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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Netherlands
Nederland
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Je maintiendrai"  (French)
"Ik zal handhaven"  (Dutch)
"I shall endure"[2]
Anthem"Het Wilhelmus"
Location of  Netherlands  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  —  [Legend]

Capital
(and largest city)
Amsterdam[3]
52°19′N 05°33′E / 52.317°N 5.55°E / 52.317; 5.55
Official language(s) Dutch[4]
Ethnic groups  80.9% Ethnic Dutch
19.1% various others
Demonym Dutch
Government Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
 -  Monarch HM Queen Beatrix
 -  Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (CDA)
Independence through the Eighty Years' War from the Spanish Empire 
 -  Declared 26 July 1581 
 -  Recognized 30 January 1648[5] 
EU accession 25 March 1957
Area
 -  Total 41,526 km2 (135th)
16,033 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 18.41
Population
 -  2010 estimate 16,597,050[1] (61st)
 -  Density 399.7/km2 (28th)
1,035.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $677.490 billion[2] (20th)
 -  Per capita $40,558[2] (9th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $876.970 billion[2] (16th)
 -  Per capita $52,499[2] (9th)
HDI (2007) 0.964[3] (very high) (6th)
Currency Euro ()[6] (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .nl[7]
Calling code 31
1 ^ The literal translation of the motto is "I will maintain," the latter word meaning "to stand firm."
2 ^ While Amsterdam is the constitutional capital, The Hague is the seat of the government.
3 ^ West Frisian is an official language in the Province of Friesland. Dutch Low Saxon and Limburgish are officially recognised as regional languages.
4 ^ Peace of Westphalia
5 ^ Before 2002: Dutch guilder.
6 ^ The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.
Daily life during the Dutch Golden Age captured in a painting.
The Netherlands (pronounced /ˈnɛðərləndz/ ( listen); Dutch: Nederland, pronounced [ˈneːdərlɑnt]  ( listen)) is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in North-West Europe. It is a parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy. The Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague.
The Netherlands is often called Holland, a pars pro toto, as North and South Holland are actually two of its twelve provinces (see terminology of "the Netherlands"). The word Dutch is used to refer to the people, the language, and anything pertaining to the Netherlands. This lexical difference between the noun and the adjective is a peculiarity of the English language and does not exist in the Dutch language. The adjective 'Dutch' is derived from the language that was spoken in the area, called 'Diets', which equals Middle Dutch.
The Netherlands was one of the first parliamentary democracies. Among other affiliations the country is a founding member of the European Union (EU), NATO, OECD and WTO. With Belgium and Luxembourg it forms the Benelux economic union. The country is host to five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The first four are situated in The Hague as 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".[4] The Netherlands has a capitalist market-based economy, ranking 15th of 157 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom.[5]
The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 20% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level[6] with 50% of its land lying less than 1 metre above sea level [7] Significant land area has been gained through land reclamation and preserved through an elaborate system of polders and dikes. Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important European rivers, which together with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast and several low-hill ranges in the central parts.

Contents

History

William the Silent, leader of the Netherlands during the Dutch Revolt.
Under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and king of Spain, the region was part of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands, which also included most of present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and some land of France and Germany. The Eighty Years' War between the provinces and Spain began in 1568. In 1579, the northern half of the Seventeen Provinces formed the Union of Utrecht, a treaty in which they promised to support each other in their defense against the Spanish army.[8] The Union of Utrecht is seen as the foundation of the modern Netherlands. In 1581 the northern provinces adopted the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence in which the provinces officially deposed Philip II of Spain.[9] Queen Elizabeth I of England sympathized with the Dutch struggle against the Spanish, and in 1585 she concluded a treaty with the Dutch whereby she promised to send an English army to the Netherlands to aid the Dutch in their war with the Spanish.[10] In December 1585, 7,600 soldiers were sent to the Netherlands from England under the command of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester.[11] However, the English army was wasted away in fruitless military campaigns in the Netherlands and had no real effect of helping the Dutch rebellion.[11] Robert Dudley returned to the Netherlands in November 1586 with another army.[12] However, the result was no better than it had been in 1585. Philip II, the son of Charles V, was not prepared to let them go easily, and war continued until 1648, when Spain under King Philip IV finally recognised the independence of the seven northwestern provinces in the Peace of Münster. Parts of the southern provinces became de facto colonies of the new republican-mercantile empire.

