, a few general cultural and linguistic groups had emerged.de Vries, Jan W., Roland Willemyns and Peter Burger, ''Het verhaal van een taal'', Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2003, pp. 12, 21–27 The
North Sea Germanic North Sea Germanic, also known as Ingvaeonic , is a postulated grouping of the northern West Germanic languages that consists of Old Frisian Old Frisian was a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area betwee ...
Ingaevones The Ingaevones were a West Germanic cultural group living along the North Sea The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Great Britain (specifically England and Scotland), Norway, Jutland (in Denmark), Germany, the Netherlands, Bel ...
inhabited the northern part of the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
. They would later develop into the
Frisii The Frisii (Old Frisian Old Frisian was a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine ), Surselva, Graubünden, Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/ ...
and the early
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...

Saxons
. A second grouping, the
Weser-Rhine Germanic Weser-Rhine Germanic is a term introduced by the German linguist Friedrich Maurer (linguist), Friedrich Maurer for the group of prehistoric West Germanic dialects ancestral to Dutch language, Dutch and to the West Central German dialects. It is a ...
(or
Istvaeones The Istaevones (also spelled Istvaeones) were a Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* ...
), extended along the middle Rhine and
Weser The Weser () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without r ...
and inhabited the Low Countries south of the great rivers. This group consisted of tribes that would eventually develop into the
Salian Franks The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
. Also the
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...

Celtic
La Tène culture The La Tène culture (; ) was a Iron Age Europe, European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age (from about 450 BCE to the Roman Empire, Roman conquest in the 1st century BCE), succeeding the early Iron Age Hall ...
(c. 450 BC up to the Roman conquest) had expanded over a wide range, including the southern area of the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
. Some scholars have speculated that even a third ethnic identity and language, neither Germanic nor Celtic, survived in the Netherlands until the Roman period, the Iron Age
Nordwestblock The Nordwestblock ( German, "Northwest Block") is a hypothetical Northwestern European cultural region that several scholars propose as a prehistoric culture in the present-day Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referr ...

Nordwestblock
culture,Lendering, Jona
"Germania Inferior"
, Livius.org. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
that eventually was absorbed by the
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages ar ...

Celts
to the south and the Germanic peoples from the east. The first author to describe the coast of
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...

Holland
and
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...

Flanders
was the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social scientist or humanist whose area of study is geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, feat ...
Pytheas Pytheas of Massalia (; Ancient Greek: Πυθέας ὁ Μασσαλιώτης ''Pythéas ho Massaliōtēs''; Latin: ''Pytheas Massiliensis''; born 350 BC, 320–306 BC) was a Greeks, Greek List of Graeco-Roman geographers, geographer, explore ...
, who noted in c. 325 BC that in these regions, "more people died in the struggle against water than in the struggle against men." During the
Gallic Wars The Gallic Wars were waged between 58 BC and 50 BC by the Roman general Julius Caesar against the peoples of Gaul (present-day France, Belgium, along with parts of Germany). Gauls, Gallic, Germanic peoples, Germanic, and Celtic Br ...
, the area south and west of the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
was conquered by under
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
from 57 BC to 53 BC. Caesar describes two main Celtic tribes living in what is now the southern Netherlands: the
Menapii Image:GallischeHoeve.jpg, 300px, Reconstruction of a Menapian dwelling at Destelbergen. The Menapii were a Belgae, Belgic tribe dwelling near the North Sea, around present-day Cassel, Nord, Cassel, during the La Tène culture, Iron Age and the Roma ...
and the
Eburones The Eburones (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
. The Rhine became fixed as Rome's northern frontier around 12 AD. Notable towns would arise along the
Limes Germanicus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...
:
Nijmegen Nijmegen ( , ;; Spanish language, Spanish and it, Nimega. South Guelderish, Nijmeegs: ''Nimwèège'' ) is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland, on the Waal (river), Waal river close to the Germany–Netherlands border, German border ...

Nijmegen
and
Voorburg Voorburg is a town and former municipality in the west part of the province of South Holland, Netherlands. Together with Leidschendam and Stompwijk, it makes up the municipality Leidschendam-Voorburg. It has a population of about 39,000 people ...
. In the first part of
Gallia Belgica Gallia Belgica ("Belgic Gaul") was a of the located in the north-eastern part of , in what is today primarily northern , , and , along with parts of the and . In 50 BC after the conquest by during his , it became one of the three parts of G ...
, the area south of the Limes became part of the
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
of
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
. The area to the north of the Rhine, inhabited by the Frisii, remained outside Roman rule (but not its presence and control), while the Germanic border tribes of the Batavi and
Cananefates The Cananefates, or Canninefates, Caninefates, or Canenefatae, meaning "leek The leek is a vegetable, a cultivar '' 'Pink Whirls' A cultivar selected for its intriguing and colourful flowers A cultivarCultivar () has two denominations as ...
served in the
Roman cavalry Roman cavalry (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, i ...
. The Batavi rose against the Romans in the
Batavian rebellion The Revolt of the Batavi took place in the Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman ...
of 69 AD but were eventually defeated. The Batavi later merged with other tribes into the confederation of the Salian Franks, whose identity emerged at the first half of the third century.Previté-Orton, Charles, ''The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History'', vol. I, pp. 51–52, 151 Salian Franks appear in Roman texts as both allies and enemies. They were forced by the confederation of the Saxons from the east to move over the Rhine into Roman territory in the fourth century. From their new base in
West Flanders ) , settlement_type = Province of Belgium , image_flag = Flag of West Flanders.svg , flag_size = , image_shield = Wapen van West-Vlaanderen.svg , shield_size = , image_map ...
and the Southwest Netherlands, they were raiding the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais Cotentinais is the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two ...

English Channel
. Roman forces pacified the region, but did not expel the Franks, who continued to be feared at least until the time of
Julian the Apostate Julian ( la, Flavius Claudius Julianus; grc-gre, Ἰουλιανός ; 331 – 26 June 363) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety ...
(358) when Salian Franks were allowed to settle as ''
foederati ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law ...
'' in Texandria. It has been postulated that after deteriorating climate conditions and the Romans' withdrawal, the
Frisii The Frisii (Old Frisian Old Frisian was a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine ), Surselva, Graubünden, Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/ ...
disappeared as ''
laeti Laeti , the plural form of laetus , was a term used in the late Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it inc ...
'' in c. 296, leaving the coastal lands largely unpopulated for the next two centuries. However, recent excavations in
Kennemerland Kennemerland is a coastal region in the northwestern Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It includes the sand dunes north of the North Sea Canal, as well as the dunes of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. History Kennemerland gets its ...

Kennemerland
show clear indication of a permanent habitation.


Early Middle Ages (411–1000)

After
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...

Roman
government in the area collapsed, the Franks expanded their territories in numerous kingdoms. By the 490s,
Clovis I Clovis ( la, Chlodovechus; reconstructed Old Frankish, Frankish: ; – 27 November 511) was the first List of Frankish kings, king of the Franks to unite all of the Franks, Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a ...

Clovis I
had conquered and united all these territories in the southern Netherlands in one
Frankish kingdom Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks ( la, Regnum Francorum), Frankland, or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent ...
, and from there continued his conquests into
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
. During this expansion, Franks migrating to the south eventually adopted the
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is th ...
of the local population. A widening cultural divide grew with the Franks remaining in their original homeland in the north (i.e. the southern Netherlands and Flanders), who kept on speaking
Old Frankish Frankish (language reconstruction, reconstructed endonym: *), also known as Old Franconian or Old Frankish, was the West Germanic language spoken by the Franks between the 4th and 8th century. After the Salian Franks settled in Roman Gaul, its ...
, which by the ninth century had evolved into
Old Low Franconian In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish) spoken in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pa ...
or
Old Dutch In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical ...

Old Dutch
. A Dutch-French language boundary hence came into existence. To the north of the Franks, climatic conditions improved, and during the
Migration Period The Migration Period, also known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective), is a term sometimes used for the period in the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the ...
Saxons The Saxons ( la, Saxones, german: Sachsen, ang, Seaxan, osx, Sahson, nds, Sassen, nl, Saksen) were a group of early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...

Saxons
, the closely related
Angles The Angles ( ang, Ængle, ; la, Angli; german: Angeln) were one of the main Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Since the 19th century, they have traditional ...

Angles
,
Jutes The Jutes (), Iuti, or Iutæ ( da, Jyde, non, Jótar, ang, Ēotas) were one of the Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscan ...
and
Frisii The Frisii (Old Frisian Old Frisian was a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine ), Surselva, Graubünden, Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/ ...
settled the coastal land. Many moved on to
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
and came to be known as
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression ...
, but those who stayed would be referred to as
Frisians The Frisians are a Germanic people, Germanic ethnic group indigenous to the German Bight, coastal regions of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. They inhabit an area known as Frisia and are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland ...

Frisians
and their language as
Frisian Frisian usually refers to: *Frisia, a region on the western coasts of Germany and the Netherlands **Frisians, the medieval and modern ethnic group inhabiting Frisia ***Frisii, the ancient inhabitants of Frisia prior to 600 AD **Frisian languages, a ...
, named after the land that was once inhabited by Frisii. Frisian was spoken along the entire southern North Sea coast, and it is still the language most closely related to English among the living languages of continental Europe. By the seventh century a
Frisian Kingdom The Frisian Kingdom ( fy, Fryske Keninkryk), also known as Magna Frisia, is a modern name for the Frisian realm in the period when it was at its largest (650-734). This dominion was ruled by kings and emerged in the mid-7th century and probably end ...

Frisian Kingdom
(650–734) under King Aldegisel and King emerged with Traiectum (
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
) as its centre of power, while
Dorestad Dorestad (''Dorestat, Duristat'') was an , located in the southeast of the in the , close to the modern-day town of . It flourished during the 8th to early 9th centuries, as an important port on the northeastern shipping routes due to its pr ...
was a flourishing trading place. Between 600 and around 719 the cities were often fought over between the Frisians and the Franks. In 734, at the Battle of the Boarn, the Frisians were defeated after a series of wars. With the approval of the Franks, the
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression ...
missionary
Willibrord Willibrord (; 658 – 7 November AD 739) was a Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is now Northern England and Lothian, south-east Scotland. ...

Willibrord
converted the Frisian people to
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
. He established the Archdiocese of Utrecht and became bishop of the Frisians. However, his successor
Boniface Boniface ( la, Bonifatius; 675 – 5 June 754), born Winfrid (also spelled Winifred, Wynfrith, Winfrith or Wynfryth) in the Devon Devon (, also known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county of England, reaching from the Bristol C ...

Boniface
was murdered by the Frisians in
Dokkum Dokkum is a Netherlands, Dutch Fortification, fortified town in the municipality of Noardeast-Fryslân in the province of Friesland. It has 12,669 inhabitants (February 8, 2020). The fortifications of Dokkum are well preserved and are known as th ...
, in 754. The Frankish
Carolingian empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
modelled itself on the Roman Empire and controlled much of Western Europe. However, in 843, it was divided into three parts— East, Middle, and
West Francia In medieval history In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe ...
. Most of present-day Netherlands became part of
Middle Francia Middle Francia or the first state of Lotharingia ( la, Francia media, links=no) was a short-lived Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (f ...
, which was a weak kingdom and subject of numerous partitions and annexation attempts by its stronger neighbours. It comprised territories from
Frisia Frisia (, ; ) is a cross-border cultural region 's map of native American cultural areas within the territory of the United States (1948) as defined by Melville J. Herskovits influence , homelands of the Celtic languages The Celtic ...

Frisia
in the north to the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946, when civil discontent l ...
in the south. Around 850,
Lothair I Lothair I or Lothar I (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" ...
of Middle Francia acknowledged the Viking
Rorik of Dorestad Rorik (''Roricus, Rorichus''; Old Norse ''HrœrekR'', c. 810 – c. 880) was a Danish Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr were the seafaring Norse people from southern Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden) * * ...
as ruler of most of Frisia. When the kingdom of Middle Francia was partitioned in 855, the lands north of the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
passed to
Lothair II Lothair II (835 – ) was the king of Lotharingia Lotharingia (Latin: ''regnum Lotharii, regnum Lothariense, Lotharingia'', French: ''Lotharingie'', German: ''Reich des Lothar'', ''Lotharingien'', ''Mittelreich'') was a short-lived medieval s ...

Lothair II
and subsequently were named
Lotharingia Lotharingia (Latin: ''regnum Lotharii, regnum Lothariense, Lotharingia'', French: ''Lotharingie'', German: ''Reich des Lothar'', ''Lotharingien'', ''Mittelreich'') was a short-lived medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire The Caro ...
. After he died in 869, Lotharingia was partitioned, into Upper and
Lower Lotharingia The Duchy of Lower Lotharingia, also called Northern Lotharingia, Lower Lorraine or Northern Lorraine (and also referred to as '' Lothier'' or '' Lottier''
, the latter part comprising the Low Countries that technically became part of
East Francia East Francia (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Ro ...
in 870, although it was effectively under the control of Vikings, who raided the largely defenceless
Frisian Frisian usually refers to: *Frisia, a region on the western coasts of Germany and the Netherlands **Frisians, the medieval and modern ethnic group inhabiting Frisia ***Frisii, the ancient inhabitants of Frisia prior to 600 AD **Frisian languages, a ...

Frisian
and
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
towns lying on the Frisian coast and along the rivers. Around 879, another Viking expedition led by
Godfrid, Duke of Frisia Godfrid, Godafrid, Gudfrid, or Gottfrid ( non, Guðfrið; murdered June 885) was a Danes (Germanic tribe), Danish Vikings, Viking leader of the late ninth century. He had probably been with the Great Heathen Army, descended on the continent, and be ...
, raided the Frisian lands. The Viking raids made the sway of French and German lords in the area weak. Resistance to the Vikings, if any, came from local nobles, who gained in stature as a result, and that laid the basis for the disintegration of Lower Lotharingia into semi-independent states. One of these local nobles was
Gerolf of Holland Gerolf or Gerulf (c. 850 – 895/896) was the second count of this name who is attested in the area of Friesland Friesland ( , also , ; official fry, Fryslân, ), historically known as Frisia, is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the ...
, who assumed lordship in Frisia after he helped to assassinate Godfrid, and Viking rule came to an end.


High Middle Ages (1000–1384)

The
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
(the successor state of East Francia and then Lotharingia) ruled much of the Low Countries in the 10th and 11th century but was not able to maintain political unity. Powerful local nobles turned their cities, counties and duchies into private kingdoms that felt little sense of obligation to the emperor.
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...
, Hainaut,
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...
,
Gelre Guelders or Gueldres ( nl, Gelre, german: Geldern) is a historical county, later duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the Low Countries. Geography The duchy was named after the town of Geldern (''Gelder'') in present-day Germany. Though ...
,
BrabantBrabant is a traditional geographical region (or regions) in the Low Countries of Europe. It may refer to: Place names in Europe Belgium * Province of Brabant, which in 1995 was split up into two provinces and an autonomous region: ** Flemish Braba ...
, and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
were in a state of almost continual war or in paradoxically formed personal unions. The language and culture of most of the people who lived in the County of Holland were originally
Frisia Frisia (, ; ) is a cross-border cultural region 's map of native American cultural areas within the territory of the United States (1948) as defined by Melville J. Herskovits influence , homelands of the Celtic languages The Celtic ...

