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Das Königreich der Niederlande, niederländisch Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, französisch Royaume des Pays-Bas, englisch Kingdom of the Netherlands, friesisch Keninkryk fan de Nederlannen, auf Papiamento Reino Hulandes, ist ein Staat in Europa und in. Die Niederlande (im Deutschen Plural; niederländisch Nederland und friesisch Nederlân, Singular) sind eines der vier autonomen Länder des Königreiches der​. Logo Köningreich der Niederlande. Sie befinden sich hier: Die Niederlande weltweit. Menü. Reisen · Leben und Arbeiten · Für Unternehmer · Länder · Hilfe in​. Jahrhundert. Botschaft des Königreichs der Niederlande in Berlin. Klosterstraße 50; Berlin. Weitere Kontaktinformationen. Alle niederländischen. Sie befinden sich hier: Sie und die Niederlande Menü. Reisen und Wohnen · Für Unternehmer · Ihr Land und die Niederlande · Über die Niederlande · Kontakt.

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Transport Mobility, public transport and road safety, Eco-friendly fuels for transport, Drones Work Minimum wage, Legalising documents, Health and safety at the workplace Information from the Government of The Netherlands.

Requirements for photos. World Press Freedom Conference. Shell and Eneco to build third unsubsidised Dutch offshore wind farm CrossWind, a consortium comprising Shell and Eneco, is going to build and operate the third unsubsidised wind farm in the Dutch Possession of paedophiles' charter to become punishable by up to four years' imprisonment The dissemination, acquisition and possession of instruction manuals containing tips and tricks for sexually abusing children The project started in and was largely completed in with the completion of the Maeslantkering.

Since then, new projects have been periodically started to renovate and renew the Delta Works. A main goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in South Holland and Zeeland to once per 10, years compared to 1 per years for the rest of the country.

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 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 1. The plan encompasses the reinforcement of the existing coastal defences like dikes and dunes with 1.

Climate change will not only threaten the Netherlands from the sea side, but could also alter rainfall patterns and river run-off.

To protect the country from river flooding, another program is already being executed. The 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.

The predominant wind direction in the European Netherlands is southwest, which causes a mild 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.

On average, snow can occur from November to April, but sometimes occurs in May or October too. 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 highest recorded temperature was an established on 25 July The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves, that include lakes , heathland , woods , dunes and other habitats.

Most of these are owned by Staatsbosbeheer , the national department for forestry and nature conservation and Natuurmonumenten literally 'Natures monuments' , a private organisation that buys, protects and manages nature reserves.

It consists primarily of the salt waters of the Oosterschelde, but also includes mud flats, meadows, and shoals. Because of the large variety of sea life, including unique regional species, the park is popular with Scuba divers.

Other activities include sailing, fishing, cycling, and bird watching. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature , the European territory of the Netherlands belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests.

In , 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.

Virgin Islands. 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.

The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since , and due to the efforts of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke , [] became a parliamentary democracy since 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 , The Economist ranked the Netherlands as the 11th most democratic country in the world. The 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 power is formed by the Council of Ministers , the deliberative organ of the Dutch cabinet. The cabinet usually consists of 13 to 16 ministers and a varying number of state secretaries.

One to three ministers are 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 has been Prime Minister since October ; the Prime Minister had been the leader of the largest party continuously since The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament , the States General , which also has legislative powers.

The members of the 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 are directly elected every four years as well. The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the Senate , 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. 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. In the late 19th century this Dutch tradition of religious tolerance transformed into a system of pillarisation , in which religious groups coexisted separately and only interacted at the level of government.

This tradition of tolerance influences Dutch criminal justice policies on recreational drugs , prostitution , LGBT rights , euthanasia , and abortion , which are among the most liberal in the world.

Because of the multi-party system , no single party has held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, as a result, coalition cabinets had to be formed.

Since suffrage became universal in , the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest of which were the Christian Democrats , currently represented by the Christian Democratic Appeal CDA ; second were the Social Democrats , represented by the Labour Party PvdA ; and third were the 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 s, the party system became more volatile: the Christian Democratic parties lost seats, while new parties became successful, such as the radical democrat and progressive liberal Democrats 66 D66 or the ecologist party GroenLinks GL.

In the election , the CDA lost its dominant position. In the elections , this cabinet lost its majority, because of an increased support for the CDA and the rise of the right LPF , a new political party, around Pim Fortuyn , who was assassinated a week before the elections.

The cabinet initiated an ambitious programme of reforming the welfare state , the healthcare system , and immigration policy. In these elections, the CDA remained the largest party and the Socialist Party made the largest gains.

The big winner of the elections was Geert Wilders , whose right wing PVV , [] [] the ideological successor to the LPF , more than doubled its number of seats.

This unprecedented minority government was supported by PVV, but proved ultimately to be unstable, [] when on 21 April , Wilders, leader of PVV, unexpectedly 'torpedoed seven weeks of austerity talks' on new austerity measures, paving the way for early elections.

On 5 November they formed the second Rutte cabinet. The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces, each under a King's Commissioner Commissaris van de Koning.

Informally in Limburg province this position is named Governor Gouverneur. All provinces are divided into municipalities gemeenten , of which there are The country is also subdivided into 21 water districts as of , governed by a water board waterschap or hoogheemraadschap , each having authority in matters concerning water management.

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 4 years.

The administrative structure on the 3 BES islands, collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands , is outside the twelve provinces. These islands have the status of openbare lichamen public bodies.

The Netherlands has several Belgian exclaves [] and within those even several enclaves which are part of the province of North Brabant.

Because the Netherlands and Belgium are both in the Benelux , and more recently in the Schengen Area , citizens of respective countries can travel through these enclaves without controls.

The history of Dutch foreign policy has been characterised by its neutrality. 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 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 liberal policy towards soft drugs. During and after the Dutch Golden Age , the Dutch people built up a commercial and colonial empire.