Dutch Republic 1581–1795

After independence, the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Groningen, Friesland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelre formed a confederation known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. All these provinces were autonomous and had their own government, the "States of the Province". The States-General, the confederal government, were seated in The Hague and consisted of representatives from each of the seven provinces. The sparsely populated region of Drenthe, mainly consisting of poor peatland, was part of the republic too, although Drenthe was not considered one of the provinces. Drenthe had its own states, but the landdrost of Drenthe was appointed by the States-General. The Republic occupied a number of so-called Generality Lands (Generaliteitslanden in Dutch). .These territories were governed directly by the States-General, so they did not have a government of their own and they did not have representatives in the States-General.^ He said that these social and economic rights are also human rights, and that the governments responsible must ensure that they are not violated.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Only then can they call their own government to account.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Most of these territories were occupied during the Eighty Years' War. They were mainly Roman Catholic and were used as a buffer zone between the Republic and the Southern Netherlands.
Dutch Batavia built in what is now Jakarta, by Andries Beeckman c. 1656.
The Dutch Empire grew to become one of the major seafaring and economic powers of the 17th century. In the Dutch Golden Age ("Gouden Eeuw"), colonies and trading posts were established all over the world. Dutch settlement in North America began with the founding of New Amsterdam, on the southern tip of Manhattan in 1614. In South Africa, the Dutch settled the Cape Colony in 1652. By 1650, the Dutch owned 16,000 merchant ships.[13] During the 17th century, the Dutch population increased from an estimated 1.5 million to almost 2 million.[14]
Many economic historians regard the Netherlands as the first thoroughly capitalist country in the world. In early modern Europe it featured the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time stock exchange. The inventiveness of the traders led to insurance and retirement funds as well as such less benign phenomena as the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636–1637, and, according to Murray Sayle, the world's first bear raider, Isaac le Maire, who forced prices down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount.[15] .The republic went into a state of general decline in the later 18th century, with economic competition from England and long standing rivalries between the two main factions in Dutch society, the Staatsgezinden (Republicans) and the Prinsgezinden (Royalists or Orangists) as main factors.^ The Newcomers Integration Act went into effect in 1998, whereby new immigrants are required to learn the Dutch language and culture sufficiently to enable them to work.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ In the sixteenth century they were united into one state under Hapsburg rule.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ At the end of a two-day visit to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, development minister Bert Koenders said that economic cooperation between Rwanda and the DR Congo could be a major stepping stone towards peace in eastern Congo.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

In the 17th century, plantation colonies were established by the Dutch and English along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana plains. The earliest documented colony in Guiana was along the Suriname River and called Marshall's Creek. The area was named after an Englishman.[16] Disputes arose between the Dutch and the English. In 1667, the Dutch decided to keep the nascent plantation colony of Suriname conquered from the English, resulting from the Treaty of Breda. The English were left with New Amsterdam, a small trading post in North America, which is now known as New York City.
An anachronous map of the Dutch colonial Empire. Light green: territories administered by or originating from territories administered by the Dutch East India Company; dark green the Dutch West India Company.

French domination (1795–1815)

On 19 January 1795, one day after stadtholder William V of Orange fled to England, the Bataafse Republiek (Batavian Republic) was proclaimed, rendering the Netherlands a unitary state. From 1795 to 1806, the Batavian Republic designated the Netherlands as a republic modelled after the French Republic.
From 1806 to 1810, the Koninkrijk Holland (Kingdom of Holland) was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom governed by his brother Louis Bonaparte in order to control the Netherlands more effectively. The name of the leading province, Holland, was used for the whole country. The Kingdom of Holland covered the area of the present day Netherlands, with the exception of Limburg and parts of Zeeland, which were French territory. In 1807, Prussian East Frisia and Jever were added to the kingdom. In 1809, however, after a failed British invasion, Holland had to give over all territories south of the Rhine to France.
King Louis Napoleon did not meet Napoleon's expectations — he tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's — and he was forced to abdicate on 1 July 1810. He was succeeded by his five-year-old son Napoleon Louis Bonaparte. Napoleon Louis reigned as Louis II for just ten days as Napoleon ignored his young nephew’s accession to the throne. The Emperor sent in an army to invade the country and dissolved the Kingdom of Holland. The Netherlands then became part of the French Empire.
The Netherlands remained part of the French Empire until the autumn of 1813, when Napoleon was defeated in the battle of Leipzig and forced to withdraw his troops from the country.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

William I of the Netherlands, son of the last stadtholder William V van Oranje, returned to the Netherlands in 1813 and became Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands. On 16 March 1815, the Sovereign Prince became King of the Netherlands.
In 1815, the Congress of Vienna formed the United Kingdom of the Netherlands by expanding the Netherlands with Belgium in order to create a strong country on the northern border of France. In addition, William became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The Congress of Vienna gave Luxembourg to William as personal property in exchange for his German possessions, Nassau-Dillenburg, Siegen, Hadamar, and Diez.
Belgium rebelled and gained independence in 1830, while the personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed in 1890, when King William III of the Netherlands died with no surviving male heirs. Ascendancy laws prevented his daughter Queen Wilhelmina from becoming the next Grand Duchess. Therefore the throne of Luxembourg passed over from the House of Orange-Nassau to the House of Nassau-Weilburg, a junior branch of the House of Nassau.
New Amsterdam as it appeared in 1664, before it was traded with the British for Suriname. Under British rule it became known as New York City.
The largest Dutch settlement abroad was the Cape Colony. It was established by Jan van Riebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company at Cape Town (Dutch: Kaapstad) in 1652. The Prince of Orange acquiesced to British occupation and control of the Cape Colony in 1788. The Netherlands also possessed several other colonies, but Dutch settlement in these lands was limited. Most notable were the vast Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Suriname. These 'colonies' were first administered by the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, both collective private enterprises. Three centuries later these companies got into financial trouble, and the territories in which they operated were taken over by the Dutch government (in 1815 and 1791 respectively). .Only then did they become official colonies.^ It will become obvious when they've driven themselves to extinction and that only remaining American't lefties find they're a homosexual couple incapable of reproduction.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