Frisia
n. As Frankish settlement progressed from Flanders and Brabant, the area quickly became
Old Low Franconian In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish) spoken in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pa ...
(or
Old Dutch In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical ...

Old Dutch
). The rest of
Frisia Frisia (, ; ) is a cross-border cultural region 's map of native American cultural areas within the territory of the United States (1948) as defined by Melville J. Herskovits influence , homelands of the Celtic languages The Celtic ...

Frisia
in the north (now
Friesland Friesland ( , , ; official fry, Fryslân ), historically known as Frisia, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administra ...

Friesland
and
Groningen Groningen ( , , , ; gos, Grunn or ) is the capital city and main municipality of Groningen province Groningen (; gos, Grunn; fry, Grinslân) is the northeasternmost Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands. It borders on ...
) continued to maintain its independence and had its own institutions (collectively called the "
Frisian freedom Friese Freedom or Freedom of the Frisians (West Frisian language, West Frisian ''Fryske Frijheid''; ; ) was the absence of feudalism and serfdom in Frisia, the area that was originally inhabited by the Frisians. Historical Frisia included the moder ...
"), which resented the imposition of the feudal system. Around 1000 AD, due to several agricultural developments, the economy started to develop at a fast pace, and the higher productivity allowed workers to farm more land or to become tradesmen. Towns grew around
monasteries A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical langua ...
and
castles in East Sussex East Sussex is a county in South East England on the English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or (Jèrriais), (Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, ...
, and a mercantile middle class began to develop in these urban areas, especially in Flanders and later also Brabant. Wealthy cities started to buy certain privileges for themselves from the
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...

sovereign
. In practice, this meant that
Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the Provinces of Belgium, province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country, and the seventh-largest city of the country b ...

Bruges
and
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
became quasi-independent republics in their own right and would later develop into some of the most important cities and ports in Europe. Around 1100 AD, farmers from
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...
and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
began draining and cultivating uninhabited swampy land in the western Netherlands, making the emergence of the County of Holland as the centre of power possible. The title of
Count of Holland The counts of Holland ruled over the County of Holland in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flander ...
was fought over in the
Hook and Cod Wars The Hook and Cod wars ( nl, Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten) comprise a series of wars and battles in the County of Holland between 1350 and 1490. Most of these wars were fought over the title of count of Holland The counts of Holland ruled ov ...
( nl, Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten) between 1350 and 1490. The Cod faction consisted of the more progressive cities, while the Hook faction consisted of the conservative noblemen. These noblemen invited the Duke
Philip the Good Philip III (french: Philippe le Bon; nl, Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy Duke of Burgundy (french: duc de Bourgogne) was a title used by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy The Duchy of Burgundy (; la, ...

Philip the Good
of Burgundy — who was also Count of Flanders — to conquer Holland.


Burgundian, Habsburg and Spanish Habsburg Netherlands (1384–1581)

Most of the
Imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, California * Imperial, Missouri * Imperial, Nebraska * Imperial, Pennsylvania * Imperial, Texas * ...
and French fiefs in what is now the Netherlands and Belgium were united in a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
by Philip the Good, Duke of
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...

Burgundy
, in 1433. The
House of Valois-Burgundy The House of Valois-Burgundy (french: Maison de Valois-Bourgogne, nl, Huis van Valois-Bourgondië), or the Younger House of Burgundy, was a noble Kingdom of France, French family deriving from the royal House of Valois. It is distinct from the Cape ...
and their
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...
heirs would rule the Low Countries in the period from 1384 to 1581. Before the Burgundian union, the Dutch identified themselves by the town they lived in or their local duchy or county. The Burgundian period is when the road to nationhood began. The new rulers defended Dutch trading interests, which then developed rapidly. The fleets of the
County of Holland The County of Holland was a State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily new ...
defeated the fleets of the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
several times.
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
grew and in the 15th century became the primary trading port in Europe for grain from the
Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countries/states refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the ...
. Amsterdam distributed grain to the major cities of Belgium, Northern France and England. This trade was vital because Holland could no longer produce enough grain to feed itself. Land drainage had caused the
peat Peat (), also known as turf (), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, ...
of the former
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
s to reduce to a level that was too low for drainage to be maintained. Under Habsburg
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...

Charles V
, ruler of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
and King of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...
, all fiefs in the current Netherlands region were united into the
Seventeen Provinces The Seventeen Provinces were the s of the in the 16th century. They roughly covered the , i.e., what is now the , , , and most of the of ( and ) and (). Also within this area were semi-independent fiefdoms, mainly ecclesiastical ones, such ...
, which also included most of present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and some adjacent land in what is now France and Germany. In 1568, under Phillip II, the
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War ( nl, Tachtigjarige Oorlog; es, Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a Dutch Revolt, revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg a ...
between the Provinces and their
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
ruler began. The level of ferocity exhibited by both sides can be gleaned from a Dutch chronicler's report:
On more than one occasion men were seen hanging their own brothers, who had been taken prisoners in the enemy's ranks... A Spaniard had ceased to be human in their eyes. On one occasion, a surgeon at Veer cut the heart from a Spanish prisoner, nailed it on a vessel's prow, and invited the townsmen to come and fasten their teeth in it, which many did with savage satisfaction.
The
Duke of Alba Duke of Alba de Tormes ( es, Duque de Alba de Tormes), commonly known as Duke of Alba, is a title of Spanish nobility that is accompanied by the dignity of Grandee of Spain. In 1472, the title of ''Count of Alba de Tormes'', inherited by Garc ...
ruthlessly attempted to suppress the Protestant movement in the Netherlands. Netherlanders were "burned, strangled, beheaded, or buried alive" by his "" and his Spanish soldiers. Severed heads and decapitated corpses were displayed along streets and roads to terrorise the population into submission. Alba boasted of having executed 18,600, but this figure does not include those who perished by war and famine. The first great siege was Alba's effort to capture
Haarlem Haarlem (; predecessor of ''Harlem'' in ) is a and in the . It is the of the of . Haarlem is situated at the northern edge of the , one of the s in Europe; it is also part of the . Haarlem had a population of in . Haarlem was granted cit ...

Haarlem
and thereby cut Holland in half. It dragged on from December 1572 to the next summer, when Haarlemers finally surrendered on 13 July upon the promise that the city would be spared from being sacked. It was a stipulation Don Fadrique was unable to honour, when his soldiers mutinied, angered over pay owed and the miserable conditions they endured during the long, cold months of the campaign. On 4 November 1576, Spanish
tercio A ''tercio'' (; Spanish for " third") was a military unit of the Spanish Army in the early modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past ...

tercio
s seized
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
and subjected it to the worst pillage in the Netherlands' history. The citizens resisted, but were overcome; seven thousand of them were mowed down; a thousand buildings were torched; men, women, and children were slaughtered in a delirium of blood by soldiers crying, "Santiago! España! A sangre, a carne, a fuego, a sacco!" (Saint James! Spain! To blood, to the flesh, to fire, to sack!) Following the
sack of Antwerp The Sack of Antwerp, often known as the Spanish Fury at Antwerp, was an episode of the Eighty Years' War. It is the greatest massacre in Belgian history. On 4 November 1576, mutinying Spain, Spanish tercios of the Army of Flanders began the sack ...

sack of Antwerp
, delegates from Catholic Brabant, Protestant Holland and Zeeland agreed, at Ghent, to join Utrecht and William the Silent in driving out all Spanish troops and forming a new government for the Netherlands. Don Juan of Austria, the new Spanish governor, was forced to concede initially, but within months returned to active hostilities. As the fighting restarted, the Dutch began to look for help from the Queen of England, but she initially stood by her commitments to the Spanish in the Treaty of Bristol of 1574. The result was that when the next large-scale battle did occur at
Gembloux Gembloux (; wa, Djiblou; nl, Gembloers) is a Walloon city and surrounding municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction ...

Gembloux
in 1578, the Spanish forces easily won the day, killing at least 10,000 rebels, with the Spanish suffering few losses. In light of the defeat at Gembloux, the southern states of the Seventeen Provinces (today in northern France and Belgium) distanced themselves from the rebels in the north with the 1579
Union of Arras The Union of Arras (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle ...
, which expressed their loyalty to
Philip II of Spain Philip II) in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption ...

Philip II of Spain
. Opposing them, the northern half of the Seventeen Provinces forged the
Union of Utrecht __NOTOC__ The Union of Utrecht ( nl, Unie van Utrecht) was a treaty signed on 23 January 1579 in Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, ...

Union of Utrecht
(also of 1579) in which they committed to support each other in their defence against the Spanish army. The Union of Utrecht is seen as the foundation of the modern Netherlands. Spanish troops sacked
Maastricht Maastricht ( , , ; Limburgish language, Limburgish : ; french: Maestricht ; es, Mastrique ) is a city and a Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It is the capital city, capital and largest city of ...

Maastricht
in 1579, killing over 10,000 civilians and thereby ensuring the rebellion continued. In 1581, the northern provinces adopted the
Act of Abjuration The Act of Abjuration ( nl, Plakkaat van Verlatinghe, es, Acta de Abjuración, literally 'placard of abjuration Abjuration is the solemn repudiation, abandonment, or renunciation by or upon oath, often the renunciation of citizenship or some ot ...
, the declaration of independence in which the provinces officially deposed Philip II as reigning monarch in the northern provinces. Against the rebels Philip could draw on the resources of Spain, Spanish America, Spanish Italy and the Spanish Netherlands. The
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
Queen
Elizabeth I of England Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen regnant of England, Queen of England and Queen regnant of Ireland, Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Sometimes referred to as the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth was the last ...

Elizabeth I of England
sympathised with the Dutch struggle against the Spanish and sent an army of 7,600 soldiers to aid the Dutch in their war with the Catholic Spanish. English forces under the Earl of Leicester and then Lord Willoughby faced the Spanish in the Netherlands under the
Duke of Parma The Duke of Parma () was the ruler of the Duchy of Parma, a small List of historic states of Italy, historical state of north Italy, which existed between 1545 and 1802, and again from 1814 to 1859. The Duke of Parma was also Duke of Piacenza, ...
in a series of largely indecisive actions that tied down significant numbers of Spanish troops and bought time for the Dutch to reorganise their defences. The war continued until 1648, when Spain under King finally recognised the independence of the seven north-western provinces in the
Peace of Münster The Peace of Münster was a treaty between the Lords States General of the United Netherlands and Spanish Empire#Conflicts in North-West Europe, the Spanish Crown, the terms of which were agreed on 30 January 1648. The treaty, part of the Peace o ...
. Parts of the southern provinces became ''de facto'' colonies of the new republican-mercantile empire.


Dutch Republic (1581–1795)

After declaring their independence, the provinces of
Holland Holland is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (en ...
,
Zeeland , nl, Ik worstel en kom boven("I struggle and emerge") , anthem = "Zeeuws volkslied"("Zeelandic Anthem") , image_map = Zeeland in the Netherlands.svg , map_alt = , ma ...
,
Groningen Groningen ( , , , ; gos, Grunn or ) is the capital city and main municipality of Groningen province Groningen (; gos, Grunn; fry, Grinslân) is the northeasternmost Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands. It borders on ...
,
Friesland Friesland ( , , ; official fry, Fryslân ), historically known as Frisia, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administra ...
,
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
,
Overijssel Overijssel (, ; nds, Oaveriessel ; german: Oberyssel) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands located in the eastern part of the country. The province's name translates to "across the IJssel", from the perspective of the ...
, and
Gelderland Gelderland (), also known as Guelders () in English, is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands, occupying the centre-east of the country. With a total area of of which is water, it is the largest province of the Netherlands ...
formed a
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
. All these duchies, lordships and counties were autonomous and had their own government, the
States-Provincial The provincial council (, PS), also known as the States Provincial, is the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each of the provinces of the Netherlands There are twelve provinces of the Netherlands (), representing the administr ...
. The States General, the confederal government, were seated in
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
and consisted of representatives from each of the seven provinces. The sparsely populated region of
Drenthe Drenthe () is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as wel ...
was part of the republic too, although it was not considered one of the provinces. Moreover, the Republic had come to occupy during the
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War ( nl, Tachtigjarige Oorlog; es, Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a Dutch Revolt, revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg a ...
a number of so-called
Generality Lands The Generality Lands, Lands of the Generality or Common Lands ( nl, Generaliteitslanden) were about one fifth of the territories of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, that were directly governed by the States-General. Unlike the seven pro ...
in
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...
,
BrabantBrabant is a traditional geographical region (or regions) in the Low Countries of Europe. It may refer to: Place names in Europe Belgium * Province of Brabant, which in 1995 was split up into two provinces and an autonomous region: ** Flemish Braba ...
and Limburg. Their population was mainly Roman Catholic, and these areas did not have a governmental structure of their own, and were used as a buffer zone between the Republic and the Spanish-controlled
Southern Netherlands The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied (then annexed) by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of ...
. In the
Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1588 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 (the Rampjaar, "Disaster Year"), in which Dutch trade, science, and Dutch art, ...
, spanning much of the 17th century, the
Dutch Empire The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies—mainly the Dutch West India Company The Dutch West India Company ( n ...
grew to become one of the major seafaring and economic powers, alongside Portugal, Spain, France and England. Science, military, and art (especially
painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to a solid film. It is most commonly used to protect, ...
) were among the most acclaimed in the world. By 1650, the Dutch owned 16,000 merchant ships. The
Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie; VOC), was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—u ...

Dutch East India Company
and the
Dutch West India Company The Dutch West India Company ( nl, Geoctrooieerde Westindische Compagnie, or GWC; ; en, Chartered West India Company) was a chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as ...
established
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...
and
trading post A trading post, trading station, or trading house, also known as a factory, was an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded. Typically the location of the trading post would allow people from one geographic area to tr ...
s all over the world, including ruling the northern parts of
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
between 1624–1662 and 1664–1667. The Dutch settlement in North America began with the founding of
New Amsterdam New Amsterdam ( nl, Nieuw Amsterdam, or ) was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City and the urban core of the New York metropolitan area, is the most dense ...

New Amsterdam
on the southern part of
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
in 1614. In South Africa, the Dutch settled the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British Empire, British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that b ...
in 1652. Dutch colonies in South America were established along the many rivers in the fertile
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America and the capital city is Georgetown Guyana, Georgetown. Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the ...

Guyana
plains, among them Colony of Surinam (now
Suriname Suriname () or Surinam, officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a rela ...

Suriname
). In Asia, the Dutch established the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administer ...
(now
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
), and the only western trading post in Japan,
Dejima was a Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Por ...