The most important colonies were present-day Suriname and Indonesia. Indonesia became independent after the Indonesian National Revolution in the s following a war of independence, international pressure and several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Suriname became independent in 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. The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau in the late s.

The Dutch army was used throughout the Dutch Empire. After the defeat of Napoleon, the Dutch army was transformed into a conscription army.

The army was unsuccessfully deployed during the Belgian Revolution in After , it was deployed mainly in the Dutch colonies, as the Netherlands remained neutral in European wars including the First World War , until the Netherlands was invaded in World War II and defeated by the Wehrmacht in May In conscription was suspended, and the Dutch army was once again transformed into a professional army.

Since the s 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 Afghanistan.

The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke Royal :. The submarine service is open to women as of 1 January 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 Netherlands has ratified many international conventions concerning war law. 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 a high level of economic freedom. The Netherlands is one of the top countries in the Global Enabling Trade Report 2nd in , and was ranked the fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development in Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector.

Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, trade, services and tourism.

The Netherlands has the 17th-largest economy in the world , and ranks 10th in GDP nominal per capita. Growth slowed considerably from to with the global economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4.

In May , inflation was at 2. In Q3 and Q4 , the Dutch economy contracted by 0. Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands.

It is situated near Dam Square in the city's centre. As a founding member of the euro , the Netherlands replaced for accounting purposes its former currency, the "gulden" guilder , on 1 January , along with 15 other adopters of the euro.

Actual euro coins and banknotes followed on 1 January One euro was equivalent to 2. In the 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 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 , 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. 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 , but in recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment.

The pace of job growth reached year highs in The Netherlands is the fourth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum 's Global Competitiveness Report.

Beginning in the s, 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.

Apart from coal and gas, the country has no mining resources. The last coal mine was closed in The Groningen gas field , one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren.

The cost of damage repairs, structural improvements to buildings, and compensation for home value decreases has been estimated at 6.

Around 35, homes are said to be affected. Netherlands is faced with future challenges as the energy supply is forecasted to fall short of the demand by the year in the gas sector.

This is attributed to the depletion of Netherlands's major gas field, Groningen, and the earthquakes that have hit the Groningen region.

Netherlands relies heavily on natural gas to provide energy. ON, Eneco and Delta that have significant influence over the energy policy. 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. The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports.

One-third of the world's exports of 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.

Mobility on Dutch roads has grown continuously since the s and now exceeds billion km travelled per year, [] three quarters of which are done by car.

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Government of the Netherlands initiated a plan to establish over recharging stations for electric vehicles across the country.

The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and Dutch startup Fastned , and will aim to provide at least one station within a kilometre radius 30 miles from every home in the Netherlands.

Trains are frequent, with two trains per hour on lesser lines, [i] two to four trains per hour on average, and up to eight trains an hour on the busiest lines.

Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. Almost as many kilometres are covered by bicycle as by train. There are large bicycle parking facilities, particularly in city centres and at train stations.

The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel , Switzerland, and into Germany and France.

As of [update] , Rotterdam was the world's eighth largest container port handling The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas.

From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. In , the Betuweroute , a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed.

Schiphol Airport , just southwest of Amsterdam, is the main international airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.

In , the Royal Schiphol Group airports handled 70 million passengers. The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,, as of 31 May It is the 64th most populous country in the world.

Between and , the country's population almost doubled from 5. From to , the population further increased, to The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.

According to a estimate, the population was The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, by nationality, [] with an average height of 1. According to Eurostat , in there were 1.

Of these, 1. According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in , 28 percent of the Dutch population had a spendable income above 45, euros which does not include spending on health care or education.

The official language is Dutch , which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. 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 Low Saxon Nedersaksisch in Dutch. Low Saxon consists of several dialects spoken in the north and east, like Tweants in the region of Twente , and Drents in the province of Drenthe.

Secondly, Limburgish 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.

Ripuarian language , which is spoken in Kerkrade and Vaals in the form of, respectively, the Kerkrade dialect and the Vaals dialect [] [] is not recognised as a regional language of the Netherlands.

These dialects are however sometimes considered to be a part of or related to Limburgish. English has a formal status in the special municipalities of Saba and Sint Eustatius.

It is widely spoken on these islands. Papiamento has a formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire.

Yiddish and the Romani language were recognised in as non-territorial languages. In higher level secondary schools HAVO and 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 French and German , although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Chinese , Spanish , Russian , Italian , Turkish or Arabic.

Religious identification in the Netherlands [3]. The Dutch are one of the least religious people in the world. Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity until late into the 20th century.

Although religious diversity remains, there has been a decline of religious adherence. In , Statistics Netherlands , the Dutch governmental institution that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands, found that Groups that represent the non-religious in the Netherlands include Humanistisch Verbond.

Christians comprised the Islam comprised the 4. 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 Roman Catholic and various Protestant. By , Protestantism shrunk demographically to equal Roman Catholicism, and going onwards, both Christian branches began to decline.

There is one major exception: Islam which grew considerably as the result of immigration. Since the year there has been raised awareness of religion, mainly due to Muslim extremism.

The Dutch royal family has been traditionally associated with Calvinism , specifically the disestablished and now non-existent Dutch Reformed Church which merged into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Reformed Church has been the only major Protestant church in the Netherlands from the Protestant Reformation up until the 19th century.

It encompassed the vast majority of Protestants in the Reformed tradition until a series of splits in and in diversified Dutch Calvinism.

In , a Roman Catholic became Queen consort. Christianity is currently the largest religion in the Netherlands. The provinces of North Brabant and Limburg have historically been strongly Roman Catholic, and some of their people might still consider the Catholic Church as a base for their cultural identity.

Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. Several orthodox Reformed 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 from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel , in which Protestant particularly Reformed beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.

Islam is the second largest religion in the state. This included migrant workers from Turkey and Morocco , as well as migrants from former Dutch colonies , such as Surinam and Indonesia.

Most of these are Indo-Surinamese. There are also sizable populations of Hindu immigrants from India and Sri Lanka , and some Western adherents of Hinduism-oriented new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas.

The Netherlands has an estimated , Buddhists or people strongly attracted to this religion, mainly ethnic Dutch people. There are about 45, Jews in the Netherlands.

Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from on average ages 4 to 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 VMBO has 4 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 primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree.

The HBO higher professional education are universities of professional education applied sciences that award professional bachelor's degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees.

A HBO degree gives access to the university system. The VWO comprising atheneum and gymnasium has 6 grades and prepares for studying at a research university.

Universities offer of 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 program.

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, euros a year for students from the Netherlands and the European Union.

The amount is about 10, euros for non-EU students. In , 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 of a maximum 1, points.

The Netherlands has been among the top three countries in each report published since 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.

Ever since a major reform of the health care system in , 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:. 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.

Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January 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.

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. 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 equalisation and a common risk pool.

Children under 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive compensation to help them pay their insurance.

The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. Escher is a well-known graphics artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in Rotterdam , although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist.

The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens — discovered Saturn 's 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 single-celled organisms with a microscope. 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. Anne Frank 's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she was murdered in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.

The traditional Dutch architecture is especially valued in Amsterdam , Delft and Leiden , with 17 and 18th century buildings along the canals.

Smaller village architecture with wooden houses is found in Zaandam and Marken. A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang , China.

Windmills , tulips , wooden shoes , cheese, Delftware pottery, and cannabis are among the items associated with the Netherlands by tourists.

The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is regarded as a liberal country, considering its drug policy and its legalisation of euthanasia.

On 1 April , the Netherlands became the first nation to legalise same-sex marriage. Dutch society is egalitarian and modern.

The Dutch have an aversion to the non-essential. The Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage , rich history in art and involvement in 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.

Asking about basic rules will not be considered impolite. The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries of Europe, and religion is in the Netherlands generally considered as a personal matter which is not supposed to be propagated in public, although it often remains a discussion subject.

Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch. The goal of the Dutch Government is to have a sustainable , reliable and affordable energy system, by , in which CO 2 emissions have been halved and 40 percent of electricity is derived from sustainable sources.

The government is investing billions of euros in energy efficiency , sustainable energy and CO 2 reduction.

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.

These songs typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward structure of couplets 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.

Contemporary Dutch rock and pop music Nederpop originated in the s, heavily influenced by popular music from the United States and Britain.

In the s and s the lyrics were mostly in English, and some tracks were instrumental. As of the s, 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. 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 s Dutch and 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. In the mid s Dutch language rap and hip hop Nederhop also came to fruition and has become popular in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Since the s, Dutch electronic dance music EDM gained widespread popularity in the world in many forms, from trance , techno and gabber to hardstyle.

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.

The Netherlands have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since its first edition in , and have won five times.

Their most recent win was in 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. The latter, together with his Johann Strauss Orchestra , has taken classical and 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.

Film director Theo van Gogh achieved international notoriety in when he was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri in the streets of Amsterdam after directing the short film Submission.

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. 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 media tycoons John de Mol and Joop van den Ende.

Headquartered in 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 and Deal or No Deal.

John de Mol later started his own company Talpa which created show franchises like The Voice and Utopia. Approximately 4.

About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly. The Netherlands national football team is one of the most popular aspects of Dutch sports; especially since the s 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 , rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence.

A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in Thus far, the nation has won medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another 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 field hockey team is the most successful team in World Cup history.

The Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times out of 32 events. The Dutch speed skaters' performance at the 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 The circuit was purpose-built for the Dutch TT in , with previous events having been held on public roads.

The coastal resort of Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from to , and has been announced to return in The biggest success of the women's national team was winning the European Championship in and the World Grand Prix in Recently cricket has made a remarkable progress in the Netherlands.

They have also qualified for and T20 World Cup. 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.

If your question is not listed, please call the Chamber of Commerce Advisory Team: , open Mon-Fri from The Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, has decided to ease the travel ban on the entry of partners from As of 1 July , the Netherlands has lifted the travel ban for certain groups of travellers, allowing permanent long-term

Die flachen Gebiete werden in der Regel durch Deiche vor Sturmfluten geschützt, die insgesamt eine Länge von etwa 3. Teile der Niederlande, wie zum Beispiel fast die gesamte Provinz Flevoland , wurden durch Landgewinnung dem Meer abgewonnen.

Sie werden als Polder an der deutschen Nordseeküste Koog oder Groden bezeichnet. Von der Schelde liegt lediglich ihr Mündungsbereich nördlich des belgischen Antwerpen in den Niederlanden.

Besonders im Westen des Landes, an der Nordseeküste, ist das Klima stärker atlantisch geprägt milde Winter, kühle Sommer. Die Niederlande gehören mit Februar pro Quadratkilometer Landfläche Februar zählten die Niederlande In den Niederlanden leben zwischen 6.

Sie werden abschätzig auch kampers genannt, bevorzugen selbst die Bezeichnung reizigers. Sie leben ortsfest auf Standplätzen in stationären Caravans.

Viele üben ambulante Erwerbstätigkeiten aus. Ganz überwiegend gehen sie auf verarmte niederländische Bauern, Landarbeiter und Torfstecher des Jahrhunderts zurück.

Die gruppeninterne Sprache Bargoens ist eine niederländisch basierte Sondersprache, die mit dem deutschen Rotwelsch oder Jenisch vergleichbar ist.

In die Niederlande sind Menschen aus der ganzen Welt eingewandert. Abgesehen von vielen Zugezogenen aus den Nachbarstaaten u.