During its colonial period the Netherlands was heavily involved in the slave trade. The Dutch planters relied heavily on African slaves to cultivate the coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Treatment of the slaves by their owners was notoriously bad, and many slaves escaped the plantations. Slavery was abolished by the Netherlands in Suriname in 1863, but the slaves in Suriname were not fully released until 1873, after a mandatory 10 year transition period during which time they were required to work on the plantations for minimal pay and without state sanctioned torture. As soon as they became truly free, the slaves largely abandoned the plantations where they had suffered for several generations in favor of the city Paramaribo. Every year this is remembered during Keti Koti, 1 July, Emancipation Day (end of slavery).
During the 19th century, the Netherlands was slow to industrialize compared to neighbouring countries, mainly because of the great complexity involved in modernizing the infrastructure, consisting largely of waterways, and the great reliance its industry had on windpower.
Although the Netherlands remained neutral during World War I, it was heavily involved in the war.[17] Count Schlieffen had originally planned to invade the Netherlands while advancing into France in the original Schlieffen Plan. This was changed by Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in order to maintain Dutch neutrality. Later during the war Dutch neutrality proved essential to German survival up till the blockade integrated by the United States and Great Britain in 1916 when the import of goods through the Netherlands was no longer possible. However, the Dutch were able to remain neutral during the war using their diplomacy and their ability to trade.[17]

Second World War

Rotterdam after German air raids in 1940.
Dutch resistance members with troops of the US 101st Airborne in front of Eindhoven cathedral during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.
The Netherlands intended to remain neutral during the Second World War. There were, however, contingency plans involving the armies of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. Regardless, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 as part of their campaign against the Allied forces. French forces in the south and British ships in the west came to help but turned around quickly, evacuating many civilians and several thousand German prisoners of war from the German elite airborne divisions. The country was overrun in five days. Only after, but not because of, the bombing of Rotterdam the main element of the Dutch army surrendered on 14 May 1940; although a Dutch and French force held the western part of Zeeland for some time after the surrender. The Kingdom as such, continued the war from the colonial empire; the government in exile resided in London.
During the occupation, over 100,000 Dutch Jews[18] were rounded up to be transported to Nazi German concentration camps in Germany, German-occupied Poland and German-occupied Czechoslovakia. By the time these camps were liberated, only 876 Dutch Jews survived. Dutch workers were conscripted for forced labour in German factories, civilians were killed in reprisal for attacks on German soldiers, and the countryside was plundered for food for German soldiers in the Netherlands and for shipment to Germany. Although there were thousands[19] of Dutch who risked their lives by hiding Jews from the Germans, as recounted in The Heart Has Reasons[20] by Mark Klempner, there were also thousands[21] of Dutch who collaborated with the occupying force in hunting down hiding Jews. Local fascists and anti-Bolsheviks joined the Waffen-SS in the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Netherlands, fighting on the Eastern Front as well as other units.
On 8 December 1941, the Netherlands declared war on Japan.[22] The government-in-exile then lost control of its major colonial stronghold, the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), to Japanese forces in March 1942. "American-British-Dutch-Australian" (ABDA) forces fought hard in some instances but were overwhelmed. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, the Japanese interned Dutch civilians and used Dutch and Indos (Eurasians of Dutch and Indonesian descent) alike as forced labour, both in the Netherlands East Indies and in neighbouring countries.[23] This included forcing women to work as "comfort women" (sex slaves) for Japanese personnel. The Dutch Red Cross reported the deaths in Japanese custody of 14,800 European civilians out of 80,000 interned and 12,500 of the 34,000 POW captured.[24] A later U.N. report stated that 4 million people died in Indonesia as a result of famine and forced labour (known as romusha) during the Japanese occupation.[25] Some military personnel escaped to Australia and other Allied countries from where they carried on the fight against Japan. The Japanese furthered the cause of independence for the colony, so that after VE day many young Dutchmen found themselves fighting a colonial war against the new republic of Indonesia.
Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and heir to the throne, sought refuge in Ottawa, Canada, with her two daughters, Beatrix and Irene, during the war. During Princess Juliana’s stay in Canada, preparations were made for the birth of her third child. To ensure the Dutch citizenship of this royal baby, the Canadian Parliament passed a special law declaring Princess Juliana's suite at the Ottawa Civic Hospital “extraterritorial”. On 19 January 1943, Princess Margriet was born. The day after Princess Margriet's birth, the Dutch flag was flown on the Peace Tower. This was the only time in history a foreign flag has waved atop Canada’s Parliament Buildings. In 1944-45, the First Canadian Army was responsible for liberating much of the Netherlands from German occupation. The joyous "Canadian summer" that ensued after the liberation forged deep and long-lasting bonds of friendship between the Netherlands and Canada.[26] In 1949, Dutch troops occupied an area of 69 km2 (27 sq mi) of West Germany and annexed it. At that time, these areas were inhabited by almost 10,000 people.[citation needed]