Dejima
. During the period of
Proto-industrialization Proto-industrialization is the regional development, alongside commercial agriculture Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to extensive farming) and industrial agriculture, is a type of agriculture Agricult ...
, the empire received 50% of textiles and 80% of silks import from the India's
Mughal Empire The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, ge ...
, chiefly from its most developed region known as
Bengal Subah The Bengal Subah (also known as Mughal Bengal) was the largest subdivision Subdivision may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Subdivision (metre), in music * Subdivision (film), ''Subdivision'' (film), 2009 * "Subdivision", an episode of Prison ...
.
Om Prakash Om Prakash Bakshi (19 December 1919 – 21 February 1998) was an Indian character actor A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters.28 April 2013, The New York Acting SchoolTen Best Charac ...
,
Empire, Mughal
, ''History of World Trade Since 1450'', edited by John J. McCusker, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2006, pp. 237–240, ''World History in Context''. Retrieved 3 August 2017
Many economic historians regard the Netherlands as the first thoroughly
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for Profit (economics), profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, a price s ...

capitalist
country in the world. In early modern Europe, it had the wealthiest trading city (
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
) and the first full-time
stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an Unincorporated area, unincorporated community in Green Township, Morgan County, Indiana, Green To ...
. The inventiveness of the traders led to insurance and retirement funds as well as phenomena such as the
boom-bust cycle The business cycle, also known as the economic cycle or trade cycle, are the fluctuations of gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a s ...
, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the
tulip mania Tulip mania ( nl, tulpenmanie) was a period during the Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1588 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 ...
of 1636–1637, and the world's first
bear raid A bear raid is a type of stock market strategy, where a Trader (finance), trader (or group of traders) attempts to force down the price of a stock to cover a short selling, short position. The name is derived from the common use of Market trend, '' ...
er,
Isaac le Maire Drawing of the tombstone of Isaac le Maire and his wife Isaac Le Maire (c. 1558 in Tournai – September 20, 1624 in Egmond aan den Hoef) was a Walloon-born entrepreneur, investor, and a sizeable shareholder of the Dutch East India Com ...
, who forced prices down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount. In 1672 – known in Dutch history as the
Rampjaar In Dutch history, the year 1672 is referred to as the nl, Rampjaar, label=none (Disaster Year). In May 1672, following the outbreak of the Franco-Dutch War The 1672 to 1678 Franco-Dutch War, also known as the Dutch War, (french: Guerre de Ho ...
(Disaster Year) – the Dutch Republic was at war with France, England and three German Bishoprics simultaneously. At sea, it could successfully prevent the English and French navy from entering the western shores. On land, however, it was almost taken over internally by the advancing French and German armies coming from the east. It managed to turn the tide by inundating parts of Holland but could never recover to its former glory again and went into a state of a general decline in the 18th century, with economic competition from England and long-standing rivalries between the two main factions in Dutch society, the republican ''Staatsgezinden'' and the supporters of the
stadtholder In the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in No ...
the ''Prinsgezinden'' as main
political faction A political faction is a group of individuals that share a common political purpose but differs in some respect to the rest of the entity. A faction within a group or political party may include fragmented sub-factions, "parties within a party," ...
s.


Batavian Republic and Kingdom (1795–1890)

With the armed support of
revolutionary France The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

revolutionary France
, Dutch republicans proclaimed the
Batavian Republic The Batavian Republic ( nl, Bataafse Republiek; french: République Batave) was the successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Successor'' (film), a 1 ...
, modelled after the
French Republic France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of severa ...
and rendering the Netherlands a
unitary state A unitary state is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...
on 19 January 1795. The
stadtholder In the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in No ...
William V of Orange William V (Willem Batavus; 8 March 1748 – 9 April 1806) was a prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contex ...
had fled to England. But from 1806 to 1810, the
Kingdom of Holland The Kingdom of Holland ( nl, Holland (contemporary), ''Koninkrijk Holland'' (modern), french: Royaume de Hollande) was set up by Napoléon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the N ...
was set up by
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
as a puppet kingdom governed by his brother
Louis Bonaparte Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (born Luigi Buonaparte; 2 September 1778 – 25 July 1846) was a younger brother of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French Emperor of the French ( French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch A monarch ...

Louis Bonaparte
to control the Netherlands more effectively. However, King Louis Bonaparte tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's, and he was forced to abdicate on 1 July 1810. The Emperor sent in an army and the Netherlands became part of the French Empire until the autumn of 1813 when Napoleon was defeated in the
Battle of Leipzig The Battle of Leipzig, contemporaneously called the Battle of Leipsic (french: Bataille de Leipsick; german: Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig (); sv, Slaget vid Leipzig) and later the Battle of the Nations (french: Bataille des Nations; russian: ...
. , son of the last stadtholder, returned to the Netherlands in 1813 and proclaimed himself Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands. Two years later, the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
added the southern Netherlands to the north to create a strong country on the northern border of France. William Frederick raised this to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself as in 1815. In addition, William became hereditary
Grand Duke of Luxembourg The grand duke of Luxembourg ( lb, Groussherzog vu Lëtzebuerg, french: Grand-duc de Luxembourg, german: Großherzog von Luxemburg) is the monarchical head of state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since 15 March 1815, when it was ...
in exchange for his German possessions. However, the Southern Netherlands had been culturally separate from the north since 1581, and rebelled. The south gained independence in 1830 as Belgium (recognised by the Northern Netherlands in 1839 as the Kingdom of the Netherlands was created by decree), while the
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed in 1890, when died with no surviving male heirs. Ascendancy laws prevented his daughter from becoming the next Grand Duchess. The Belgian Revolution at home and the
Java War The Java War ( jv, ꦥꦼꦫꦁꦗꦮ) or Diponegoro War () was fought in central Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southea ...
in the Dutch East Indies brought the Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy. However, the
Cultivation System The Cultivation System ( nl, cultuurstelsel; Indonesian: ''tanam paksa'') was a Dutch government policy in the mid-19th century for its Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a ...
was introduced in 1830; in the Dutch East Indies, 20% of village land had to be devoted to government crops for export. The policy brought the Dutch enormous wealth and made the colony self-sufficient. The Netherlands abolished slavery in its colonies in 1863. Enslaved people in
Suriname Suriname () or Surinam, officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a rela ...

Suriname
would be fully free only in 1873, since the law stipulated that there was to be a mandatory 10-year transition.


World wars and beyond (1890–present)

The Netherlands was able to remain neutral during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, in part because the import of goods through the Netherlands proved essential to German survival until the blockade by the British
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
in 1916.Abbenhuis, Maartje M. (2006
The Art of Staying Neutral
Amsterdam University Press, .
That changed in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, when
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. The
Rotterdam Blitz The German bombing of Rotterdam in World War II, also known as the Rotterdam Blitz, was the aerial bombardment of Rotterdam Rotterdam (, , ) is the second largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin ...
forced the main element of the Dutch army to surrender four days later. During the occupation, over 100,000
Dutch Jews The history of the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first ac ...
were rounded up and transported to Nazi
extermination camp Nazi Germany used six extermination camps (german: Vernichtungslager), also called death camps (''Todeslager''), or killing centers (''Tötungszentren''), in Central Europe during World War II to systematically murder over 2.7 million peoplem ...
s; only a few of them survived. Dutch workers were conscripted for forced labour in Germany, civilians who resisted were killed in reprisal for attacks on German soldiers, and the countryside was plundered for food. Although there were thousands of Dutch who risked their lives by hiding Jews from the Germans, over 20,000 Dutch fascists joined the Waffen SS, fighting on the
Eastern FrontEastern Front may refer to: * Eastern Front (World War I) * Eastern Front (World War II) * Eastern Front (Turkey), of the Turkish War of Independence ** Turkish–Armenian War, often referred to by itself as the Eastern Front * Eastern Front (Sudan) ...
. Political
collaborators Collaborator or collaborators may refer to: * Collaboration, working with others for a common goal * Collaborationism, working with an enemy occupier against one's own country **Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II Books * Colla ...
were members of the
fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particular ...

fascist
NSB, the only legal political party in the occupied Netherlands. On 8 December 1941, the
Dutch government-in-exile The Dutch government-in-exile ( nl, Nederlandse regering in ballingschap), also known as the London Cabinet ( nl, Londens kabinet), was the government in exile of the Netherlands, supervised by Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina, that ...
in London declared war on Japan, but could not prevent the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). In 1944–45, the
First Canadian Army The First Canadian Army (french: 1reArmée canadienne) was a field army The unit flag of the Sixth United States Army. The distinguishing flag of a United States army is bicolored, white over red, with gold fringe. In the center is a render ...
, which included Canadian,
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
and
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
troops, was responsible for liberating much of the Netherlands. Soon after
VE Day Victory in Europe Day is the day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II : Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill meeting at the Cairo Conference (1943), Cairo Conference in 1943 ...
, the Dutch fought a colonial war against the new Republic of Indonesia. In 1954, the
Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands (in Dutch: ''Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden''; in Papiamentu Papiamento () or Papiamentu (; nl, Papiaments) is a Portuguese-based creole language Creole may refer to: Anthropolog ...
reformed the political structure of the Netherlands, which was a result of international pressure to carry out
decolonisation Decolonization (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States ( ...
. The Dutch colonies of Surinam and
Curaçao and Dependencies The Colony of Curaçao and Dependencies ( nl, Kolonie Curaçao en onderhorigheden; pap, Kolonia di Kòrsou i dependensianan) was a Netherlands, Dutch colony from 1815 until 1828 and from 1845 until 1936. Between 1936 and 1948, the area was official ...
and the European country all became countries within the Kingdom, on a basis of equality. Indonesia had declared its independence in August 1945 (recognised in 1949), and thus was never part of the reformed Kingdom.
Suriname Suriname () or Surinam, officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a rela ...

Suriname
followed in 1975. After the war, the Netherlands left behind an era of neutrality and gained closer ties with neighbouring states. The Netherlands was one of the founding members of the
Benelux The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
, the
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
,
Euratom The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) is an international organization, international organisation established by the Euratom Treaty on 25 March 1957 with the original purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power in ...

Euratom
and the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Lega ...

European Coal and Steel Community
, which would evolve into the
EEC The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

EEC
( Common Market) and later the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. Government-encouraged emigration efforts to reduce
population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population density
prompted some 500,000
Dutch people The Dutch (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * D ...

Dutch people
to leave the country after the war. The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great social and cultural change, such as rapid de-
pillarisation Pillarisation (from the nl, verzuiling) is the politico-denominational segregation of a society, or the separation of a society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs. These societies were (and in some areas, still are) "verticall ...
characterised by the decay of the old divisions along political and religious lines. Youths, and students in particular, rejected traditional mores and pushed for change in matters such as
women's rights Women's rights are the and s claimed for and s worldwide. They formed the basis for the women's rights movement in the 19th century and the s during the 20th and 21st centuries. In some countries, these rights are institutionalized or supp ...
,
sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning " ...
,
disarmament Disarmament is the act of reducing, limiting, or abolishing weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and effic ...
and
environmental issues Environmental issues are harmful Human impact on the environment, effects of human activity on the biophysical environment. Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the natural environment on the individual, organizational or governme ...
. In 2002 the
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area ...

euro
was introduced as
fiat money Fiat money (from la, fiat, ) is a type of money that is not backed by any commodity such as gold or silver, and typically declared by a decree from the government to be legal tender. Throughout history, fiat money was sometimes issued by local ...
, and in 2010 the
Netherlands Antilles nl, In vrijheid verenigd"Unified by freedom" , national_anthem = , common_languages = Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belg ...
was dissolved. Referendums were held on each island to determine their future status. As a result, the islands of
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles 250px, Map of the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_( ...

Bonaire
,
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ...

Sint Eustatius
and
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
(the BES islands) were to obtain closer ties with the Netherlands. This led to the incorporation of these three islands into the country of the Netherlands as '' special municipalities'' upon the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. The special municipalities are collectively known as the
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption ...

Caribbean Netherlands
.


Geography

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the European Netherlands has a total area of , including water bodies; and a land area of . The
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption ...

Caribbean Netherlands
has a total area of It lies between
latitudes In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the w ...
50° and 54° N, and longitudes and 8° E. The Netherlands is geographically very low relative to sea level and is considered a flat country, with about 26% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre
above sea level Above may refer to: *Above (artist) Tavar Zawacki formerly known as 'ABOVE' (born 1981) is an American abstract art Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of ind ...
. The European part of the country is for the most part flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast, up to a height of no more than 321 metres, and some low hill ranges in the central parts. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made, caused by
peat Peat (), also known as turf (), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, ...
extraction or achieved through
land reclamation Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill (not to be confused with a waste landfill), is the process of creating new Terrestrial ecoregion, land from oceans, list of seas, seas, Stream bed, riverbeds or lake be ...
. Since the late 16th century, large
polder A polder () is a low-lying tract of land that forms an artificial hydrological Hydrology (from Greek: ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning "water" and λόγος, "lógos" meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and ...

polder
areas are preserved through elaborate drainage systems that include
dikes Dyke or dike may refer to: General uses * Dyke (slang) The term ''dyke'' is a slang Slang is language (words, phrases, and usages) of an informal register. It also sometimes refer to the language generally exclusive to the members of ...
, canals and pumping stations. Nearly 17% of the country's land area is reclaimed from the sea and from lakes. Much of the country was originally formed by the
estuaries An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water Brackish water, also sometimes termed brack water, is water occurring in a natural environment having more salinity File:IAPSO Standard Seawater.jpg, upInternational Associatio ...

estuaries
of three large European rivers: the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
(''Rijn''), the
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
(''Maas'') and the
Scheldt The Scheldt ( ; french: Escaut ; wa, Escô; nl, Schelde ) is a river that flows through northern France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Eur ...

Scheldt
(''Schelde''), as well as their
tributaries A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...
. The south-western part of the Netherlands is to this day a
river delta A river delta is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the ...

river delta
of these three rivers, the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. The European Netherlands is divided into north and south parts by the Rhine, the Waal (river), Waal, its main tributary branch, and the Meuse. In the past, these rivers functioned as a natural barrier between fiefdoms and hence historically created a cultural divide, as is evident in some phonetic traits that are recognisable on either side of what the Dutch call their "Great Rivers" (''de Grote Rivieren''). Another significant branch of the Rhine, the IJssel river, discharges into IJsselmeer, Lake IJssel, the former Zuiderzee ('southern sea'). Just like the previous, this river forms a linguistic divide: people to the northeast of this river speak
Dutch Low Saxon Dutch Low Saxon ( nl, Nederlands Nedersaksisch; Dutch Low Saxon: ''Nederlaands Leegsaksies'' , Nederlaands Nedersaksisch) are the Low Saxon dialects that are spoken in the northeastern Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally ...
dialects (except for the province of
Friesland Friesland ( , , ; official fry, Fryslân ), historically known as Frisia, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administra ...

Friesland
, which has its own language).Welschen, Ad: Course ''Dutch Society and Culture'', International School for Humanities and Social Studies ISHSS, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2000–2005.


Geology

The modern Netherlands formed as a result of the interplay of the four main rivers (
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
,
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
, Schelde and IJssel) and the influence of the
North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
. The Netherlands is mostly composed of river delta, deltaic, coastal and Aeolian processes, eolian derived sediments during the Pleistocene glacial and interglacial periods. Almost the entire west Netherlands is composed of the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many si ...

Rhine
-
Meuse The Meuse ( , , , ; wa, Moûze ) or Maas ( , ; li, Maos or ) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea The North Sea is a sea The sea, connected ...

Meuse
river estuary, but civilisation, human intervention greatly modified the natural processes at work. Most of the western Netherlands is below sea level due to the human process of turning standing bodies of water into usable land, a
polder A polder () is a low-lying tract of land that forms an artificial hydrological Hydrology (from Greek: ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning "water" and λόγος, "lógos" meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and ...

polder
. In the east of the Netherlands, remains are found of the last ice age, which ended approximately ten thousand years ago. As the continental ice sheet moved in from the north, it pushed moraine forward. The ice sheet halted as it covered the eastern half of the Netherlands. After the ice age ended, the moraine remained in the form of a long hill-line. The cities of Arnhem and
Nijmegen Nijmegen ( , ;; Spanish language, Spanish and it, Nimega. South Guelderish, Nijmeegs: ''Nimwèège'' ) is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland, on the Waal (river), Waal river close to the Germany–Netherlands border, German border ...