Die Amtssprache im gesamten Staat ist die niederländische Sprache Standardniederländisch , die aus niederfränkischen Mundarten in den Niederlanden niederländische Dialekte entstanden ist.

In der südwestlichen Hälfte des Landes werden niederfränkische Mundarten gesprochen. Niederfränkische, ripuarische und niedersächsische Mundarten werden im Dialektkontinuum staatsübergreifend auch in Deutschland gesprochen, niederfränkische und ripuarische Dialekte auch in Belgien.

In den überseeischen Reichsteilen in der Karibik ist Niederländisch Amtssprache, neben entweder Papiamento oder Englisch. Eine Abzweigung des Niederländischen, die inzwischen eine eigene Standardsprache darstellt, ist das Afrikaans in Südafrika und Namibia.

Die niederländische Bevölkerung gilt in Europa inzwischen als eine der am wenigsten religiös bzw. Hinsichtlich der Verteilung gibt es deutliche geographische Unterschiede.

Während sich im urban geprägten Westen vor allem Konfessionslose finden, gibt es im Süden den höchsten Anteil an Katholiken.

Durch Entkirchlichung wurde sie jedoch im Laufe des Die Protestanten sind in den Niederlanden überwiegend Calvinisten , nach dem vor allem in Genf wirkenden französischen Reformator im Jahrhundert, Johannes Calvin.

Heute ist der Calvinismus institutionell mit den Lutheranern in der Protestantischen Kirche in den Niederlanden vereinigt Unierte Kirche.

Im Seit einer Neuorganisation von gibt es die Protestantische Kirche in den Niederlanden, die beide Richtungen vereinen soll. Kleinere christliche Kirchen haben jeweils weniger als ein Prozent der Gesamtbevölkerung als Mitglieder.

Weiterhin gibt es die im Vatikanischen Konzil entstandenen Alt-Katholischen Kirchen abstammen. Insgesamt Katholiken, Protestanten und Orthodoxe lebten Ende 6.

Der Norden und der Westen des Landes waren traditionell protestantisch, während im Süden und Osten die Katholiken die Bevölkerungsmehrheit stellten und teilweise noch stellen.

In der Mitte des Landes gibt es einen sogenannten Bibelgürtel Bijbelgordel mit erhöhtem Anteil von gereformeerden. Nördlich und westlich des Bibelgürtels sind die Konfessionslosen deutlich in der Mehrheit.

Eine Kirchensteuer wird in den Niederlanden nicht erhoben. Der König ist reformierter Konfession hervormden. Wegen der synodalen Organisation calvinistischer Kirchen hat der Monarch allerdings keine formale Führungsrolle in der Niederländisch-reformierten Kirche inne, wie sie früher bei lutherischen Landesherren in Deutschland und Skandinavien anzutreffen war.

Die Niederlande gehören in jedem der seit veröffentlichten Berichte zu den drei führenden Ländern. Bei 48 Indikatoren wie Patientenrechten,-Information, Zugänglichkeit, Prävention und Ergebnissen haben die Niederlande zum sechsten Mal in Folge ihre Spitzenposition unter den 37 europäischen Ländern erreicht.

Der Unterschied zwischen den Niederlanden und anderen Ländern besteht darin, dass das Chaos bewältigt wird. Die Krankenversicherung in den Niederlanden ist obligatorisch.

Das Gesundheitswesen in den Niederlanden unterliegt zwei gesetzlichen Versicherungsformen:. Versicherer müssen für alle über 18 Jahre ein universelles Paket anbieten, unabhängig von Alter oder Gesundheitszustand.

Es ist verboten, einen Antrag abzulehnen oder besondere Bedingungen zu erlassen. Im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen europäischen Systemen ist die niederländische Regierung für die Zugänglichkeit und Qualität des Gesundheitssystems in den Niederlanden verantwortlich, jedoch nicht für deren Verwaltung.

Die Gesundheitsfürsorge in den Niederlanden kann auf verschiedene Weise aufgeteilt werden: in drei Stufen, in somatische und psychische Gesundheitsfürsorge sowie in Kur kurzzeitig und Pflege langfristig.

Das Gesundheitswesen in den Niederlanden wird durch ein duales System finanziert, das im Januar in Kraft getreten ist. Langzeitbehandlungen, insbesondere solche, bei denen ein halbpermanenter Krankenhausaufenthalt erforderlich ist, sowie Behinderungs kosten unterliegen einer staatlich kontrollierten obligatorischen Versicherung.

Zum 1. Für alle regulären kurzfristigen medizinischen Behandlungen gibt es eine obligatorische Krankenversicherung bei privaten Krankenversicherungen.

Diese Versicherungsunternehmen sind verpflichtet, ein Paket mit einer bestimmten Anzahl versicherter Behandlungen bereitzustellen.

In den Niederlanden kamen auf Einwohner ca. Quelle: UN [13]. In den Niederlanden ist die Schulpflicht im Alter zwischen 5 und 16 Jahren obligatorisch.

In der Praxis jedoch befreiten die Gerichte nach längeren Verfahren schon häufiger einzelne Eltern von der Schulpflicht ihrer Kinder, um stattdessen Hausunterricht oder Unschooling zu ermöglichen.

Ein gewichtiger Unterschied zum Schulsystem in Deutschland besteht darin, dass es jedem in den Niederlanden freisteht, aufgrund seiner Religion oder auf Basis bestimmter pädagogischer Grundlagen eigene — allerdings vom Staat finanzierte — Schulen zu gründen.

Daher verwundert es nicht, dass zwei Drittel aller Schüler in den Niederlanden eine private Schule besuchen.

Die Wahl der Unterrichtsmethoden steht den Schulen frei. Die Inhalte sind allerdings in staatlichen Richtlinien formuliert und für alle Schulen verbindlich festgelegt.