Recent history

The Zuiderzeeworks were carried out from 1920 until 1975 and led to the creation of an entire new province. This province was established in 1986 and was given the name of Flevoland.
After the war, the Dutch economy prospered by leaving behind an era of neutrality and gaining closer ties with neighbouring states. The Netherlands was one of the founding members of the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) grouping, was among the twelve founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and was among the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community, which would later evolve, via the EEC (Common Market), into the European Union.
The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great social and cultural change, such as rapid ontzuiling (literally: depillarisation), a term that describes the decay of the old divisions along class and religious lines. Youths, and students in particular, rejected traditional mores and pushed for change in matters like women's rights, sexuality, disarmament and environmental issues. Today, the Netherlands is regarded as a liberal country, considering its drugs policy and its legalisation of euthanasia. Same-sex marriage has been permitted since 1 April 2001.

Geography

Rivers in the Netherlands

Rivers

The country is divided into two main parts by three large rivers, the Rhine (Rijn) and its main distributaries, the Waal and the Meuse (Maas). These rivers functioned as a natural barrier between earlier fiefdoms and hence created traditionally a cultural divide, as is evident in some phonetic traits that are recognizable north and south of these "Large Rivers" (de Grote Rivieren).
The southwestern part of the Netherlands is a river delta and two tributaries of the Scheldt (Westerschelde and Oosterschelde). Only one significant branch of the Rhine flows northeastward, the IJssel river, discharging into the IJsselmeer, the former Zuiderzee ('southern sea'). This river also forms a linguistic divide: people to the east of this river speak Dutch Low Saxon dialects (except for the province of Friesland, which has its own language).[27]

Floods

The areas of the Netherlands that are above sea level
Over the centuries, the Dutch coastline has changed considerably as a result of human intervention and natural disasters. Most notable in terms of land loss is the 1134 storm, which created the archipelago of Zeeland in the southwest.
On 14 December 1287, St. Lucia's flood affected the Netherlands and Germany killing more than 50,000 people in one of the most destructive floods in recorded history.[28] The St. Elizabeth flood of 1421 and the mismanagement in its aftermath destroyed a newly reclaimed polder, replacing it with the 72-square-kilometre (28 sq mi) Biesbosch tidal floodplains in the south-centre. The last major flood in the Netherlands took place in early February 1953, when a huge storm caused the collapse of several dikes in the southwest of the Netherlands. More than 1,800 people drowned in the ensuing inundations. The Dutch government subsequently decided on a large-scale program of public works (the "Delta Works") to protect the country against future flooding. The project took more than thirty years to complete.
The disasters were partially increased in severity through human influence. People had drained relatively high lying swampland to use it as farmland. This drainage caused the fertile peat to compress and the ground level to drop, whereby they would lower the water level to compensate for the drop in ground level, causing the underlying peat to compress even more. The problem remains unsolvable to this day. Also, up until the 19th century peat was mined, dried, and used for fuel, further adding to the problem.
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" (English "water bodies") 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 exist to this day, performing the same function.) 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 in order to pump water out of areas below sea level. The windmills were later used to drain lakes, creating the famous polders.
In 1932, the Afsluitdijk (English "Closure Dike") was completed, blocking the former Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) from the North Sea and thus creating the IJsselmeer (IJssel Lake). It became part of the larger Zuiderzee Works in which four polders totalling 2,500 square kilometres (965 sq mi) were reclaimed from the sea.[29][30]

Delta works

The Delta Works are located in the provinces of South Holland and Zeeland.
After the 1953 disaster, the Delta project, a vast construction effort designed to end the threat from the sea once and for all, was launched in 1958 and largely completed in 1997 with the completion of the Maeslantkering. The official goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in South Holland and Zeeland to once per 10,000 years. (For the rest of the country, the protection level is once per 4,000 years.) This was achieved by raising 3,000 kilometers (1,864 mi) of outer sea-dykes and 10,000 kilometers (6,214 mi) of inner, canal, and river dikes to "delta" height, and by closing off the sea estuaries of the Zeeland province. New risk assessments occasionally show problems requiring additional Delta project dyke reinforcements. The Delta project is one of the largest construction efforts in human history and is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
Additionally, the Netherlands is one of the countries that may suffer most from climatic change. Not only is the rising sea a problem, but also erratic weather patterns may cause the rivers to overflow.[31][32][33]