Nijmegen
are built upon these hills.


Floods

Over the centuries, the Dutch coastline has changed considerably as a result of natural disasters and human intervention. On 14 December 1287, St. Lucia's flood affected the Netherlands and Germany, killing more than 50,000 people in one of the most destructive floods in recorded history. The St. Elizabeth's flood (1421), St. Elizabeth flood of 1421 and the mismanagement in its aftermath destroyed a newly reclaimed
polder A polder () is a low-lying tract of land that forms an artificial hydrological Hydrology (from Greek: ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning "water" and λόγος, "lógos" meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and ...

polder
, replacing it with the ''Biesbosch'' tidal floodplains in the south-centre. The huge North Sea flood of 1953, North Sea flood of early February 1953 caused the collapse of several dikes in the south-west of the Netherlands; more than 1,800 people drowned in the flood. The Dutch government subsequently instituted a large-scale programme, the "Deltawerken, Delta Works", to protect the country against future flooding, which was completed over a period of more than thirty years. The impact of disasters was, to an extent, increased through human activity. Relatively high-lying swampland was drained to be used as farmland. The drainage caused the fertile
peat Peat (), also known as turf (), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, ...
to contract and ground levels to drop, upon which groundwater levels were lowered to compensate for the drop in ground level, causing the underlying peat to contract further. Additionally, until the 19th-century peat was mined, dried, and used for fuel, further exacerbating the problem. Centuries of extensive and poorly controlled
peat Peat (), also known as turf (), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, ...
extraction lowered an already low land surface by several metres. Even in flooded areas, peat extraction continued through turf dredging. Because of the flooding, farming was difficult, which encouraged foreign trade, the result of which was that the Dutch were involved in world affairs since the early 14th/15th century. To guard against floods, a series of defences against the water were contrived. In the first millennium AD, villages and farmhouses were built on man-made hills called ''terps''. Later, these terps were connected by dikes. In the 12th century, local government agencies called ''"Water board (Netherlands), waterschappen"'' ("water boards") or ''"Water board (Netherlands), hoogheemraadschappen"'' ("high home councils") started to appear, whose job it was to maintain the water level and to protect a region from floods; these agencies continue to exist. As the ground level dropped, the dikes by necessity grew and merged into an integrated system. By the 13th century windmills had come into use to pump water out of areas below sea level. The windmills were later used to drain lakes, creating the famous
polder A polder () is a low-lying tract of land that forms an artificial hydrological Hydrology (from Greek: ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning "water" and λόγος, "lógos" meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and ...

polder
s. In 1932 the ''Afsluitdijk'' ("Closure Dike") was completed, blocking the former ''Zuiderzee'' (Southern Sea) from the North Sea and thus creating the IJsselmeer (IJssel Lake). It became part of the larger Zuiderzee Works in which four polders totalling were reclaimed from the sea. The Netherlands is one of the countries that may suffer most from climate change. Not only is the rising sea a problem, but erratic weather patterns may cause the rivers to overflow.


Delta Works

After the North Sea Flood of 1953, 1953 disaster, the Delta Works was constructed, which is a comprehensive set of civil works throughout the Dutch coast. The project started in 1958 and was largely completed in 1997 with the completion of the Maeslantkering. Since then, new projects have been periodically started to renovate and renew the Delta Works. The main goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in South Holland and Zeeland to once per 10,000 years (compared to once per 4000 years for the rest of the country). This was achieved by raising of outer sea-dikes and of the inner, canal, and river dikes, and by closing off the sea
estuaries An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water Brackish water, also sometimes termed brack water, is water occurring in a natural environment having more salinity File:IAPSO Standard Seawater.jpg, upInternational Associatio ...

estuaries
of the Zeeland province. New risk assessments occasionally show problems requiring additional Delta project dike reinforcements. The Delta project is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Wonders of the World#American Society of Civil Engineers, seven wonders of the modern world. It is anticipated that global warming in the 21st century will result in a rise in sea level. The Netherlands is actively preparing for a sea-level rise. A politically neutral Delta Commission has formulated an action plan to cope with a sea-level rise of and a simultaneous land height decline of . The plan encompasses the reinforcement of the existing coastal defences like Levee, dikes and dunes with of additional flood protection. Climate change will not only threaten the Netherlands from the seaside but could also alter rainfall patterns and river run-off. To protect the country from river flooding, another programme is already being executed. The Room for the River (Netherlands), Room for the River plan grants more flow space to rivers, protects the major populated areas and allows for periodic flooding of indefensible lands. The few residents who lived in these so-called "overflow areas" have been moved to higher ground, with some of that ground having been raised above anticipated flood levels.


Climate

The predominant wind direction in the European Netherlands is southwest, which causes a mild Oceanic climate, maritime climate, with moderately warm summers and cool winters, and typically high humidity. This is especially true close to the Dutch coastline, where the difference in temperature between summer and winter, as well as between day and night is noticeably smaller than it is in the southeast of the country. Ice days—maximum temperature below —usually occur from December until February, with the occasional rare ice day prior to or after that period. Freezing days—minimum temperature below —occur much more often, usually ranging from mid-November to late March, but not rarely measured as early as mid-October and as late as mid-May. If one chooses the height of measurement to be above ground instead of , one may even find such temperatures in the middle of the summer. On average, snow can occur from November to April but sometimes occurs in May or October too. Warm days—maximum temperature above —are usually found in April to October, but in some parts of the country these warm days can also occur in March, or even sometimes in November or February (usually not in , however). Summer days—maximum temperature above —are usually measured in from May until September, tropical days—maximum temperature above —are rare and usually occur only in June to August. Precipitation throughout the year is distributed relatively equally each month. Summer and autumn months tend to gather a little more precipitation than the other months, mainly because of the intensity of the rainfall rather than the frequency of rain days (this is especially the case in summer when lightning is also much more frequent). The number of sunshine hours is affected by the fact that because of the geographical latitude, the length of the days varies between barely eight hours in December and nearly 17 hours in June. The following table are based on mean measurements by the KNMI (institute), KNMI weather station in De Bilt between 1991 and 2020. The highest recorded temperature was reached on 25 July 2019 in Gilze-Rijen.


Climate change


Nature

The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves, that include lakes, heathland, Woodland, woods, dunes, and other habitats. Most of these are owned by Staatsbosbeheer, the national department for forestry and Habitat conservation, nature conservation and Vereniging Natuurmonumenten, Natuurmonumenten (literally 'Natures monuments'), a private organisation that buys, protects and manages nature reserves. The Dutch part of the Wadden Sea in the north, with its tidal flats and
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
s, is rich in biodiversity, biological diversity, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, World Heritage Nature Site in 2009. The Oosterschelde, formerly the northeast estuary of the river
Scheldt The Scheldt ( ; french: Escaut ; wa, Escô; nl, Schelde ) is a river that flows through northern France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Eur ...

Scheldt
was designated a national park in 2002, thereby making it the largest national park in the Netherlands at an area of . It consists primarily of the salt waters of the Oosterschelde but also includes mudflats, meadows, and shoals. Because of the large variety of sea life, including unique regional species, the park is popular with Scuba diving, Scuba divers. Other activities include sailing, fishing, cycling, and bird watching. Phytogeography, Phytogeographically, the European Netherlands is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the European territory of the Netherlands belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests. In 1871, the last old original natural woods were cut down, and most woods today are planted monocultures of trees like Scots pine and trees that are not native to the Netherlands. These woods were planted on heath (habitat)#Anthropogenic heaths, anthropogenic heaths and sand-drifts (overgrazed heaths) (Veluwe). The Netherlands had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 0.6/10, ranking it 169th globally out of 172 countries. The number of flying insects in the Netherlands has dropped by 75% since the 1990s.


Caribbean islands

While Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten have a Constituent state, constituent country status, the
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption ...

Caribbean Netherlands
are three islands designated as special municipalities of the Netherlands. The islands are part of the Lesser Antilles and have land borders with France (Collectivity of Saint Martin, Saint Martin) and maritime borders with Anguilla, Curaçao, France (Saint Barthélemy), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sint Maarten, the United States Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela. Within this island group: *
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles 250px, Map of the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_( ...

Bonaire
is part of the ABC islands (Lesser Antilles), ABC islands within the Leeward Antilles island chain off the Venezuelan coast. The Leeward Antilles have a mixed volcanic and coral origin. *
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
and
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ...

Sint Eustatius
are part of the SSS islands. They are located east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Although in the English language they are considered part of the Leeward Islands, French, Spanish,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
and the English spoken locally consider them part of the Windward Islands. The Windward Islands are all of volcanic origin and hilly, leaving little ground suitable for
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
. The highest point is Mount Scenery, , on
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
. This is the highest point in the country and is also the highest point of the entire
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
. The islands of the Caribbean Netherlands enjoy a tropical climate with warm weather all year round. The Leeward Antilles are warmer and drier than the Windward islands. In summer, the Windward Islands can be subject to hurricanes.


Government and politics

The Netherlands has been a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
since 1815, and due to the efforts of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke became a parliamentary system, parliamentary democracy in 1848. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state. Dutch politics and governance are characterised by an effort to achieve broad consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole. In 2017, ''The Economist'' ranked the Netherlands as the 11th Democracy Index, most democratic country in the world. The Dutch monarchy, monarch is the head of state, at present King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Constitutionally, the position is equipped with limited powers. By law, the King has the right to be periodically briefed and consulted on government affairs. Depending on the personalities and relationships of the King and the ministers, the monarch might have influence beyond the power granted by the Constitution of the Netherlands. The Executive (government), executive power is formed by the Council of Ministers (Netherlands), Council of Ministers, the deliberative organ of the Cabinet of the Netherlands, Dutch cabinet. The cabinet usually consists of 13 to 16 ministers and a varying number of State Secretary (Netherlands), state secretaries. One to three ministers are Minister without portfolio, ministers without portfolio. The head of government is the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, who often is the leader of the largest party of the coalition. The Prime Minister is a ''primus inter pares'', with no explicit powers beyond those of the other ministers.
Mark Rutte Mark Rutte (; born 14 February 1967) is a Dutch politician serving as Prime Minister of the Netherlands The prime minister of the Netherlands ( nl, Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of th ...

Mark Rutte
has been Prime Minister since October 2010; the Prime Minister had been the leader of the largest party of the governing coalition continuously since 1973. The cabinet is Ministerial responsibility, responsible to the Bicameralism, bicameral parliament, the States General, which also has Legislative, legislative powers. The 150 members of the House of Representatives (Netherlands), House of Representatives, the lower house, are elected in direct elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation. These are held every four years, or sooner in case the cabinet falls (for example: when one of the chambers carries a motion of no confidence, the cabinet offers its resignation to the monarch). The
States-Provincial The provincial council (, PS), also known as the States Provincial, is the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each of the provinces of the Netherlands There are twelve provinces of the Netherlands (), representing the administr ...
are directly elected every four years as well. The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
, the upper house, which has the power to reject laws, but not propose or amend them. Both houses send members to the Benelux Parliament, a consultative council.


Political culture

Both trade unions and employers organisations are consulted beforehand in policymaking in the financial, economic and social areas. They meet regularly with the government in the Social-Economic Council. This body advises government and its advice cannot be put aside easily. The Netherlands has a long tradition of
social tolerance Toleration is the allowing, permitting, or acceptance Acceptance in human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence a ...
. In the 18th century, while the Dutch Reformed Church was the state religion, Roman Catholicism in the Netherlands, Catholicism, other forms of Protestantism, such as Baptists and Lutherans, as well as History of the Jews in the Netherlands, Judaism were tolerated but discriminated against. In the late 19th century this Dutch tradition of religious tolerance transformed into a system of
pillarisation Pillarisation (from the nl, verzuiling) is the politico-denominational segregation of a society, or the separation of a society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs. These societies were (and in some areas, still are) "verticall ...
, in which religious groups coexisted separately and only interacted at the level of government. This tradition of tolerance influences Dutch criminal justice system of the Netherlands, criminal justice policies on Drug policy of the Netherlands, recreational drugs,
prostitution Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality Human sexualit ...
, LGBT rights in the Netherlands, LGBT rights, euthanasia, and abortion in the Netherlands, abortion, which are among the most liberal in the world.


Political parties

Because of the Political parties of the Netherlands, multi-party system, no single party has held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, as a result, coalition government, coalition cabinets had to be formed. Since suffrage became universal Pacification of 1917, in 1917, the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest of which were the Christian democracy, Christian Democrats, currently represented by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA); second were the Social democracy, Social Democrats, represented by the Labour Party (Netherlands), Labour Party (PvdA); and third were the Liberalism in the Netherlands, Liberals, of which the right-wing People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is the main representative. These parties co-operated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian Democrats had always been a partner: so either a centre-left coalition of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats was ruling or a centre-right coalition of Christian Democrats and Liberals. In the 1970s, the party system became more volatile: the Christian Democratic parties lost seats, while new parties became successful, such as the Radicalism (historical), radical democrat and Progressivism, progressive liberal Democrats 66 (D66) or the Ecology, ecologist party GroenLinks (GL). In the Dutch general election, 1994, 1994 election, the CDA lost its dominant position. A "Purple (government), purple" cabinet was formed by the VVD, D66, and PvdA. In the Dutch general election, 2002, 2002 elections, this cabinet lost its majority, because of an increased support for the CDA and the rise of the right-wing Lijst Pim Fortuyn, LPF, a new political party, around Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated a week before the elections. A short-lived First Balkenende cabinet, cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD, and LPF, which was led by the CDA Leader Jan Peter Balkenende. After the Dutch general election, 2003, 2003 elections, in which the LPF lost most of its seats, a Balkenende II, cabinet was formed by the CDA, VVD, and D66. The cabinet initiated an ambitious programme of reforming the welfare state, the Healthcare in the Netherlands, healthcare system, and Border control#Immigration policy, immigration policy. In June 2006, the cabinet fell after D66 voted in favour of a motion of no confidence against the Ministry of Justice and Security (Netherlands), Minister of Immigration and Integration, Rita Verdonk, who had instigated an investigation of the asylum procedure of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a VVD Member of parliament, MP. A Third Balkenende cabinet, caretaker cabinet was formed by the CDA and VVD, and Dutch general election, 2006, general elections were held on 22 November 2006. In these elections, the CDA remained the largest party and the Socialist Party (Netherlands), Socialist Party made the largest gains. The 2006–07 Dutch cabinet formation, formation of a new cabinet took three months, resulting in a Netherlands cabinet Balkenende-4, coalition of CDA, PvdA, and Christian Union (Netherlands), Christian Union. On 20 February 2010, the cabinet fell when the PvdA refused to prolong the involvement of the Dutch Army in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Snap elections were held on Dutch general election, 2010, 9 June 2010, with devastating results for the previously largest party, the CDA, which lost about half of its seats, resulting in 21 seats. The VVD became the largest party with 31 seats, closely followed by the PvdA with 30 seats. The big winner of the 2010 elections was Geert Wilders, whose right wing Party for Freedom, PVV, the ideological successor to the Pim Fortuyn List, LPF, more than doubled its number of seats. 2010 Dutch cabinet formation, Negotiation talks for a new government resulted in a minority government, led by VVD (a first) in coalition with CDA, which was sworn in on 14 October 2010. This unprecedented minority government was supported by PVV, but proved ultimately to be unstable, when on 21 April 2012, Wilders, leader of PVV, unexpectedly 'torpedoed seven weeks of austerity talks' on new austerity measures, paving the way for early elections. VVD and PvdA won a majority in the House of Representatives during the Dutch general election, 2012, 2012 general election. On 5 November 2012 they formed the second Rutte cabinet. After the Dutch general election, 2017, 2017 general election, VVD, Christian Democratic Appeal, Democrats 66 and ChristenUnie formed the third Rutte cabinet. This cabinet resigned in January 2021, two months before the general election, after a Netherlands child welfare fraud scandal, child welfare fraud scandal. In March 2021, centre-right VVD of Prime Minister
Mark Rutte Mark Rutte (; born 14 February 1967) is a Dutch politician serving as Prime Minister of the Netherlands The prime minister of the Netherlands ( nl, Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of th ...

