The Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherlandsin short, (Dutch: Nederland, also commonly called Hollandin English) is a Benelux country, bordering Germanyto the east and Belgiumto the south. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlandsare referred to as “Dutch”.
With over 16 million people on an area roughly twice the size of New Jersey, it’s a densely populated country with its gorgeous capital Amsterdambeing just one of many interesting cities. Once a great naval power, this small nation boasts a wealth of cultural heritage and is famous for its painters, windmills, clogs and notoriously flat lands. A modern European country today, it preserved its highly international character and is known for its liberal mentality. As a founding member of EU and NATO, and host to the International Court of Justice inThe Hague, the Netherlandsare at the heart of international cooperation. Its small size, welcoming attitude to travellers and many sights make it a unique and fairly easy to discover destination and a great addition to any European trip.
TheNetherlandsis a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlandsborders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgiumto the south, and Germanyto the east, and shares maritime borders withBelgium,Germany, and theUnited Kingdom. It is a parliamentary democracy organised as a unitary state. The country capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague.The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as Holland, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces (a case of pars pro toto; see terminology of “the Netherlands”).
TheNetherlandsis a geographically low-lying country, with about 25% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one metre above sea level. This distinct feature contributes to the country’s name in many other European languages (e.g. German: Niederlande, French: Les Pays-Bas and Spanish: Países Bajos, literally mean “(The)Low Countries”). Significant land area has been gained through land reclamation and preserved through an elaborate system of polders and dikes. Much of the Netherlandsis 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 southeast and several low-hill ranges in the central parts.
The Netherlandswas one of the first countries to have an elected parliament. Among other affiliations the country is a founding member of the EU, NATO, OECD and WTO. With BelgiumandLuxembourgit forms the Beneluxeconomic union. The country is host to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal forLebanon. The first four are situated in The Hagueas is the EU’s criminal intelligence agency Europol and judicial co-operation agency Eurojust. This has led to the city being dubbed “the world’s legal capital”.TheNetherlandshas a capitalist market-based economy, ranking 13th of 157 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. In May 2011, theNetherlandswas ranked as the ‘happiest’ country according to results published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.