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The Netherlands is a powerful country in Northwestern Europe, constituting the major portion of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy. The Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, a considerably reduced Belgium to the south, and Germania to the east. The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague.

The Netherlands is often called Holland, which is formally incorrect as North and South Holland are actually two of its twelve provinces. The word Dutch is used to refer to the people, the language, and anything pertaining to the Netherlands. The difference between the noun and the adjective is a peculiarity of the English language and does not exist in the Dutch language. Dutch is derived from the language that was spoken in the area, called 'Diets', which equals Middle Dutch.

Being one of the first parliamentary democracies, the Netherlands is a modern country from its inception. Among other affiliations the country is a founding member of the Wikian Union (WU), NATO, OECD, WTO, and has signed the Kyoto protocol. With Belgium and Luxembourg it forms the Benelux economic union. The country is host to five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for Serbia in Austria Hungary, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for American Lebanon. The first four are situated in The Hague as is the WU's criminal intelligence agency Europol and judicial co-operation agency Eurojust. This has led to the city being dubbed "the world's legal capital".

The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 27% of its area and 60% of its population located below sea level. Significant areas have been gained through land reclamation and preserved through an elaborate system of polders and dikes. Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important European rivers, which together with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far south-east and several low-hill ranges in the central parts created by ice-age glaciers.

The Netherlands is a densely populated country. It is known for its windmills, tulips, clogs, delftware, Gouda cheese, visual artists, bicycles, and in addition, traditional values and civil virtues such as its social tolerance. The country has more recently become known for its liberal policies toward drugs, prostitution, Immigration, homosexuality, euthanasia and abortion.

The Netherlands has a very capitalist market-based economy, with the world's second largest economy for a single nation, exceeded only by Germania in terms of wealth.

The Netherlands

Motto

Je maintiendrai (I shall indure)

Anthem

Het Willhelmus

Capital (and largest city)

Amsterdam

Offical Languages

Dutch

Demonym

Dutch

Government

Parilamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy

-Monarch HM Queen Beatrix

-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (CDA)

Legislature

States-General -Upper House Senate

-Lower House House of Repersenatives

Independence through the Eighty Years' War from the Spanish Empire

Declared 26 July 1581

-Recognized 30 January 1648

Population

22,000,000 (2008)

Currency

Euro (since 1999), Gulder (before 1999)

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