Climate

The predominant wind direction in the Netherlands is southwest, which causes a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. The following tables are based on mean measurements by the KNMI weather station in De Bilt between 1971 and 2000:
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg. maximum temp. (°C) 5.2 6.1 9.6 12.9 17.6 19.8 22.1 22.3 18.7 14.2 9.1 6.4 13.7
Avg. minimum temp. (°C) 0.0 -0.1 2.0 3.5 7.5 10.2 12.5 12.0 9.6 6.5 3.2 1.3 5.7
Avg. temp. (°C) 2.8 3.0 5.8 8.3 12.7 15.2 17.4 17.2 14.2 10.3 6.2 4.0 9.8
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg. precipitation (mm) 67 48 65 45 62 72 70 58 72 77 81 77 793
Avg. hours sunshine 52 79 114 158 204 187 196 192 133 106 60 44 1524

Nature

National Park Schiermonnikoog.
The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves. Most are owned by Staatsbosbeheer and Natuurmonumenten and include lakes, heathland, woods, dunes and other habitats.
Phytogeographically, the Netherlands is shared between the Atlantic European and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of the Netherlands belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests. In 1871 the last old original natural woods (Beekbergerwoud) were cut down, and most woods today are planted monocultures of trees like Scots Pine and trees that are not native to the Netherlands.[citation needed] These woods were planted on anthropogenic heaths and sand-drifts (overgrazed heaths) (Veluwe).

Economy

The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy in which the government has reduced its role since the 1980s. Industrial activity is predominantly in food-processing (Unilever, Heineken), financial services (ING), chemicals (DSM), petroleum refining (Shell), and electrical machinery (Philips, ASML).
The Netherlands has the 16th largest economy in the world, and ranks 10th in GDP (nominal) per capita. Between 1998 and 2000 annual economic growth (GDP) averaged nearly 4%, well above the European average. Growth slowed considerably from 2001 to 2005 with the global economic slowdown, but accelerated to 4.1% in the third quarter of 2007. Inflation is 1.3%, and unemployment is at 4.0% of the labour force. By Eurostat standards however, unemployment in the Netherlands is at only 3.3% (June 2009) - the lowest rate of all European Union member states.[34] The Netherlands also has a relatively low GINI coefficient of 0.326. Despite ranking only 10th in GDP per capita, UNICEF ranked the Netherlands 1st in child well-being.[35] On the Index of Economic Freedom Netherlands is the 13th most free market capitalist economy out of 157 surveyed countries.
The Netherlands introduced the euro in 1999. It is one of the 16 sovereign states that make up the Eurozone.
Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands.[36] The Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX), part of Euronext, is the world's oldest stock exchange and is one of Europe's largest bourses. It is situated near Dam Square in the city's centre. As a founding member of the euro, the Netherlands replaced (for accounting purposes) its former currency, the "Gulden" (guilder), on 1 January 1999, along with 15 other adopters of the Euro. Actual euro coins and banknotes followed on 1 January 2002. One euro was equivalent to 2.20371 Dutch guilders.
The Netherlands' 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 cooperative private enterprises such as the VOC), banking and transport. .The Netherlands successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job growth long before its European partners.^ The Netherlands hopes that a coalition will soon be formed so that important issues can be dealt with promptly, the priority being a long-term solution to the crisis in Gaza.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Amsterdam is the 5th busiest tourist destination in Europe with more than 4.2 million international visitors.[37]
The country continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the five largest investors in the U.S. The economy experienced a slowdown in 2005, but in 2006 recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment. The pace of job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007.The Netherlands moved up from the 11th position in the Global Competitiveness Index [38] to the 9th position in 2007

Infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources

A Frisian Holstein cow in the Netherlands: Intensive dairy farming is an important part of agriculture.
Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel, Switzerland, and into France. In 2006, Rotterdam was the world's seventh largest container port in terms of Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) handled.[39] The port's main activities are petrochemical industries and general cargo handling and transshipment. 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 2007, the Betuweroute, a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed.
A highly mechanised agricultural sector employs 4% of the labour force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. .The Dutch rank third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the United States and France, with exports earning $55 billion annually.^ The Association is made up of Dutch students who have worked or studied in the United States on a Fulbright scholarship.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ In a letter sent on behalf of the Dutch government, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende congratulated President Obama on his inauguration as 44th President of the United States of America.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ United States pleased with Dutch contribution to G20 .
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

A significant portion of Dutch agricultural exports are derived from fresh-cut plants, flowers, and bulbs, with the Netherlands exporting two-thirds of the world's total. The Netherlands also exports a quarter of all world tomatoes, and one-third of the world's exports of chilis and cucumbers.[40]
One of the largest natural gas fields in the world is situated near Slochteren. Exploitation of this field resulted in a total revenue of €159 billion since the mid 1970s. With just over half of the reserves used up and an expected continued rise in oil prices, the revenues over the next few decades are expected to be at least that much.[41]