Dies gilt auch für Schulen, die von Minderheiten besucht werden. Seit Mitte der er Jahre können Eltern ihre Kinder etwa auf islamische oder hinduistische Grundschulen schicken.

Weiter können Eltern wählen, ob sie ihre Kinder auf eine Kategorialschule schicken, an der nur eine Schulform gilt, oder sich für eine Schulgemeinschaft entscheiden.

Diese beherbergt mehrere Schularten. Seit Ende der er Jahre haben viele Schulen aus finanziellen Gründen miteinander fusioniert, da so Direktorenstellen eingespart werden.

Die niederländische Grundschulen basisschool umfassen acht Klassen, die hier als groepen Gruppen bezeichnet werden.

Groep 1 bezeichnet die Vierjährigen und groep 8 normalerweise die Zwölfjährigen. Diese groepen umfassen also sowohl den Vorschulbereich Kindergarten als auch die weiterführende Schule.

Der Unterricht vom 4. Lebensjahr groep 1—2 kann inhaltlich mit der Kindergartenpädagogik in Deutschland verglichen werden.

Allerdings ist er hier in der Regel verstärkt in den Grundschullehrplan integriert. Ab groep 3 fangen die Kinder an, das Lesen, Schreiben und Rechnen zu erlernen.

In den beiden letzten Basisjahren beginnt der Englischunterricht; weitere Fremdsprachen werden allein in Schulversuchen angeboten.

Im letzten Grundschuljahr legen sie eine zentrale Prüfung ab. Mit Eingang des 8. Schuljahres findet eine Vorab-Prüfung entreetoets statt, mit deren Ergebnis eine Vorbereitung auf den eigentlichen Test eindtoets möglich ist.

Anders als in Deutschland, wo nur das Gutachten eines Grundschulpädagogen bei der Wahl einer weiterführenden Schule zu Grunde liegt, wird in den Niederlanden anhand des Prüfungsergebnisses und eines Gutachtens durch die Grundschule, erstellt von den Klassenlehrern der letzten Schuljahre sowie eines nicht unterrichtenden Begleiters, eine bindende Empfehlung ausgesprochen, von der nur in begründeten Ausnahmen abgewichen werden kann.

Auch die Anmeldung zur weiterführenden Schule erfolgt in der Grundschule, welche die Empfehlung und Testergebnisse direkt an die weiterführende Schule weiterreicht.

Im Anschluss an die Grundschule folgt eine weiterführende Schule für Schüler zwischen 12 und 18 Jahren.

Die Sekundarbildung kann in folgenden Einrichtungen absolviert werden:. Sie dient vor allem der Orientierung des Schülers auf seine zukünftige Schullaufbahn.

Diese hatten religiöse, politische und wirtschaftliche Ursachen. In den nächsten Jahren schlossen sich auch die anderen niederländischen Provinzen diesem Aufstand an.

Wilhelm von Oraniens Ideal einer friedlichen Koexistenz der Konfessionen zerbrach jedoch rasch an den Realitäten. Der Graben zwischen spanientreuen Katholiken und radikalen Calvinisten war zu tief aufgerissen und führte dazu, dass sich die calvinistischen Provinzen Holland, Zeeland und Utrecht zu einem Verteidigungsbündnis zusammenschlossen, der Utrechter Union.

In dieser Abschwörungsakte wurde erstmals in der Geschichte überhaupt ein von Gott inthronisierter König für abgesetzt erklärt. Mai anerkannt.

Dieses Datum gilt als Geburtstag der heutigen Niederlande, die sich gleichzeitig mit der Schweiz vom Reich trennten.

Die südlichen Niederlande — das heutige Belgien — blieben hingegen bei Spanien, so dass die Niederlande fortan geteilt waren. Jahrhunderts heran.

Diese Epoche ist als Goldenes Zeitalter bekannt. Während dieser Zeit wurden Handelsposten auf der ganzen Welt errichtet. Auch im Nordosten Südamerikas gewannen die Niederlande Kolonien.

Suriname wurde unabhängig. Bei den Niederlanden verblieben nur noch wenige Inseln in der Karibik. In Europa waren die Niederlande im Kaiser Napoleon l.

Im Juli löste er deshalb das Königreich Holland auf. Die Niederlande wurden dem napoleonischen Frankreich einverleibt.

Die Niederlande erlangten ihre Unabhängigkeit im Jahre zurück. Der Wiener Kongress fügte die südlichen Niederlande, das heutige Belgien , dem Königreich hinzu.

Man beabsichtigte damit, dass Frankreich in Zukunft im Norden von einem starken Staat begrenzt werde. Die damals verabschiedete Verfassung der Niederlande gilt heute noch, wenn auch mit zahlreichen Änderungen.

Die wichtigste, von , führte die Ministerverantwortlichkeit ein und ebnete damit den Weg zum parlamentarischen System. Die Niederlande blieben im Ersten Weltkrieg offiziell neutral und konnten sich auch aus dem Krieg heraushalten.

Auch beim Ausbruch des Zweiten Weltkriegs versuchte die niederländische Regierung zunächst, das Land aus dem Krieg herauszuhalten.

Hitler jedoch befahl der Wehrmacht die Okkupation Belgiens und der Niederlande , u. Nach fünftägigem Kampf zwangen die deutschen Truppen am Abend des Mai die Niederlande zur Aufgabe.

Ausschlaggebend war hierfür das Bombardement von Rotterdam. Die königliche Familie war vorher nach England geflohen.

Die Niederlande wurden von da an bis April von der Wehrmacht besetzt gehalten. Nach der Invasion kam es zu Judenverfolgungen durch die deutschen Besatzer.

Der Februarstreik gegen die Deportationen wurde blutig niedergeschlagen. Von den zu Beginn des Krieges Symbol für die Judenverfolgung ist der Fall der Anne Frank.