Mark Rutte
was the winner of the 2021 Netherlands general election, elections, securing 35 out of 150 seats. The second biggest party was the centre-left D66 with 24 seats. Geert Wilders' far-right party lost support. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in power since 2010, formed his fourth coalition government.


Government


Administrative divisions

The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces, each under a King's Commissioner (''Commissaris van de Koning''). Informally in Limburg (Netherlands), Limburg province this position is named Governor (''Gouverneur''). All provinces are divided into Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipalities (''gemeenten''), of which there are 345 (2022). The country is also subdivided into 21 water districts, governed by a Water board (Netherlands), water board (''waterschap'' or ''hoogheemraadschap''), each having authority in matters concerning water management. The creation of water boards actually pre-dates that of the nation itself, the first appearing in 1196. The Dutch water boards are among the oldest democratic entities in the world still in existence. Direct elections of the water boards take place every four years. The administrative structure on the three BES islands, collectively known as the
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption ...

Caribbean Netherlands
, is outside the twelve provinces. These islands have the status of ''openbare lichamen (Public body (Netherlands), public bodies)''. In the Netherlands these administrative units are often referred to as ''special municipalities''. The Netherlands has several Belgian Enclave and exclave, exclaves and within those even several enclaves which are part of the province of North Brabant (see Baarle-Nassau). Because the Netherlands and Belgium are both in the
Benelux The Benelux Union ( nl, Benelux Unie; french: Union Benelux; lb, Benelux-Unioun), also known as simply Benelux, is a politico ''Politico'', known originally as ''The Politico'', is an American political journalism Political journalism i ...

Benelux
, and more recently in the
Schengen Area The Schengen Area ( , ) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for internationa ...

Schengen Area
, citizens of respective countries can travel through these enclaves without controls.


Foreign relations

The history of foreign relations of the Netherlands, Dutch foreign policy has been characterised by its neutral state, neutrality. Since World War II, the Netherlands has become a member of a large number of international organisations, most prominently the UN,
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
and the EU. The Dutch economy is very open and relies strongly on international trade. The foreign policy of the Netherlands is based on four basic commitments: to atlanticism, Atlantic co-operation, to European integration, to international development and to international law. One of the more controversial international issues surrounding the Netherlands is its Drug policy of the Netherlands, liberal policy towards soft drugs. During and after the
Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1588 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 (the Rampjaar, "Disaster Year"), in which Dutch trade, science, and Dutch art, ...
, the Dutch people built up a commercial and colonial empire. The most important colonies were present-day
Suriname Suriname () or Surinam, officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a rela ...

Suriname
and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
. Indonesia became independent after the Indonesian National Revolution in the 1940s following a war of independence, international pressure and several United Nations Security Council resolutions. Suriname became independent in 1975. The historical ties inherited from its colonial past still influence the foreign relations of the Netherlands. In addition, many people from these countries are living permanently in the Netherlands.


Military

The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau in the late 1500s. The Dutch army was used throughout the
Dutch Empire The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies—mainly the Dutch West India Company The Dutch West India Company ( n ...
. After the defeat of Napoleon, the Dutch army was transformed into a conscription army. The army was unsuccessfully deployed during the Belgian Revolution in 1830. After 1830, it was deployed mainly in the Dutch colonies, as the Netherlands remained neutral in European wars (including the First World War), until the Battle of the Netherlands, Netherlands was invaded in World War II and defeated by the Wehrmacht in May 1940. The Netherlands abandoned its neutrality in 1948 when it signed the Treaty of Brussels, and became a founding member of
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement betwe ...
in 1949. The Dutch military was therefore part of the NATO strength in Cold War Europe, deploying its army to several bases in Germany. More than 3,000 Dutch soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division (United States), 2nd Infantry Division of the United States Army during the Korean War. In 1996 conscription was suspended, and the Dutch army was once again transformed into a professional army. Since the 1990s the Dutch army has been involved in the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War, it held a province in Iraq after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, and it was engaged in War in Afghanistan (2001–present), Afghanistan. The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix ''Koninklijke'' (Royal): * ''Koninklijke Marine'' (KM), the Royal Netherlands Navy, including the Naval Air Service and Marine Corps; * ''Koninklijke Landmacht'' (KL), the Royal Netherlands Army; * ''Koninklijke Luchtmacht'' (KLu), the Royal Netherlands Air Force; * ''Koninklijke Marechaussee'' (KMar), the Royal Marechaussee (Military Police), tasks include military police and border control. The submarine service opened to women on 1 January 2017. The Korps Commandotroepen, the Special Operations Force of the Netherlands Army, is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical demands for initial training, it is almost impossible for a woman to become a commando. The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs more than 70,000 personnel, including over 20,000 civilians and over 50,000 military personnel. In April 2011 the government announced a major reduction in its military because of a cut in government expenditure, including a decrease in the number of tanks, fighter aircraft, naval ships and senior officials. The Netherlands has ratified many international conventions concerning International humanitarian law, war law. The Netherlands decided not to sign the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Economy

The Netherlands has a developed economy and has been playing a special role in the European economy for many centuries. Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have been leading sectors of the Dutch economy. The Netherlands has List of countries by economic freedom, a high level of economic freedom. The Netherlands is one of the top countries in the Global Enabling Trade Report (2nd in 2016), and was ranked the fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development in 2017. In addition, the country was ranked the second most innovative nation in the world in the 2018 Global Innovation Index. , the key trading partners of the Netherlands were Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, China and Russia. The Netherlands is one of the world's 10 leading exporting countries. Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector. Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, trade, services and tourism. Examples of international Dutch companies operating in Netherlands include Randstad Holding, Randstad, Unilever, Heineken International, Heineken, KLM, financial services (ING Group, ING, ABN AMRO, Rabobank), chemicals (DSM (company), DSM, AkzoNobel, AKZO), petroleum refining (Royal Dutch Shell), electronical machinery (Philips, ASML Holding, ASML), and satellite navigation (TomTom). The Netherlands has the List of countries by GDP (nominal), 17th-largest economy in the world, and List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita, ranks 11th in GDP (nominal) per capita. Between 1997 and 2000 annual economic growth (GDP) averaged nearly 4%, well above the European average. Growth slowed considerably from 2001 to 2005 with the global economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4.1% in the third quarter of 2007. In May 2013, inflation was at 2.8% per year. In April 2013, unemployment was at 8.2% (or 6.7% following the International Labour Organization, ILO definition) of the labour force. In February 2019, this was reduced to 3.4%. In Q3 and Q4 2011, the Dutch economy contracted by 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively, because of European Debt Crisis, while in Q4 the Eurozone economy shrunk by 0.3%. The Netherlands also has a relatively low Gini coefficient, GINI coefficient of 0.326. Despite ranking 11th in GDP per capita, UNICEF ranked the Netherlands 1st in child well-being in rich countries, both in 2007 and in 2013. On the Index of Economic Freedom Netherlands is the 14th most free market capitalist economy out of 180 surveyed countries.
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX), part of Euronext, is the world's oldest stock exchange and is one of Europe's largest bourses. It is situated near Dam Square in the city's centre. As a founding member of the
euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area ...

euro
, the Netherlands replaced (for accounting purposes) its former currency, the "gulden" (Dutch guilder, guilder), on 1 January 1999, along with 15 other adopters of the euro. Actual euro coins and Euro banknotes, banknotes followed on 1 January 2002. One euro was equivalent to 2.20371 Dutch guilders. In the
Caribbean Netherlands The Caribbean Netherlands ( nl, Caribisch Nederland, ) are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption ...

Caribbean Netherlands
, the United States dollar is used instead of the euro. The Dutch location gives it prime access to markets in the UK and Germany, with the
Port of Rotterdam The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port, seaport in Europe, and the world's largest seaport outside of East Asia, located in and near the city of Rotterdam, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004, it was the ...

Port of Rotterdam
being the largest port in Europe. Other important parts of the economy are international trade (Dutch colonialism started with co-operative private enterprises such as the
Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie; VOC), was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—u ...

Dutch East India Company
), banking and transport. The Netherlands successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job growth long before its European partners. Amsterdam is the 5th-busiest tourist destination in Europe with more than 4.2 million international visitors.. ez.amsterdam.nl Since the enlargement of the EU large numbers of migrant workers have arrived in the Netherlands from Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe. The Netherlands continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the five largest investors in the United States. The economy experienced a slowdown in 2005, but in 2006 recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment. The pace of job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007. The Netherlands is the fourth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.


Natural gas

Beginning in the 1950s, the Netherlands discovered huge natural gas resources. The sale of natural gas generated enormous revenues for the Netherlands for decades, adding hundreds of billions of euros to the government's budget.The Dutch curse: how billions from natural gas went up in smoke
LEES MEER, 17 June 2009
However, the unforeseen consequences of the country's huge energy wealth impacted the competitiveness of other sectors of the economy, leading to the theory of Dutch disease. Apart from coal and gas, the country has no mining resources. The last coal mine was closed in 1974. The Groningen gas field, one of the largest natural-gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren. The exploitation of this field has resulted in €159 billion in revenue since the mid-1970s. The field is operated by government-owned Gasunie and output is jointly exploited by the government, Royal Dutch Shell, and Exxon Mobil through NAM (Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij). "Gas extraction has resulted in increasingly strong earth tremors, some measuring as much as 3.6 on the Richter magnitude scale. The cost of damage repairs, structural improvements to buildings, and compensation for home value decreases has been estimated at €6.5 billion. Around 35,000 homes are said to be affected." The Netherlands has an estimated 25% of natural gas reserves in the EU. The energy sector accounted for almost 11% of the GDP in 2014. Netherlands' economy, mainly due to the large shares of natural gas reserves, is considered to have "very high" energy intensity rating. The Netherlands is faced with future challenges as the energy supply is forecasted to fall short of the demand by the year 2025 in the gas sector. This is attributed to the depletion of the Netherlands' major gas field, Groningen, and the earthquakes that have hit the Groningen region. In addition, there is ambiguity surrounding the feasibility of producing unconventional gas. The Netherlands relies heavily on natural gas to provide energy. Gas is the main source of heating for households in the Netherlands and represented 35% of the energy mix in 2014. Furthermore, The European Union climate and energy package, European Union 2020 package (20% reduction in GHG emissions, 20% renewables in the energy mix and 20% improvement in energy efficiency) enacted in 2009 has influenced the domestic energy politics of Netherlands and pressured non-state actors to give consent to more aggressive energy reforms that would reduce reliance on natural resources as a source of income to the economy. Therefore, a Renewable energy in the Netherlands, transition towards renewable energy has been a key objective by Netherlands in order to safeguard the energy security of the country from natural resources depletion, mainly gas. Netherlands has set a 14% renewable energy target of the total energy mix by the year 2020. However, the continuation of providing tax breaks to electricity generated by coal and gas, and to the exploration and extraction of gas from fields that are "insufficiently" profitable, renders a successful transition towards renewable energy more difficult to achieve due to inconsistencies in the policy mix. In 2011, it was estimated that the renewable energy sector received 31% (EUR 743MM), while the conventional energy sector received 69% (EUR 1.6B), of the total energy subsidies by the government. Furthermore, the energy market in the Netherlands remains to be dominated by few major corporations Nuon, RWE, E.ON, Eneco, and Delta that have significant influence over the energy policy. Renewable energy share in the energy mix is estimated to reach 12.4% by the year 2020, falling 1.6% short of the 14% target.


Agriculture and natural resources

From a biological resource perspective, the Netherlands has a low endowment: the Netherlands’ biocapacity adds up to only 0.8 global hectares in 2016, 0.2 of which are dedicated to agriculture. The Dutch biocapacity per person is just about half of the 1.6 global hectares of biocapacity per person available worldwide. In contrast, in 2016, the Dutch used on average 4.8 global hectares of biocapacity - their ecological footprint of consumption. This means the Dutch required nearly six times as much biocapacity as the Netherlands contains. As a result, the Netherlands was running a biocapacity deficit of 4.0 global hectares per person in 2016. The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports. It employs about 4% of the Dutch labour force but produces large surpluses in the food-processing industry and accounts for 21% of the Dutch total export value. The Dutch rank first in the European Union and second worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind only the United States, with agricultural exports earning €80.7 billion in 2014, up from €75.4 billion in 2012. In 2019 agricultural exports were worth €94.5 billion. One-third of the world's exports of Capsicum, chilis, tomatoes, and cucumbers goes through the country. The Netherlands also exports one-fifteenth of the world's apples. Aside from that, a significant portion of Dutch agricultural exports consists of fresh-cut plants, flowers, and flower bulbs, with the Netherlands exporting two-thirds of the world's total.


Demographics

The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,493,969 as of 30 April 2021. It is the Area and population of European countries, 5th most densely populated country in Europe, and except for very small city-states like Monaco, Vatican City and San Marino, it is the most densely populated country in Europe. And it is the List of sovereign states and dependent territories by population density, 16th most densely populated country in the world with a density of . It is the List of countries by population, 67th most populous country in the world. Between 1900 and 1950, the country's population almost doubled from 5.1 to 10 million. From 1950 to 2000, the population further increased, to 15.9 million, though this represented a lower rate of population growth. The estimated growth rate is 0.44%. The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.78 children per woman (2018 estimate), which is high compared with many other European countries, but sub-replacement fertility, below the rate of 2.1 children per woman required for natural population replacement, it remains considerably below the high of 5.39 children born per woman in 1879. Netherlands subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 42.7 years. Life expectancy is high in the Netherlands: 84.3 years for newborn girls and 79.7 for boys (2020 estimate). The country has a Human migration, migration rate of 1.9 migrants per 1,000 inhabitants per year. The majority of the population of the Netherlands is ethnically Dutch people, Dutch. According to a 2005 estimate, the population was 80.9% Dutch, 2.4%
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
n, 2.4% Germans, German, 2.2% Turkish-Dutch, Turkish, 2.0% Surinamese people, Surinamese, 1.9% Morocco, Moroccan, 0.8% Netherlands Antilles, Antillean and Aruban, and 7.4% others. Some 150,000 to 200,000 people living in the Netherlands are expatriates, mostly concentrated in and around
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
and
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
, now constituting almost 10% of the population of these cities. The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, by nationality, with an average height of for adult males and for adult females in 2009. People in the south are on average about shorter than those in the north. According to Eurostat, in 2010 there were 1.8 million Foreign born, foreign-born residents in the Netherlands, corresponding to 11.1% of the total population. Of these, 1.4 million (8.5%) were born outside the EU and 0.43 million (2.6%) were born in another EU Member State. On 21 November 2016, there were 3.8 million residents in the Netherlands with at least one foreign-born parent ("migration background"). On 1 January 2016, 26,2% of persons aged 0-50 had at least one parent born in a foreign country. 11,4% of persons aged 0-50 'of Dutch background' belonged to the 'third generation'. Of these 739,000 had western grandparents, 120,000 non-western. The third generation constitutes from persons born from two second generation immigrants or one second generation immigrant and one person with a Dutch background. First and second generation immigrants and the third generation were 34,5% of the population aged 0-50. Over half the young people in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a non-western background. Dutch people, or Dutch diaspora, descendants of Dutch people, are also found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau (2006), more than 5 million Americans claim total or partial Dutch American, Dutch ancestry. There are close to 3 million Dutch-descended Afrikaners living in South Africa. In 1940, there were 290,000 Europeans and Eurasians in Indonesia, but most have since left the country. The Randstad is the country's largest conurbation located in the west of the country and contains the four largest cities:
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
in the province North Holland,
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the Netherlands. It is in the Provinces of the Netherlands, province of South Holland, ...