Government and administration

Government

Thorbecke reformed the Dutch government to a parliamentary monarchy.
The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815 and a parliamentary democracy since 1848. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state. Dutch politics and governance are characterised by an effort to achieve broad consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole. In 2008, The Economist ranked The Netherlands as the fourth most democratic country in the world.
The monarch is the head of state, at present Queen Beatrix. Constitutionally, the position is equipped with limited powers. The monarch can exert some influence during the formation of a new cabinet, where they serve as neutral arbiter between the political parties. Additionally, the king (the title queen has no constitutional significance) has the right to be informed and consulted. Depending on the personality and qualities of the king and the ministers, the king might have influence beyond the power granted by the constitution.
In practice, the executive power is formed by the ministerraad, the deliberative council of the Dutch cabinet. The cabinet consists usually of thirteen to sixteen 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. In fact, this has been continuously the case since 1973. The Prime Minister is a primus inter pares, meaning he has no explicit powers beyond those of the other ministers. Currently, the Prime Minister is Jan Peter Balkenende.
The Binnenhof is the centre of Dutch politics.
The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament, the States-General which also has legislative powers. The 150 members of the House of Representatives, the Lower House, are elected in direct elections, which are held every four years or after the fall of the cabinet (by 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 less legislative powers, as it can merely reject laws, not propose or amend them.
Both trade unions and employers organisations are consulted beforehand in policymaking in the financial, economic and social areas. They meet regularly with government in the Social-Economic Council. This body advises government and its advice cannot be put aside easily.
While historically the Dutch foreign policy was characterised by neutrality, since the Second World War the Netherlands became a member of a large number of international organisations, most prominently the UN, NATO and the EU. The Dutch economy is very open and relies on international trade.
The Netherlands has a long tradition of social tolerance. In the 18th century, while the Dutch Reformed Church was the state religion, Catholicism and Judaism were tolerated. 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 is linked to Dutch criminal justice policies on recreational drugs, prostitution, LGBT rights, euthanasia, and abortion which are among the most liberal in the world.

Political parties

Seats in the Dutch House of Representatives after the 2006 elections
     PvdD (2)     D66 (3)     GL (7)     SP (25)     PvdA (33)      CU (6)     CDA (41)     VVD (22)     SGP (2)     PVV (9)
Due to the multi-party system, no single party has ever held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, and coalition cabinets had to be formed. Since suffrage became universal in 1919, the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest family were the Christian democrats, currently represented by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), second were the social democrats, of which the Labour Party (PvdA) is currently the largest party, and third were the liberals, of which the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is the main representative. These cooperated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian democrats had always been a partner: so either a centre left coalition of the Christian democrats and social democrats was ruling or a centre right coalition of Christian democrats and liberals. In the 1970s, the party system became more volatile: the Christian democratic parties lost seats, while new parties became successful, such as the radical democrat and progressive liberal D66.
In the 1994 election, the CDA lost its dominant position. A "purple" cabinet was formed by VVD, D66, and PvdA. In the 2002 elections, this cabinet lost its majority, due to the rise of the LPF, a new political party around the flamboyant populist Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated a week before the elections. The elections also saw increased support for the CDA. A short lived cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD, and LPF, which was led by the CDA leader democrats, Jan Peter Balkenende. After the 2003 elections in which the LPF lost almost all its seats, a cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD, and D66. The cabinet initiated an ambitious program of reforming the welfare state, the health care system, and the immigration policies.
In June 2006, the cabinet fell after D66 voted in favour of a motion of no confidence against minister of immigration and integration Rita Verdonk in the aftermath of the upheaval about the asylum procedure of VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali instigated by the Dutch immigration minister Verdonk. A care taker cabinet was formed by CDA and VVD, and the general elections were held on 22 November 2006. In these elections, the Christian Democratic Appeal remained the largest party and the Socialist Party made the largest gains. The formation of a new cabinet started two days after the elections. Initial investigations towards a CDA-SP-PvdA coalition failed, after which a coalition of CDA, PvdA, and ChristianUnion was formed.
On 20 February 2010, the cabinet fell as the PvdA refused to prolong the involvement of the Dutch Army in Uruzgan, Afghanistan.[42]