Der südliche Teil der Niederlande wurde in der zweiten Hälfte des Jahres von den vorrückenden Alliierten befreit; der Norden des Landes erst bei Kriegsende.

Am Januar begann die japanische Invasion von Niederländisch-Indien. Die Niederländer kapitulierten am 1.

März Sofort nach der japanischen Kapitulation riefen die indonesischen Nationalisten am August die Unabhängigkeit aus. Dezember formal in die Unabhängigkeit entlassen.

Bis bestand noch eine lose Niederländisch-Indonesische Union. Bestrebungen der niederländischen Regierung, Teile Niedersachsens sowie des westlichen Münster- und Rheinlandes an die Niederlande anzugliedern Bakker-Schut-Plan , konnten sich nicht durchsetzen.

Allerdings strebten sie dabei eine Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft an und keine politische Union. Die Niederlande waren auch Gründungsmitglied der Benelux -Wirtschaftsunion seit geplant, am 3.

Februar festgelegt und am 1. November in Kraft getreten. Die ersten Jahrzehnte der Nachkriegszeit waren von einem ähnlichen Wirtschaftswunder geprägt wie in Deutschland.

Schon lag das Nationaleinkommen höher als vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Gesellschaftspolitisch bildeten vor allem die er Jahre eine tiefe Zäsur. Mitgliederstärke und Einfluss der Kirchen schwanden.

Während dieser Umbruch in Ländern wie Deutschland und Frankreich mit schweren gesellschaftlichen Erschütterungen einherging, vollzog er sich in den Niederlanden fast geräuschlos.

If your question is not listed, please call the Chamber of Commerce Advisory Team: , open Mon-Fri from The Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, has decided to ease the travel ban on the entry of partners from As of 1 July , the Netherlands has lifted the travel ban for certain groups of travellers, allowing permanent long-term But from to , the Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom governed by his brother 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 The Emperor sent in an army and the Netherlands became part of the French Empire until the autumn of , when Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig.

William Frederick , son of the last stadtholder, returned to the Netherlands in and proclaimed himself Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands.

Two years later, the 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 United Netherlands to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself as King William I in In addition, William became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg in exchange for his German possessions.

However, the Southern Netherlands had been culturally separate from the north since , and rebelled. The south gained independence in as Belgium recognised by the Northern Netherlands in as the Kingdom of the Netherlands was created by decree , while the personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed in , when William III died with no surviving male heirs.

Ascendancy laws prevented his daughter Queen Wilhelmina from becoming the next Grand Duchess. The policy brought the Dutch enormous wealth and made the colony self-sufficient.

The Netherlands abolished slavery in its colonies in The Dutch were also one of the last European countries to industrialise , in the second half of the 19th century.

The Netherlands were able to remain neutral during 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 in The Rotterdam Blitz forced the main element of the Dutch army to surrender four days later.

During the occupation, over , Dutch Jews [85] were rounded up and transported to Nazi extermination camps ; 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, Dutch fascists joined the Waffen SS , [86] fighting on the Eastern Front.

On 8 December , the Dutch government-in-exile in London declared war on Japan, [88] but could not prevent the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies Indonesia.

In , the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands reformed the political structure of the Netherlands, which was a result of international pressure to carry out decolonisation.

Indonesia had declared its independence in August recognised in , and thus was never part of the reformed Kingdom. Suriname followed in After the war the Netherlands left behind an era of neutrality and gained closer ties with neighboring states.

Government-encouraged emigration efforts to reduce population density prompted some , Dutch people to leave the country after the war. Youths, and students in particular, rejected traditional mores and pushed for change in matters such as women's rights , sexuality , disarmament and environmental issues.

In , the euro was introduced as fiat money and in , the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Referendums were held on each island to determine their future status.

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. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made, caused by peat extraction or achieved through land reclamation.

Since the late 16th century, large polder areas are preserved through elaborate drainage systems that include dikes , canals and pumping stations.

Much of the country was originally formed by the estuaries of three large European rivers: the Rhine Rijn , the Meuse Maas and the Scheldt Schelde , as well as their tributaries.

The south-western part of the Netherlands is to this day a 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 , 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.

Just like the previous, this river forms a linguistic divide: people to the northeast of this river speak Dutch Low Saxon dialects except for the province of Friesland , which has its own language.

The modern Netherlands formed as a result of the interplay of the four main rivers Rhine , Meuse , Schelde and IJssel and the influence of the North Sea.

The Netherlands is mostly composed of deltaic , coastal and eolian derived sediments during the Pleistocene glacial and interglacial periods.

Almost all of the west Netherlands is composed of the Rhine - Meuse river estuary , but 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.

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 a long hill-line.

The cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen are built upon these hills. Over the centuries, the Dutch coastline has changed considerably as a result of natural disasters and human intervention.

On 14 December , St. Lucia's flood affected the Netherlands and Germany, killing more than 50, people in one of the most destructive floods in recorded history.

The huge North Sea flood of early February caused the collapse of several dikes in the south-west of the Netherlands; more than 1, people drowned in the flood.

The Dutch government subsequently instituted a large-scale programme, the " 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 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 extraction lowered an already low land surface by several metres.

Even in flooded areas, peat extraction continued through turf dredging. 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 " waterschappen " "water boards" or " 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 polders. 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. After the disaster , the Delta Works was constructed, which is a comprehensive set of civil works throughout the Dutch coast.

The project started in and was largely completed in with the completion of the Maeslantkering. Since then, new projects have been periodically started to renovate and renew the Delta Works.

A main goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in South Holland and Zeeland to once per 10, years compared to 1 per years for the rest of the country.

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 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 1. The plan encompasses the reinforcement of the existing coastal defences like dikes and dunes with 1.