Rotterdam
and
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
in the province
South Holland South Holland ( nl, Zuid-Holland ) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands with a population of over 3.7 million as of October 2021 and a population density of about , making it the country's most populous province and on ...
, and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
in the province
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
. The Randstad has a population of about 8.2 million inhabitants and is the List of metropolitan areas in Europe by population, 5th largest metropolitan area in Europe. According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in 2015, 28 per cent of the Dutch population had a spendable income above 45,000 euros (which does not include spending on health care or education).


Functional urban areas


Language

The official language is
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
, which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. Besides Dutch, West Frisian is recognised as a second official language in the northern province of
Friesland Friesland ( , , ; official fry, Fryslân ), historically known as Frisia, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administra ...

Friesland
(''Fryslân'' in West Frisian). West Frisian has a formal status for government correspondence in that province. In the European part of the kingdom two other regional languages are recognised under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The first of these recognised regional languages is Dutch Low Saxon, Low Saxon (''Nedersaksisch'' in Dutch). Low Saxon consists of several dialects of the Low German language spoken in the north and east of the Netherlands, like Tweants in the region of Twente, and Drents in the province of
Drenthe Drenthe () is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as wel ...

Drenthe
. Secondly,
Limburgish Limburgish ( li, Lèmburgs ; nl, Limburgs ; german: Limburgisch ; french: Limbourgeois ), also called Limburgan, Limburgian, or Limburgic, is a West Germanic language spoken in the Dutch and Belgian provinces of Limburg and in the neighbouri ...
is also recognised as a regional language. It consists of Dutch varieties of Meuse-Rhenish Franconian languages and is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg (Netherlands), Limburg. The dialects most spoken in the Netherlands are the Brabantian-Hollandic dialects. Ripuarian language, which is spoken in Kerkrade and Vaals in the form of, respectively, the Kerkrade dialect and the Vaals dialect are legally treated as Limburgish as well - see Southeast Limburgish dialect. English in the Netherlands, English has a formal status in the special municipalities of
Saba Saba (, ; , ) is a Caribbean island which is the smallest Caribbean Netherlands, special municipality (officially “Public body (Netherlands), public body”) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scener ...

Saba
and
Sint Eustatius Sint Eustatius (, ), also known locally as Statia (),Tuchman, Barbara W. ''The First Salute: A View of the American Revolution'' New York: Ballantine Books, 1988. is an island in the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ...

Sint Eustatius
. It is widely spoken on these islands.
Papiamento Papiamento () or Papiamentu (; nl, Papiaments) is a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch Caribbean. It is the most widely spoken language on the Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; als ...
has a formal status in the special municipality of
Bonaire Bonaire ( or ; ; pap, Boneiru, ) is an island in the Leeward Antilles 250px, Map of the Leeward Antilles The Leeward Antilles ( nl, Benedenwindse Eilanden) are a chain of island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_( ...

Bonaire
.
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
and the Romani language were recognised in 1996 as non-territorial languages. The Netherlands has a tradition of learning foreign languages, formalised in Dutch education laws. Some 90% of the total population indicate English in the Netherlands, they are able to converse in English, 70% in German, and 29% in French. English is a mandatory course in all secondary schools. In most lower level secondary school educations (''voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, vmbo''), one additional modern foreign language is mandatory during the first two years.Schedule of the Central Exams of 2009
Examenblad
In higher level secondary schools (Hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs, HAVO and Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs, VWO), the acquisition of two additional modern foreign language skills is mandatory during the first three years. Only during the last three years in VWO one foreign language is mandatory. Besides English, the standard modern languages are and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Chinese language, Chinese,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, Russian language, Russian, Italian language, Italian, Turkish language, Turkish or Arabic.Examenblad talen, vwo in 2019
Examenblad
Additionally, schools in Friesland teach and have exams in West Frisian, and schools across the country teach and have exams in Ancient Greek and Latin for secondary school (called Gymnasium (school), Gymnasium or VWO+).


Religion

The population of the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity, Christian until the late 20th century, divided into a number of denominations. Although significant religious diversity remains, there has been a decline of religious adherence. The Netherlands is now one of the most secular societies in the world. In 2019, Statistics Netherlands found that 54.1% of the total population declared itself to be non-religious. Groups that represent the non-religious in the Netherlands include Humanistisch Verbond. Catholics comprised 20.1% of the total population, Protestants (14.8%). Muslims comprised 5.0% of the total population and followers of other Christian denominations and other religions (like Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism) comprised the remaining 5.9%. A 2015 survey from another source found that Protestants outnumbered Catholics. The southern provinces of North Brabant and Limburg (Netherlands), Limburg have historically been strongly Catholic, and some residents consider the Catholic Church as a base for their Cultural Christian, cultural identity. Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. The largest of these is the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), a United and uniting churches, united church which is Calvinist and Lutheran in orientation. It was formed in 2004 as a merger of the Dutch Reformed Church, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a smaller Lutheran Church. Several orthodox Calvinist and liberal churches did not merge into the PKN. Although in the Netherlands as a whole Christianity has become a minority, the Netherlands contains a Bible Belt (Netherlands), Bible Belt from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel, in which Protestant (particularly Calvinist) beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils. Islam is the second largest religion in the state. In 2012, there were about 825,000 Islam in the Netherlands, Muslims in the Netherlands (5% of the population). The Muslim population increased from the 1960 as a result of large numbers of Demography of the Netherlands#Migration and ethnicity, migrant workers. This included migrant workers from Turkey and Morocco, as well as migrants from former Dutch Empire, Dutch colonies, such as Surinam and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
. During the 1990s, Muslim refugees arrived from countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Another religion practised is Hinduism, with around 215,000 adherents (slightly over 1% of the population). Most of these are Indo-Surinamese. There are also sizeable populations of Hindu immigrants from India and Sri Lanka, and some Western adherents of Hinduism in the West, Hinduism-orientated new religious movements such as International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Hare Krishnas. The Netherlands has an estimated 250,000 Buddhism in the Netherlands, Buddhists or people strongly attracted to this religion, mainly ethnic Dutch people. In addition, there are about 45,000 History of the Jews in the Netherlands, Jews in the Netherlands. The Constitution of the Netherlands guarantees freedom of education, which means that all schools that adhere to general quality criteria receive the same government funding. This includes schools based on religious principles by religious groups (especially Catholic and various Protestant). Three political parties in the Dutch parliament, (Christian Democratic Appeal, CDA, and two small parties, ChristianUnion and Reformed Political Party, SGP) are based upon the Christian belief. Several Christian religious holidays are national holidays (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and the Ascension of Jesus). Upon the country's independence, Protestants were predominant in most of the country, while Roman Catholics were dominant in the south, especially North Brabant and Limburg. In the late 19th century, secularism, atheism and
pillarisation Pillarisation (from the nl, verzuiling) is the politico-denominational segregation of a society, or the separation of a society into groups by religion and associated political beliefs. These societies were (and in some areas, still are) "verticall ...
gained adherents. By 1960, Catholics equalled Protestants in number; thereafter, both Christian branches began to decline. Conversely, Islam grew considerably as the result of Demography of the Netherlands#Migration and ethnicity, immigration. Since 2000 there has been raised awareness of religion, mainly due to Muslim extremism. The Monarchy of the Netherlands, Dutch royal family has been traditionally associated with Calvinism, specifically the Dutch Reformed Church, which has merged into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The Dutch Reformed Church was the only major
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
church in the Netherlands from the Protestant Reformation, Reformation until the 19th century. Denominational splits 1834 Dutch Reformed Church split, in 1834 and 1886 Dutch Reformed Church split, in 1886 diversified Dutch Calvinism. In 2013, a Catholic became Queen consort. A survey in December 2014 concluded that for the first time there were more atheists (25%) than theists (17%) in the Netherlands, while the remainder of the population was agnostic (31%) or ietsism, ietsistic (27%). In 2015, a vast majority of the inhabitants of the Netherlands (82%) said they had never or almost never visited a church, and 59% stated that they had never been to a church of any kind. Of all the people questioned, 24% saw themselves as atheist, an increase of 11% compared to the previous study done in 2006. The expected rise of spirituality (ietsism) has come to a halt according to research in 2015. In 2006, 40% of respondents considered themselves spiritual; in 2015 this has dropped to 31%. The number who believed in the existence of a higher power fell from 36% to 28% over the same period.


Education

Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. If a child does not have a "starting qualification" (HAVO, VWO or MBO 2+ degree) they are still forced to attend classes until they achieve such a qualification or reach the age of 18. All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from (on average) ages 4 to 12. It comprises eight grades, the first of which is facultative. Based on an aptitude test, the eighth grade teacher's recommendation and the opinion of the pupil's parents or caretakers, a choice is made for one of the three main streams of secondary education. After completing a particular stream, a pupil may still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream. The Voorbereidend middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, VMBO has four grades and is subdivided over several levels. Successfully completing the VMBO results in a low-level vocational degree that grants access to the MBO. The MBO (middle-level applied education) is a form of education that primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade or a vocational degree. With the MBO certification, a student can apply for the HBO. The Hoger algemeen voortgezet onderwijs, HAVO has 5 grades and allows for admission to the HBO. The HBO (higher professional education) are Vocational university, universities of professional education (applied sciences) that award professional bachelor's degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees. An HBO degree gives access to the university system. The Voorbereidend wetenschappelijk onderwijs, VWO (comprising Atheneum (school), atheneum and Gymnasium (school), gymnasium) has 6 grades and prepares for studying at a research university. Universities offer a three-year bachelor's degree, followed by a one or two-year master's degree, which in turn can be followed by a four or five-year doctoral degree programme. Netherlands was ranked 5th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 4th in 2019. Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are generally non-tenured employees of a university. All Dutch schools and universities are publicly funded and managed with the exception of religious schools that are publicly funded but not managed by the state even though requirements are necessary for the funding to be authorised. Dutch universities have a tuition fee of about 2,000 euros a year for students from the Netherlands and the European Union. The amount is about 10,000 euros for non-EU students.


Healthcare

In 2016, the Netherlands maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index (EHCI), which compares healthcare systems in Europe, scoring 916 of a maximum 1,000 points. The Netherlands has been among the top three countries in each report published since 2005. On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 37 European countries for six years in a row. The Netherlands was ranked first in a study in 2009 comparing the health care systems of the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. Ever since a major reform of the health care system in 2006, the Dutch system received more points in the Index each year. According to the HCP (Health Consumer Powerhouse), the Netherlands has 'a chaos system', meaning patients have a great degree of freedom from where to buy their health insurance, to where they get their healthcare service. The difference between the Netherlands and other countries is that the chaos is managed. Healthcare decisions are being made in a dialogue between the patients and healthcare professionals. Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory. Healthcare in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance: * Zorgverzekeringswet (ZVW), often called "basic insurance", covers common medical care. * Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (AWBZ) covers long-term nursing and care. While Dutch residents are automatically insured by the government for AWBZ, everyone has to take out their own basic healthcare insurance (basisverzekering), except those under 18 who are automatically covered under their parents' premium. If a person decides not to carry out an insurance coverage, the person may be fined. Insurers have to offer a universal package for everyone over the age of 18 years, regardless of age or state of health – it's illegal to refuse an application or impose special conditions. In contrast to many other European systems, the Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare system in the Netherlands, but not in charge of its management. Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: three echelons, in somatic and mental health care and in 'cure' (short term) and 'care' (long term). Home doctors (''huisartsen'', comparable to general practitioners) form the largest part of the first echelon. Being referenced by a member of the first echelon is mandatory for access to the second and third echelon.J.M. Boot, 'De Nederlandse Gezondheidszorg', Bohn Stafleu van Loghum 2011 The health care system is in comparison to other Western countries quite effective but not the most cost-effective.Boston Consulting Group, 'Zorg voor Waarde', 2011. Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January 2006. Long-term treatments, especially those that involve semi-permanent hospitalisation, and also disability costs such as wheelchairs, are covered by a state-controlled mandatory insurance. This is laid down in the ''AWBZ, Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten'' ("General Law on Exceptional Healthcare Costs") which first came into effect in 1968. In 2009 this insurance covered 27% of all health care expenses. For all regular (short-term) medical treatment, there is a system of obligatory health insurance, with private health insurance companies. These insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a defined set of insured treatments. This insurance covers 41% of all health care expenses. Other sources of health care payment are taxes (14%), out of pocket payments (9%), additional optional health insurance packages (4%) and a range of other sources (4%). Affordability is guaranteed through a system of income-related allowances and individual and employer-paid income-related premiums. A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums may not be related to health status or age. Risk variances between private health insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through Risk equalization, risk equalisation and a common risk pool. The funding burden for all short-term health care coverage is carried 50% by employers, 45% by the insured person and 5% by the government. Children under 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive compensation to help them pay their insurance. Premiums paid by the insured are about €100 per month (about US$127 in August 2010 and €150 or US$196 in 2012), with variation of about 5% between the various competing insurers, and a yearly deductible of €220 (US$288).


Transport

Mobility on Dutch roads has grown continuously since the 1950s and now exceeds 200 billion km travelled per year, three quarters of which are done by car. Around half of all trips in the Netherlands are made by car, 25% by bicycle, 20% walking, and 5% by public transport.


Road transport

With a total Roads in the Netherlands, road network of 139,295 km, which includes 2,758 km of expressways, the Netherlands has one of the densest road networks in the world—much denser than Germany and France, but still not as dense as Belgium. As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Government of the Netherlands initiated a plan to establish over 200 recharging stations for electric vehicles across the country. The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB (company), ABB and Dutch startup Fastned, and will aim to provide at least one station within a radius of every home in the Netherlands. Currently, the Netherlands alone hosts approximately 30% of all recharging stations in the European Union. Moreover, newly sold cars in the Netherlands have on average the lowest CO2 emissions in the EU.


Public transport

About 13% of all distance is travelled by public transport, the majority of which by train. Like in List of countries by rail transport network size, many other European countries, the Dutch rail network of 3,013 km route is also rather dense. The network is mostly focused on passenger rail services and connects all major towns and cities, with over 400 stations. Trains are frequent, with two trains per hour on lesser lines, two to four trains per hour on average, and up to eight trains an hour on the busiest lines. The Dutch national train network also includes the HSL-Zuid, a high-speed line between the Amsterdam metropolitan area and the Belgian border for trains running from Paris and London to the Netherlands.