Administrative divisions

The Netherlands is divided into twelve administrative regions, called provinces, each under a Governor, who is called Commissaris van de Koningin (Commissioner of the Queen), except for the province Limburg where the commissioner is called Gouverneur (Governor). All provinces are divided into municipalities (gemeenten), 431 in total (1 January 2010). The country is also subdivided in water districts, governed by a water board (waterschap or hoogheemraadschap), each having authority in matters concerning water management. As of 1 January 2005 there are 27. The creation of water boards actually pre-dates that of the nation itself, the first appearing in 1196. In fact, the Dutch water boards are one of the oldest democratic entities in the world still in existence.
Flag Province Capital Largest city Area (km2) Population[44] Density
(per km2)
Flag Drenthe.svg Drenthe Assen Assen 2,641 486,197 184
Flevolandflag.svg Flevoland Lelystad Almere 1,417 374,424 264
Frisian flag.svg Friesland Leeuwarden Leeuwarden 3,341 642,209 192
Gelderland-Flag.svg Gelderland Arnhem Nijmegen 4,971 1,979,059 398
Flag Groningen.svg Groningen Groningen Groningen 2,333 573,614 246
NL-LimburgVlag.svg Limburg Maastricht Maastricht 2,150 1,127,805 525
North Brabant-Flag.svg North Brabant Den Bosch Eindhoven 4,916 2,419,042 492
Flag North-Holland, Netherlands.svg North Holland Haarlem Amsterdam 2,671 2,613,070 978
Flag Overijssel.svg Overijssel Zwolle Enschede 3,325 1,116,374 336
Utrecht (province)-Flag.svg Utrecht Utrecht Utrecht 1,385 1,190,604 860
Flag of Zeeland.svg Zeeland Middelburg Middelburg 1,787 380,497 213
Flag Zuid-Holland.svg South Holland The Hague Rotterdam 2,814 3,455,097 1228

Demographics

Population of the Netherlands from 1900 to 2000
The Netherlands have an estimated population of 16,491,852 (as of 8 March 2009).[45] It is the 11th most populous country in Europe and the 61st most populous country in the world. Between 1900 and 1950, the country's population almost doubled from 5.1 to 10.0 million people. From 1950 to 2000, the population further increased from 10.0 to 15.9 million people, but the population growth decreased compared to the previous fifty years.[46] The estimated growth rate is currently 0.436% (as of 2008).[47] The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.66 children per woman (as of 2008),[47] which is high compared to many other European countries, but well below the 2.1-rate required for natural population replacement. Life expectancy is high in the Netherlands: 82 years for newborn girls and 77 for boys (2007). The country has a migration rate of 2.55 migrants per 1,000 inhabitants.
The majority of the population of the Netherlands are ethnically Dutch. A 2005 estimate counted: 80.9% Dutch, 2.4% Indonesian (Indo-Dutch, South Moluccan), 2.4% German, 2.2% Turkish, 2.0% Surinamese, 1.9% Moroccan, 0.8% Antillean and Aruban, and 6.0% others.[48] The Dutch people are among the tallest in the world, with an average height of about 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in) for adult males and 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) for adult females.[49] People in the south are on average about 2 cm shorter than those in the north.[50]
The Netherlands is the 25th most densely populated country in the world, with 395 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,023 sq mi)—or 484 people per square kilometre (1,254/sq mi) if only the land area is counted. It is the most densely populated country in Europe with a population over 16 million. The Randstad is the country's largest conurbation located in the west of the country and contains the four largest cities: Amsterdam in the province North Holland, Rotterdam and The Hague in the province South Holland, and Utrecht in the province Utrecht. The Randstad has a population of 7 million inhabitants and is the 6th largest metropolitan area in Europe.
Dutch people, or descendants of Dutch people, are also found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United States. According to the 2006 U.S. Census, more than 5 million Americans claim total or partial Dutch ancestry.[51] There are close to 3 million Dutch-descended Afrikaners living in South Africa.[52] In 1940, there were 290,000 Europeans and Eurasians in Indonesia,[53] but most have since left the country.[54]
Cities by population
Rank City Province Population Rank City Province Population
Netherlands
Population density[55]
1 Amsterdam North Holland 761.395 7 Almere Flevoland 188.017
2 Rotterdam South Holland 584.856 8 Groningen Groningen 184.929
3 The Hague South Holland 485.818 9 Breda North Brabant 172.219
4 Utrecht Utrecht 301.632 10 Nijmegen Gelderland 161.634
5 Eindhoven North Brabant 212.679 11 Enschede Overijssel 156.109
6 Tilburg North Brabant 203.492 12 Apeldoorn Gelderland 155.415
2008 estimate[56][57]

Language

The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by a majority of the inhabitants.
Another official language is Frisian, which is spoken in the northern province of Friesland, called Fryslân in that language. Frisian is also spoken in some villages in the west of the province of Groningen.[58] Frisian is co-official only in the province of Friesland, although with a few restrictions. Several dialects of Low Saxon (Nedersaksisch in Dutch) are spoken in much of the north and east, like the Tweants in the Twente region, and are recognised by the Netherlands as regional languages according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as well as the Meuse-Rhenish Franconian varieties in the southeastern province of Limburg, here called Limburgish language.[27]
There is a tradition of learning foreign languages in the Netherlands: about 70% of the total population have good knowledge of conversational English, 55– 59% of German and 19% of French.[59] Most Dutch secondary schools also teach classical languages and/or modern languages. Modern languages with official state exams are English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Russian and Frisian.[60]