Climate change will not only threaten the Netherlands from the sea side, but could also alter rainfall patterns and river run-off.

To protect the country from river flooding, another program is already being executed. The 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.

The predominant wind direction in the European Netherlands is southwest, which causes a mild 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.

On average, snow can occur from November to April, but sometimes occurs in May or October too. 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 highest recorded temperature was an established on 25 July The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves, that include lakes , heathland , woods , dunes and other habitats.

Most of these are owned by Staatsbosbeheer , the national department for forestry and nature conservation and Natuurmonumenten literally 'Natures monuments' , a private organisation that buys, protects and manages nature reserves.

It consists primarily of the salt waters of the Oosterschelde, but also includes mud flats, meadows, and shoals. Because of the large variety of sea life, including unique regional species, the park is popular with Scuba divers.

Other activities include sailing, fishing, cycling, and bird watching. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature , the European territory of the Netherlands belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests.

In , 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.

Virgin Islands. 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.

The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since , and due to the efforts of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke , [] became a parliamentary democracy since 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 , The Economist ranked the Netherlands as the 11th most democratic country in the world. The 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 power is formed by the Council of Ministers , the deliberative organ of the Dutch cabinet. The cabinet usually consists of 13 to 16 ministers and a varying number of state secretaries.

One to three ministers are 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 has been Prime Minister since October ; the Prime Minister had been the leader of the largest party continuously since The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament , the States General , which also has legislative powers.

The members of the 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 are directly elected every four years as well. The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the Senate , 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. 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.

In the late 19th century this Dutch tradition of religious tolerance transformed into a system of pillarisation , in which religious groups coexisted separately and only interacted at the level of government.

This tradition of tolerance influences Dutch criminal justice policies on recreational drugs , prostitution , LGBT rights , euthanasia , and abortion , which are among the most liberal in the world.

Because of the multi-party system , no single party has held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, as a result, coalition cabinets had to be formed.

Since suffrage became universal in , the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest of which were the Christian Democrats , currently represented by the Christian Democratic Appeal CDA ; second were the Social Democrats , represented by the Labour Party PvdA ; and third were the 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 s, the party system became more volatile: the Christian Democratic parties lost seats, while new parties became successful, such as the radical democrat and progressive liberal Democrats 66 D66 or the ecologist party GroenLinks GL.

In the election , the CDA lost its dominant position. In the elections , this cabinet lost its majority, because of an increased support for the CDA and the rise of the right LPF , a new political party, around Pim Fortuyn , who was assassinated a week before the elections.

The cabinet initiated an ambitious programme of reforming the welfare state , the healthcare system , and immigration policy. In these elections, the CDA remained the largest party and the Socialist Party made the largest gains.

The big winner of the elections was Geert Wilders , whose right wing PVV , [] [] the ideological successor to the LPF , more than doubled its number of seats.

This unprecedented minority government was supported by PVV, but proved ultimately to be unstable, [] when on 21 April , Wilders, leader of PVV, unexpectedly 'torpedoed seven weeks of austerity talks' on new austerity measures, paving the way for early elections.

On 5 November they formed the second Rutte cabinet. The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces, each under a King's Commissioner Commissaris van de Koning.

Informally in Limburg province this position is named Governor Gouverneur. All provinces are divided into municipalities gemeenten , of which there are The country is also subdivided into 21 water districts as of , governed by a water board waterschap or hoogheemraadschap , each having authority in matters concerning water management.

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 4 years.

The administrative structure on the 3 BES islands, collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands , is outside the twelve provinces. These islands have the status of openbare lichamen public bodies.

The Netherlands has several Belgian exclaves [] and within those even several enclaves which are part of the province of North Brabant.

Because the Netherlands and Belgium are both in the Benelux , and more recently in the Schengen Area , citizens of respective countries can travel through these enclaves without controls.

The history of Dutch foreign policy has been characterised by its neutrality. 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 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 liberal policy towards soft drugs.

During and after the Dutch Golden Age , the Dutch people built up a commercial and colonial empire. The most important colonies were present-day Suriname and Indonesia.

Indonesia became independent after the Indonesian National Revolution in the s following a war of independence, international pressure and several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Suriname became independent in 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. The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau in the late s.

The Dutch army was used throughout the Dutch Empire. After the defeat of Napoleon, the Dutch army was transformed into a conscription army.

The army was unsuccessfully deployed during the Belgian Revolution in After , it was deployed mainly in the Dutch colonies, as the Netherlands remained neutral in European wars including the First World War , until the Netherlands was invaded in World War II and defeated by the Wehrmacht in May In conscription was suspended, and the Dutch army was once again transformed into a professional army.

Since the s 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 Afghanistan.

The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke Royal :. The submarine service is open to women as of 1 January 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 Netherlands has ratified many international conventions concerning war law. 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 a high level of economic freedom. The Netherlands is one of the top countries in the Global Enabling Trade Report 2nd in , and was ranked the fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development in Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector.

Other major industries include chemicals, metallurgy, machinery, electrical goods, trade, services and tourism. The Netherlands has the 17th-largest economy in the world , and ranks 10th in GDP nominal per capita.

Growth slowed considerably from to with the global economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4. In May , inflation was at 2. In Q3 and Q4 , the Dutch economy contracted by 0.

Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands. It is situated near Dam Square in the city's centre.

As a founding member of the euro , the Netherlands replaced for accounting purposes its former currency, the "gulden" guilder , on 1 January , along with 15 other adopters of the euro.

Actual euro coins and banknotes followed on 1 January One euro was equivalent to 2. In the 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 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 , 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.

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 , but in recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment.

The pace of job growth reached year highs in The Netherlands is the fourth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum 's Global Competitiveness Report.

Beginning in the s, 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.

Apart from coal and gas, the country has no mining resources. The last coal mine was closed in The Groningen gas field , one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren.