Cycling

Cycling in the Netherlands, Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. Almost as many kilometres are covered by bicycle as by train. The Dutch are estimated to have at least 18 million bicycles, which makes more than one per capita, and twice as many as the circa 9 million motor vehicles on the road. In 2013, the European Cyclists' Federation ranked both the Netherlands and Denmark as the most bike-friendly countries in Europe, but more of the Dutch (36%) than of the Danes (23%) list the bike as their most frequent mode of transport on a typical day. Cycling infrastructure is comprehensive. Busy roads have received some 35,000 km of Segregated cycle facilities, dedicated cycle tracks, physically segregated from motorised traffic. Busy junctions are often equipped with bicycle-specific traffic lights. There are large bicycle parking facilities, particularly in city centres and at train stations.


Water transport

Until the introduction of trains, ships were the primary mode of transport in the Netherlands. And shipping has remained crucial afterwards. The
Port of Rotterdam The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port, seaport in Europe, and the world's largest seaport outside of East Asia, located in and near the city of Rotterdam, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004, it was the ...

Port of Rotterdam
is the largest port in Europe and the largest port in the world outside East-Asia, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel, Switzerland, and into Germany and France. , Rotterdam was the world's eighth largest container port handling 440.5 million metric tonnes of cargo annually. The port's main activities are petrochemical industries and general cargo handling and transshipment. The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk material handling, bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. The Volkeraksluizen between Rotterdam and Antwerp are the biggest sluices for inland navigation in the world in terms of tonnage passing through them. In 2007, the Betuweroute, a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed. The Netherlands also hosts Europe's 4th largest port in Port of Amsterdam, Amsterdam. The Inland navigation, inland shipping fleet of the Netherlands is the largest in Europe. The Netherlands also has the largest fleet of active historical ships in the world. Boats are used for passenger travel as well, such as the Watertaxies in Rotterdam. The ferry network in Amsterdam and the Waterbus network in Rotterdam are part of the public transport system.


Air transport

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Schiphol Airport, just southwest of Amsterdam, is the main international airport in the Netherlands, and the List of the busiest airports in Europe, third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers. Schiphol is the main hub for KLM, the nation's flag carrier and the world's oldest airline. In 2016, the Schiphol Group, Royal Schiphol Group airports handled 70 million passengers. All air traffic is international and Schiphol Airport is connected to over 300 destinations worldwide, more than any other European airport. The airport is a major freight hub as well, processing 1.44 million tonnes of cargo in 2020. Smaller international airports in the country include Eindhoven Airport, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Maastricht Aachen Airport and Groningen Airport Eelde. Air transport is of vital significance for the Caribbean part of the Netherlands, with all islands having their own airport. This includes the shortest runway in the world on Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba.


Culture


Art, architecture and philosophy

The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. In the Middle Ages Hieronymus Bosch, Petrus Christus, Lucas Gassel and Pieter Bruegel the Elder were leading Dutch pioneers. During the
Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1588 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 (the Rampjaar, "Disaster Year"), in which Dutch trade, science, and Dutch art, ...
, spanning much of the 17th century, the Dutch Republic was prosperous and witnessed a flourishing artistic movement. This was the age of the "Dutch Masters", such as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael, Gerard van Honthorst, Theodoor van Thulden and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th and 20th century were Vincent van Gogh and the luminists Jan Sluijters, Leo Gestel, and Piet Mondrian. M. C. Escher is a well-known graphic artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , ) is the second largest List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the Netherlands. It is in the Provinces of the Netherlands, province of South Holland, ...

Rotterdam
, although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist. Literature flourished as well during the Dutch Golden Age, with Joost van den Vondel and Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, P. C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia. Important 20th century authors include Godfried Bomans, Harry Mulisch, Jan Wolkers, Simon Vestdijk, Hella S. Haasse, Cees Nooteboom, Gerard Reve and Willem Frederik Hermans. Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, ''Diary of a Young Girl'' was published after she was murdered in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages. Various architectural styles can be distinguished in the Netherlands. Over the years, various styles have been built and preserved. The Romanesque architecture was built between the years 950 and 1250. This architectural style is most concentrated in the provinces of Gelderland and Limburg (Netherlands), Limburg. Limburg, in particular, differs greatly in architectural style from the rest of the Netherlands. The Gothic architecture came to in the Netherlands from about 1230. Gothic buildings often had large windows, pointed arches and were richly decorated. Brabantine Gothic originated with the rise of the Duchy of Brabant and spread throughout the Burgundian provinces. This architectural style is most concentrated in the province of North Brabant, such as St. John's Cathedral ('s-Hertogenbosch), St. John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Grote kerk (Breda), Church of Our Lady in Breda and the Margraves Palace in Bergen op Zoom. What many know as traditional Dutch architecture is the Dutch Baroque architecture (1525 – 1630) and classicism (1630 – 1700). These style of architecture is especially in evidence in the cities of North Holland,
South Holland South Holland ( nl, Zuid-Holland ) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands with a population of over 3.7 million as of October 2021 and a population density of about , making it the country's most populous province and on ...
and Zeeland. Other architectural styles that are common in the Netherlands are Style Louis XIV, Art Nouveau, Rationalism (architecture), Rationalism, Neoclassicism, Expressionist architecture, Expressionism, De Stijl, Traditionalist School (architecture), Traditionalism and Brutalism. The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus, Rudolf Agricola and Baruch Spinoza, Spinoza. Much of René Descartes, Descartes' major work was done in the Netherlands, where he studied at Leiden University — as did geologist James Hutton, British Prime Minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, John Stuart, U.S. President John Quincy Adams, Physics Nobel Prize laureate Hendrik Lorentz and Enrico Fermi. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) discovered Saturn's moon Titan (moon), Titan, argued that light travelled as waves, invented the pendulum clock and was the first physicist to use mathematical formulae. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe Microorganism, single-celled organisms with a microscope. Replicas of Dutch buildings can be found in Huis Ten Bosch (theme park), Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan. A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang, China. Windmills, tulips, Clog (shoe), wooden shoes, cheese, Delftware pottery, and cannabis (drug), cannabis are among the items associated with the Netherlands by tourists.


Southern Netherlands

In the south of the Netherlands there are some festivals that rarely or never occur in the rest of the Netherlands. These celebrations grew out of Catholic traditions, including Carnival in the Netherlands, Carnival, lantern parades during the celebration of Epiphany (holiday), Three Kings, Brabantian Day and huge Bloemencorso. Bloemencorsos used to occur in many places in the Netherlands, but in the 21st century, Zundert and Valkenswaard in North Brabant have taken the lead.


Dutch value system

Dutch society is Egalitarianism, egalitarian and Modernism, modern. The Dutch have an aversion to the non-essential. Ostentatious behaviour is to be avoided. The Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage, Dutch art, rich history in art and involvement in International relations, international affairs. Dutch manners are open and direct with a no-nonsense attitude—informality combined with adherence to basic behaviour. According to a humorous source on Dutch culture, "Their directness gives many the impression that they are rude and crude—attributes they prefer to call openness."Colin White & Laurie Boucke (1995). The UnDutchables: An observation of the Netherlands, its culture and its inhabitants (3rd Ed.). White-Boucke Publishing. A well known more serious source on Dutch etiquette is "Dealing with the Dutch" by Jacob Vossestein: "Dutch egalitarianism is the idea that people are equal, especially from a moral point of view, and accordingly, causes the somewhat ambiguous stance the Dutch have towards hierarchy and status." As always, manners differ between groups. Asking about basic rules will not be considered impolite. "What may strike you as being blatantly blunt topics and comments are no more embarrassing or unusual to the Dutch than discussing the weather." The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries of Europe, and religion in the Netherlands is generally considered as a personal matter which is not supposed to be propagated in public, although it often remains a discussion subject. For only 17% of the population religion is important and 14% goes to church weekly. The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is regarded as a liberal country, considering Drug policy of the Netherlands, its drug policy and its legalisation of Euthanasia in the Netherlands, euthanasia. On 1 April 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation to legalise same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, same-sex marriage.


Dutch people and ecology

As of 2018 the Netherlands had one of the highest rates of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the European Union, above those of Germany, France and Belgium. In addition, the Dutch waste more food than any other EU citizen, at over three times the EU average Despite this, the Netherlands has nonetheless the reputation of the Leadership, leader country in environmental science, environmental and Management, population management. In 2015, Amsterdam and Rotterdam were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, on the Arcadis NV, Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index. Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch people, Dutch. The goal of the Dutch Government is to have a Sustainability, sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system, by 2050, in which Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, emissions have been halved and 40 per cent of electricity is derived from Sustainability, sustainable sources. The government is investing billions of euros in Efficient energy use, energy efficiency, sustainable energy and Carbon dioxide, reduction. The Kingdom also encourages Dutch companies to build sustainable business/projects/Facility management, facilities, with Subsidy, financial aids from the state to the companies or individuals who are active in making the country more Sustainability, sustainable.


Music

The Netherlands has multiple music traditions. Traditional Dutch music is a genre known as "Levenslied", meaning ''Song of life'', to an extent comparable to a French Chanson or a German Schlager music, Schlager. These songs typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward structure of verses and choruses. Themes can be light, but are often sentimental and include love, death and loneliness. Traditional musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also use synthesisers and guitars. Artists in this genre include Jan Smit (singer), Jan Smit, Frans Bauer and André Hazes. Contemporary Dutch Rock music, rock and pop music (Nederpop) originated in the 1960s, heavily influenced by popular music from the United States and United Kingdom, Britain. In the 1960s and 1970s the lyrics were mostly in English, and some tracks were instrumental. Bands such as Shocking Blue, Golden Earring, Tee Set, George Baker Selection and Focus (band), Focus enjoyed international success. As of the 1980s, more and more pop musicians started working in the Dutch language, partly inspired by the huge success of the band Doe Maar. Today Dutch rock and pop music thrives in both languages, with some artists recording in both. Current symphonic metal bands Epica (band), Epica, Delain, ReVamp, The Gathering (band), The Gathering, Asrai, Autumn, Ayreon and Within Temptation as well as jazz and pop singer Caro Emerald are having international success. Also, metal bands like Hail of Bullets, God Dethroned, Izegrim, Asphyx, Textures (band), Textures, Present Danger, Heidevolk and Slechtvalk are popular guests at the biggest metal festivals in Europe. Contemporary local stars include pop singer Anouk (singer), Anouk, country pop singer Ilse DeLange, South Guelderish and
Limburgish Limburgish ( li, Lèmburgs ; nl, Limburgs ; german: Limburgisch ; french: Limbourgeois ), also called Limburgan, Limburgian, or Limburgic, is a West Germanic language spoken in the Dutch and Belgian provinces of Limburg and in the neighbouri ...
dialect singing folk band Rowwen Hèze, rock band BLØF and duo Nick & Simon. Trijntje Oosterhuis, one of the country's most well known and versatile singers, has made multiple albums with famous American composers Vince Mendoza and Burt Bacharach. Early 1990s Dutch and Belgium, Belgian house music came together in Eurodance project 2 Unlimited. Selling 18 million records, the two singers in the band are the most successful Dutch music artists to this day. Tracks like "Get Ready for This" are still popular themes of U.S. sports events, like the NHL. In the mid 1990s Dutch language Hip hop music, rap and hip hop (''Dutch hip hop, Nederhop'') also came to fruition and has become popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. Artists with North African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern origins have strongly influenced this genre. Since the 1990s, Dutch electronic dance music (EDM) gained widespread popularity in the world in many forms, from trance music, trance, techno and gabber to hardstyle. Some of the world's best known dance music DJs hail from the Netherlands, including Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Dash Berlin, Julian Jordan, Nicky Romero, W&W, Don Diablo, Ummet Ozcan, Sander van Doorn and Afrojack; the first four of which have been ranked as best in the world by DJ Mag Top 100 DJs. The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is the world's leading electronic music conference and the biggest club festival for the many electronic subgenres on the planet. These DJs also contribute to the world's mainstream pop music, as they frequently collaborate and produce for high-profile international artists. The Netherlands have Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest, participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since its first edition in 1956, and have won five times. Their most recent win was in Eurovision Song Contest 2019, 2019. In classical music, Jan Sweelinck ranks as the Dutch most famous composer, with Louis Andriessen amongst the best known living Dutch classical composers. Ton Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Notable violinists are Janine Jansen and André Rieu. The latter, together with his Johann Strauss Orchestra, has taken classical and waltz (music), waltz music on worldwide concert tours, the size and revenue of which are otherwise only seen from the world's biggest rock and pop music acts. The most famous Dutch classical composition is "Canto Ostinato" by Simeon ten Holt, a minimalistic composition for multiple instruments. Acclaimed harpist Lavinia Meijer in 2012 released an album with works from Philip Glass that she transcribed for harp, with approval of Glass himself. The Concertgebouw (completed in 1888) in Amsterdam is home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, considered one of the world's finest orchestras.


Film and television

Some Dutch films – mainly by director Paul Verhoeven – have received international distribution and recognition, such as ''Turkish Delight (1973 film), Turkish Delight'' ("''Turks Fruit''", 1973), ''Soldier of Orange'' ("''Soldaat van Oranje''", 1977), ''Spetters'' (1980) and ''The Fourth Man (1983 film), The Fourth Man'' ("''De Vierde Man''", 1983). Verhoeven then went on to direct big Cinema of the United States, Hollywood movies like ''RoboCop'' (1987), ''Total Recall (1990 film), Total Recall'' (1990) and ''Basic Instinct'' (1992), and returned with Dutch film ''Black Book (film), Black Book'' ("''Zwartboek''", 2006). Other well-known Dutch film directors are Jan de Bont (''Speed (1994 film), Speed''), Anton Corbijn (''A Most Wanted Man (film), A Most wanted Man''), Dick Maas (''De Lift''), Fons Rademakers (''The Assault (1986 film), The Assault''), and documentary makers Bert Haanstra and Joris Ivens. Film director Theo van Gogh (film director), Theo van Gogh achieved international notoriety in 2004 when he was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri in the streets of Amsterdam after directing the short film ''Submission (2004 film), Submission''. Internationally, successful directors of photography from the Netherlands are Hoyte van Hoytema (''Interstellar (film), Interstellar'', ''Spectre (2015 film), Spectre'', ''Dunkirk (2017 film), Dunkirk'') and Theo van de Sande (''Wayne's World'' and ''Blade (film), Blade''). Van Hoytema went to the National Film School in Łódź (Poland) and Van de Sande went to the Netherlands Film Academy. Internationally successful Dutch actors include Famke Janssen (X-Men (film series), ''X-Men''), Carice van Houten (''Game of Thrones''), Michiel Huisman (''Game of Thrones''), Rutger Hauer (''Blade Runner''), Jeroen Krabbé (''The Living Daylights'') and Derek de Lint (''Three Men and a Baby''). The Netherlands has a well developed television market, with both multiple commercial and public broadcasters. Imported TV programmes, as well as interviews with responses in a foreign language, are virtually always shown with the original sound and subtitled. Only foreign shows for children are dubbed.
Webcasting Worldwide: Business Models of an Emerging Global Medium
'. Routledge; 2013. . p. 101–103.
TV exports from the Netherlands mostly take the form of specific formats and franchises, most notably through internationally active TV production conglomerate Endemol, founded by Dutch Mass media, media Business magnate, tycoons John de Mol Jr., John de Mol and Joop van den Ende. Headquartered in
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
, Endemol has around 90 companies in over 30 countries. Endemol and its subsidiaries create and run reality, talent, and game show franchises worldwide, including ''Big Brother (TV series), Big Brother'' and ''Deal or No Deal''. John de Mol later started his own company Tien (TV channel), Talpa which created show franchises like The Voice (TV series), ''The Voice'' and ''Utopia (U.S. reality TV series), Utopia''.


Sports

Approximately 4.5 million of the 16.8 million people in the Netherlands are registered to one of the 35,000 sports clubs in the country. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly. Association football, Football is the most popular participant sport in the Netherlands, before field hockey and volleyball as the second and third most popular team sports. The
Netherlands national football team The Netherlands national football team ( nl, Het Nederlands Elftal) has represented the Netherlands in international men's Association football, football matches since 1905. The national team is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association ...
is one of the most popular aspects of Dutch sports; especially since the 1970s when one of the greatest footballers of all time, Johan Cruyff, developed Total Football with coach Rinus Michels. Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual sports. Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Federations for sports were established (such as the speed skating federation in 1882), rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence. A NOC*NSF, Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in 1912. Thus far, the nation has won 266 medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another 110 medals at the Winter Olympic Games. In international competition, Dutch national teams and athletes are dominant in several fields of sport. The Netherlands women's national field hockey team, Netherlands women's field hockey team is the most successful team in Women's Hockey World Cup, World Cup history. The Netherlands national baseball team, Netherlands baseball team have won the European Baseball Championship, European championship 20 times out of 32 events. Dutch K-1 Kickboxing, kickboxers have won the K-1 World Grand Prix 15 times out of 19 tournaments. The Netherlands women's national handball team, Netherlands Women's handball team holds the record of the only team in the world that consecutively reached all six semifinals of major international tournaments since 2015, winning silver and bronze at the European Women's Handball Championship and silver, bronze and gold at the World Women's Handball Championship. They finished fourth at the Handball at the 2016 Summer Olympics, 2016 Summer Olympics. The Dutch Speed skating, speed skaters' performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics, where they won 8 out of 12 events, 23 out of 36 medals, including 4 clean sweeps, is the most dominant performance in a single sport in Olympic history. Motorcycle racing at the TT Circuit Assen has a long history. Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in 1949. The circuit was purpose-built for the Dutch TT in 1954, with previous events having been held on public roads. The Dutch have also had success in all three of cyclings Grand Tours with Jan Janssen winning the 1968 Tour de France, more recently with Tom Dumoulin winning the 2017 Giro d'Italia and legendary rider Joop Zoetemelk was the 1985 UCI World Champion, the winner of the 1979 Vuelta a Espana, the 1980 Tour de France and still holds or shares numerous Tour de France records including most Tours finished and most kilometres ridden. Max Verstappen currently races in Formula One, and 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, was the first Dutchman to win a Grand Prix, and 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was the first Dutchman to win a Formula One World Drivers Championship. He was also the youngest driver to make his debut at the age of 17, and became the youngest race winner at the age of 18. The coastal resort of Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from 1958 to 1985. The race returned to Zandvoort for the 2021 season after major renovations, and was won by the Dutchman, Max Verstappen, becoming the first driver with a Dutch nationality to win the Dutch Grand Prix. The Netherlands men's national volleyball team, volleyball national men's team has also been successful, winning the silver medal at the Volleyball at the 1992 Summer Olympics, 1992 Summer Olympics and the gold medal Volleyball at the 1996 Summer Olympics, four years later in Atlanta. The biggest success of the Netherlands women's national volleyball team, women's national team was winning the 1995 Women's European Volleyball Championship, European Championship in 1995 and the 2007 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, World Grand Prix in 2007. Recently cricket has made a remarkable progress in the Netherlands. Netherlands have participated in 1996, 2003, 2007 and 2011 ODI cricket World Cup. They have also qualified for 2009 and 2014 T20 World Cup. In the 2009 T20 World Cup, Netherlands defeated England, the current World Champions and inventor of the game. Ryan ten Doeschate is the only Dutch player to have played in the Indian Premier League, IPL on the team Kolkata Knight Riders.


Cuisine

Originally, the country's cuisine was shaped by the practices of fishing and farming, including the cultivation of the soil for growing crops and raising domesticated animals. Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, and contains many dairy products. Breakfast and lunch are typically bread with toppings, with cereal for breakfast as an alternative. Traditionally, dinner consists of potatoes, a portion of meat, and (seasonal) vegetables. The Dutch diet was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the labourers whose culture moulded the country. Without many refinements, it is best described as rustic, though many holidays are still celebrated with special foods. In the course of the twentieth century this diet changed and became much more Multiculturalism, cosmopolitan, with most global cuisines being represented in the major cities. Modern culinary writers distinguish between three general regional forms of Dutch cuisine. The regions in the northeast of the Netherlands, roughly the provinces of
Groningen Groningen ( , , , ; gos, Grunn or ) is the capital city and main municipality of Groningen province Groningen (; gos, Grunn; fry, Grinslân) is the northeasternmost Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands. It borders on ...
,
Friesland Friesland ( , , ; official fry, Fryslân ), historically known as Frisia, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administra ...

Friesland
,
Drenthe Drenthe () is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as wel ...

Drenthe
, Overijssel and Gelderland north of the Grote rivieren, great rivers are the least populated areas of the Netherlands. The late (18th century) introduction of large scale agriculture means that the cuisine is generally known for its many kinds of meats. The relative lack of farms allowed for an abundance of game (meat), game and Animal husbandry, husbandry, though dishes near the coastal regions of Friesland, Groningen and the parts of Overijssel bordering the IJsselmeer also include a large amount of fish. The various dried sausages, belonging to the metworst-family of Dutch sausages are found throughout this region and are highly prized for their often very strong taste. Also smoked sausages are common, of which (''Gelderse'') ''rookworst'' is the most renowned. The sausage contains a lot of fat and is very juicy. Larger sausages are often eaten alongside ''stamppot'', ''hutspot'' or ''zuurkool'' (sauerkraut); whereas smaller ones are often eaten as a street food. The provinces are also home to hard textured rye bread, pastries and cookies, the latter heavily spiced with ginger or succade or containing small bits of meat. Various kinds of ''Kruidkoek'' (such as :nl:Groninger koek, Groninger koek), '':nl:Fryske dúmkes, Fryske dúmkes'' and '':nl:spekdik, spekdikken'' (small savoury pancakes cooked in a waffle iron) are considered typical. A notable characteristic of ''Fries roggebrood'' (Frisian rye bread) is its long baking time (up to 20 hours), resulting in a sweet taste and a deep dark colour. In terms of alcoholic beverages, the region is renowned for its many bitters (such as ''Beerenburg'') and other high-proof liquors rather than beer, which is, apart from ''Jenever'', typical for the rest of the country. As a coastal region, Friesland is home to low-lying grasslands, and thus has a cheese production in common with the Western cuisine. ''Friese Nagelkaas'' (Friesian Clove) is a notable example. The provinces of North Holland,
South Holland South Holland ( nl, Zuid-Holland ) is a Provinces of the Netherlands, province of the Netherlands with a population of over 3.7 million as of October 2021 and a population density of about , making it the country's most populous province and on ...
, Zeeland, and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...
and the Gelderlandic area of Betuwe make up the region in which western Dutch cuisine is found. Because of the abundance of water and flat grasslands that are found here, the area is known for its many dairy products, which include prominent cheeses such as Gouda (cheese), Gouda, Leyden cheese, Leyden (spiced cheese with cumin), and Edam (cheese), Edam (traditionally in small spheres) as well as Leerdammer and Beemster Cheese, Beemster, while the adjacent Zaanstreek in North Holland has since the 16th century been known for its mayonnaise, typical whole-grain mustard (condiment), mustards, and chocolate industry. Zeeland and South Holland produce a lot of butter, which contains a larger amount of milkfat than most other European butter varieties. A by-product of the butter-making process, ''karnemelk'' (buttermilk), is also considered typical for this region. Seafood such as soused herring, Blue mussel, mussels (called ''Zeeuwse Mossels'', since all Dutch mussels for consumption are cleaned in Zeeland's Oosterschelde), European eel, eels, oysters and shrimps are widely available and typical for the region. '':nl:Kibbeling, Kibbeling'', once a local delicacy consisting of small chunks of battered Whitefish (fisheries term), white fish, has become a national fast food, just as :nl:Lekkerbekje, lekkerbek. Pastries in this area tend to be quite doughy, and often contain large amounts of sugar; either caramelised, powdered or crystallised. The ''oliebol'' (in its modern form) and ''Zeeuwse bolus'' are good examples. Cookies are also produced in great number and tend to contain a lot of butter and sugar, like ''stroopwafel'', as well as a filling of some kind, mostly almond, like '':nl:Gevulde koek, gevulde koek''. The traditional alcoholic beverages of this region are beer (strong pale lager) and ''Jenever'', a high proof juniper-flavoured spirit, that came to be known in England as gin. A noted exception within the traditional Dutch alcoholic landscape, ''Advocaat'', a rich and creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy, is also native to this region. The Southern Dutch cuisine consists of the cuisines of the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Limburg (Netherlands), Limburg and the Flemish Region in
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
. It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetable dishes and is often called Burgundian which is a Dutch idiom invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages, renowned for its splendour and great feasts. It is the only Dutch culinary region that developed an haute cuisine. Pastries are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits. Cakes, such as the ''Vlaai'' from Limburg and the ''Moorkop'' and ''Bossche Bol'' from Brabant, are typical pastries. Savoury pastries also occur, with the (a roll with a sausage of ground beef, literally translates into sausage bread) being the most popular. The traditional alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands, ranging from ''Trappist beer, Trappist'' to ''Kriek lambic, Kriek''. 5 of the 10 ''International Trappist Association'' recognised breweries in the world, are located in the Southern Dutch cultural area. Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is also used in cooking; often in stews. In early 2014, Oxfam ranked the Netherlands as the country with the most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food, in a comparison of 125 countries.


Colonial heritage

From the exploitations in the
Mughal Empire The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, ge ...
in the 17th century, to the New Imperialism, colonisations in the 19th century, Dutch Empire, Dutch imperial possessions continued to expand, reaching their greatest extent by establishing a hegemony of the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administer ...
in the early 20th century. The Dutch East Indies, which later formed modern-day Indonesia, was one of the most valuable European colonies in the world and the most important one for the Netherlands. Over 350 years of mutual heritage has left a significant cultural mark on the Netherlands. In the
Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1588 (the birth of the Dutch Republic) to 1672 (the Rampjaar, "Disaster Year"), in which Dutch trade, science, and Dutch art, ...
of the 17th century, the Netherlands urbanised considerably, mostly financed by corporate revenue from the Asian trade monopolies. Social status was based on merchants' income, which reduced feudalism and considerably changed the dynamics of Dutch society. When the Monarchy of the Netherlands, Dutch royal family was established in 1815, much of its wealth came from Colonial trade. By the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company established their base in parts of Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka). Afterward, they established ports in Dutch Malabar, Dutch occupied Malabar, leading to Dutch India, Dutch settlements and trading posts in India. However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Travancore, Kingdom of Travancore, during the Travancore-Dutch War. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to
Bengal Subah The Bengal Subah (also known as Mughal Bengal) was the largest subdivision Subdivision may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Subdivision (metre), in music * Subdivision (film), ''Subdivision'' (film), 2009 * "Subdivision", an episode of Prison ...
. Universities such as the Leiden University, founded in the 16th century, have developed into leading knowledge centres for Southeast Asian and Indonesian studies. Leiden University has produced leading academics such as Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, and still has academics who specialise in Indonesian languages and cultures. Leiden University and in particular KITLV are educational and scientific institutions that to this day share both an intellectual and historical interest in Indonesian studies. Other scientific institutions in the Netherlands include the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum, an anthropological museum with massive collections of Indonesian art, culture, ethnography and anthropology. The traditions of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) are maintained by the Regiment Van Heutsz of the modern Royal Netherlands Army. A dedicated ''Bronbeek Museum'', a former home for retired KNIL soldiers, exists in Arnhem to this day. A specific segment of Dutch literature called Dutch Indies literature still exists and includes established authors, such as Louis Couperus, the writer of "The Hidden Force", taking the colonial era as an important source of inspiration. One of the great masterpieces of Dutch literature is the book "Max Havelaar", written by Multatuli in 1860. The majority of Dutchmen that repatriated to the Netherlands after and during the Indonesian revolution are Indo people, Indo (Eurasian), native to the islands of the Dutch East Indies. This relatively large Eurasian population had developed over a period of 400 years and were classified by colonial law as belonging to the European legal community. In Dutch they are referred to as ''Indische Nederlanders'' or as Indo (short for Indo-European). Including their second generation descendants, Indos are currently the largest foreign-born group in the Netherlands. In 2008, the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) registered 387,000 first- and second-generation Indos living in the Netherlands. Although considered fully assimilated into Dutch society, as the main ethnic minority in the Netherlands, these 'repatriants' have played a pivotal role in introducing elements of Indonesian culture into Dutch mainstream culture. Many Indonesian dishes and foodstuffs have become commonplace in the Netherlands. Rijsttafel, a colonial culinary concept, and dishes such as Nasi goreng and satay are very popular in the country. Practically any town of any size in the Netherlands has a "toko" (a Dutch Indonesian Shop) or a Chinese-Indonesian restaurant,Overview website (incomplete)
Indisch-eten.startpagina.nl. Retrieved on 21 August 2012.
and many 'Pasar Malam' (Night market in Malay/Indonesian) fairs are organised throughout the year.


See also

* Outline of the Netherlands


Notes


References


Further reading

; Geography and environment * Burke, Gerald L. ''The making of Dutch towns: A study in urban development from the 10th–17th centuries'' (1960) * Lambert, Audrey M. ''The Making of the Dutch Landscape: An Historical Geography of the Netherlands'' (1985); focus on the history of land reclamation * Meijer, Henk. ''Compact geography of the Netherlands'' (1985) * Riley, R. C., and G. J. Ashworth. ''Benelux: An Economic Geography of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg'' (1975
online
; History * Paul Arblaster. ''A History of the Low Countries''. Palgrave Essential Histories Series New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 298 pp. . * J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts, eds. ''History of the Low Countries'' (1998) * Jonathan Israel. ''The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477–1806'' (1995) * J. A. Kossmann-Putto and E. H. Kossmann. ''The Low Countries: History of the Northern and Southern Netherlands'' (1987) * Amry Vandenbosch, ''Dutch Foreign Policy since 1815'' (1959). ; Economic indicators
Holland Compared 2nd edition 2017
– 95 page booklet by Holland's commercial website, with facts and figures about the Netherlands, comparing the country's economic indicators with those of other countries.


External links

; Articles * * ; General information
Netherlands
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Netherlands
from UCB Libraries GovPubs *
I am Expat – General information about the Netherlands


* [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17740800 Netherlands profile] from the BBC News * *
Key Development Forecasts for the Netherlands
from International Futures ; Government
Overheid.nl
– official Dutch government portal
Government.nl
– official Dutch government web site

(CBS) – Key figures from the Dutch bureau of statistics * ; Travel
Holland.com
– English website of the Netherlands tourist office

– Organisation responsible for promoting the Netherlands nationally and internationally ; Photographs

{{Authority control Netherlands, Dutch-speaking countries and territories Germanic countries and territories Kingdom of the Netherlands Member states of the Dutch Language Union Member states of the Union for the Mediterranean Western European countries Countries in Europe States and territories established in 1815 Transcontinental countries