The cost of damage repairs, structural improvements to buildings, and compensation for home value decreases has been estimated at 6.

Around 35, homes are said to be affected. Netherlands is faced with future challenges as the energy supply is forecasted to fall short of the demand by the year in the gas sector.

This is attributed to the depletion of Netherlands's major gas field, Groningen, and the earthquakes that have hit the Groningen region.

Netherlands relies heavily on natural gas to provide energy. ON, Eneco and Delta that have significant influence over the energy policy.

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.

The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports. One-third of the world's exports of 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.

Mobility on Dutch roads has grown continuously since the s and now exceeds billion km travelled per year, [] three quarters of which are done by car.

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Government of the Netherlands initiated a plan to establish over recharging stations for electric vehicles across the country.

The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and Dutch startup Fastned , and will aim to provide at least one station within a kilometre radius 30 miles from every home in the Netherlands.

Trains are frequent, with two trains per hour on lesser lines, [i] two to four trains per hour on average, and up to eight trains an hour on the busiest lines.

Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. Almost as many kilometres are covered by bicycle as by train.

There are large bicycle parking facilities, particularly in city centres and at train stations. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel , Switzerland, and into Germany and France.

As of [update] , Rotterdam was the world's eighth largest container port handling The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas.

From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. In , the Betuweroute , a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed.

Schiphol Airport , just southwest of Amsterdam, is the main international airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.

In , the Royal Schiphol Group airports handled 70 million passengers. The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,, as of 31 May It is the 64th most populous country in the world.

Between and , the country's population almost doubled from 5. From to , the population further increased, to The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.

According to a estimate, the population was The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, by nationality, [] with an average height of 1. According to Eurostat , in there were 1.

Of these, 1. According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in , 28 percent of the Dutch population had a spendable income above 45, euros which does not include spending on health care or education.

The official language is Dutch , which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. 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 Low Saxon Nedersaksisch in Dutch. Low Saxon consists of several dialects spoken in the north and east, like Tweants in the region of Twente , and Drents in the province of Drenthe.

Secondly, Limburgish 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.

Ripuarian language , which is spoken in Kerkrade and Vaals in the form of, respectively, the Kerkrade dialect and the Vaals dialect [] [] is not recognised as a regional language of the Netherlands.

These dialects are however sometimes considered to be a part of or related to Limburgish. English has a formal status in the special municipalities of Saba and Sint Eustatius.

It is widely spoken on these islands. Papiamento has a formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire.

Yiddish and the Romani language were recognised in as non-territorial languages. In higher level secondary schools HAVO and 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 French and German , although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Chinese , Spanish , Russian , Italian , Turkish or Arabic.

Religious identification in the Netherlands [3]. The Dutch are one of the least religious people in the world. Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity until late into the 20th century.

Although religious diversity remains, there has been a decline of religious adherence. In , Statistics Netherlands , the Dutch governmental institution that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands, found that Groups that represent the non-religious in the Netherlands include Humanistisch Verbond.

Christians comprised the Islam comprised the 4. 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 Roman Catholic and various Protestant.

By , Protestantism shrunk demographically to equal Roman Catholicism, and going onwards, both Christian branches began to decline.

There is one major exception: Islam which grew considerably as the result of immigration. Since the year there has been raised awareness of religion, mainly due to Muslim extremism.

The Dutch royal family has been traditionally associated with Calvinism , specifically the disestablished and now non-existent Dutch Reformed Church which merged into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Reformed Church has been the only major Protestant church in the Netherlands from the Protestant Reformation up until the 19th century. It encompassed the vast majority of Protestants in the Reformed tradition until a series of splits in and in diversified Dutch Calvinism.

In , a Roman Catholic became Queen consort. Christianity is currently the largest religion in the Netherlands.

The provinces of North Brabant and Limburg have historically been strongly Roman Catholic, and some of their people might still consider the Catholic Church as a base for their cultural identity.

Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. Several orthodox Reformed 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 from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel , in which Protestant particularly Reformed beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.

Islam is the second largest religion in the state. This included migrant workers from Turkey and Morocco , as well as migrants from former Dutch colonies , such as Surinam and Indonesia.

Most of these are Indo-Surinamese. There are also sizable populations of Hindu immigrants from India and Sri Lanka , and some Western adherents of Hinduism-oriented new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas.

The Netherlands has an estimated , Buddhists or people strongly attracted to this religion, mainly ethnic Dutch people.

There are about 45, Jews in the Netherlands. Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from on average ages 4 to 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 VMBO has 4 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 primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree.

The HBO higher professional education are universities of professional education applied sciences that award professional bachelor's degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees.

A HBO degree gives access to the university system. The VWO comprising atheneum and gymnasium has 6 grades and prepares for studying at a research university.

Universities offer of 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 program.

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, euros a year for students from the Netherlands and the European Union. The amount is about 10, euros for non-EU students.

In , 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 of a maximum 1, points.

The Netherlands has been among the top three countries in each report published since 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.

Ever since a major reform of the health care system in , 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:. 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. Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January 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.

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. 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 equalisation and a common risk pool.

Children under 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive compensation to help them pay their insurance. The Netherlands has had many well-known painters.

Escher is a well-known graphics artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in Rotterdam , although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist.

The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens — discovered Saturn 's 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 single-celled organisms with a microscope.

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.

Anne Frank 's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she was murdered in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.

The traditional Dutch architecture is especially valued in Amsterdam , Delft and Leiden , with 17 and 18th century buildings along the canals. Smaller village architecture with wooden houses is found in Zaandam and Marken.

A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang , China. Windmills , tulips , wooden shoes , cheese, Delftware pottery, and cannabis are among the items associated with the Netherlands by tourists.

The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is regarded as a liberal country, considering its drug policy and its legalisation of euthanasia.

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