Religion

The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in Western Europe, with only 39% being religiously affiliated (31% for those aged under 35). Fewer than 20% visit church regularly.[61]
Currently Roman Catholicism is the single largest religion of the Netherlands, forming the religious home of some 26.3% of the Dutch people, down from 40% in the 1970s. The Protestant Church of the Netherlands is followed by 11.4% of the population. It was formed in 2004 as a merger of the two major strands of Calvinism: the Dutch Reformed Church (which represented roughly 8.5% of the population) and the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (3.7% of the population) and a smaller Lutheran Church. Other Protestant churches, mostly orthodox Calvinist splits, represent 6% of the population. In 2006 there were 850,000 Muslims, 5% of the total Dutch population.[62] The Netherlands has an estimated 250,000 Buddhists or people who feel strongly attracted by this religion, largely white Dutch. In 1998, there were only 16,000 including just 4,000 Dutch natives and 12,000 Buddhist immigrants from Asia. There are approximately 95,000 Hindus, of whom 85% originally came from Suriname. Netherland Sikhs are a religious minority in Netherland. They number around 12,000 and most of them live in or around Amsterdam. There are 5 gurudwaras in the Netherlands.
Although The Holocaust deeply affected the Jewish community, killing some 75% of the some 140,000 Jews at the time present in Netherlands, since then the community has managed to rebuild a vibrant and lively Jewish life for its approximately 45,000 present members. Before World War II, 10% of the Amsterdam population was Jewish.[63]
According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[64] 34% of Dutch citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 37% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 27% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
In 1950, before the secularisation of Europe and the large settlement of non-Europeans in the Netherlands, most Dutch citizens identified themselves as Christians. In 1950, out of a total population of almost 13 million, a total of 7,261,000 belonged to Protestant denominations, 3,703,000 belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, and 1,641,000 had no acknowledged religion. Since then, the general collapse in religiosity has struck Protestants somewhat harder than Catholics, which partly explains why the Catholic Church has a larger percentage now. However, Christian schools are still funded by the government, but the same applies for schools founded on other religions, Islam in particular. While all schools must meet strict quality criteria, from 1917 the freedom of schools is a basic principle in the Netherlands.
Three political parties in the Dutch parliament (CDA, ChristianUnion and SGP) base their policy on the Christian belief system. Although The Netherlands is a secular state, in some municipalities where the Christian parties have the majority the council practices religion by praying before a meeting. Also in a few remaining (rural) spots, roads are closed for car traffic on Sundays and religious holidays. Municipalities in general also give civil servants a day off on Christian religious holidays, such as Easter and the Ascension of Jesus.[65] On 4 September 2008, a discussion was started by Tineke Huizinga whether Islam should receive a holiday, like Christianity. In 2005, 20% of the Dutch thought it should be a national holiday (which means the entire country receives a day off work or school) and 45% thought that Eid ul-Fitr should at least be recognized as a holiday.[66]

Culture

The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. The 17th century, when the Dutch republic was prosperous, was the age of the "Dutch Masters", such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruysdael and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th and 20th century were Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. M. C. 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. All of Descartes' major work was done in the Netherlands. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) discovered Saturn's moon Titan and invented the pendulum clock. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms with a microscope.
In the Dutch Golden Age, literature flourished as well, with Joost van den Vondel and P.C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in Dutch colonies. Important 20th century authors include Harry Mulisch, Jan Wolkers, Simon Vestdijk, Cees Nooteboom, Gerard (van het) Reve and Willem Frederik Hermans. Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she died in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.
Replicas of Dutch buildings can be found in Huis ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan. A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang, China.
Windmills, tulips, wooden shoes, cheese and Delftware pottery are among the items associated with the Netherlands by tourists.
The Netherlands in a single image: flat, dense traffic, a big polder ('Grote Polder'), a canal, old and new windmills, and flowers

Education

The Netherlands has compulsory education from age 5 to 18 (or 16 as a study is completed which has given the student adequate professional skills to start as a professional in the labour market).
Pupils attend primary or elementary school from age 4 to age 12. After that they continue their education at secondary school minimally until age 18; which indicates one of three tracks in the Dutch educational system.
The vocational track starts with VMBO, which is seen as the lowest level of secondary education and lasts four years. Successfully completing VMBO results in a low level vocational degree and/or gives access to higher (secondary) levels vocational education. Completion of second level vocational education results in professional skills and gives access to further study a university of applied science.
The medium level HAVO lasts five years. After completion a student can attend a university of applied science, which award professional bachelor degrees. A degree at a university of applied science gives access to the university system.
The highest level of high school education is VWO, which lasts six years, completion of which allows students to attend a university. University consists of a three year bachelor's degrees, followed by one or two year master's degrees. A master's degree is required to start a four year doctoral degree. Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are temporary employees of a university.

Military

The Netherlands has the oldest standing army in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau. 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 1830. It was deployed mainly in the Dutch colonies, as the Netherlands remained neutral in European wars (including WWI), until the Netherlands was invaded in WWII and quickly conquered by the Wehrmacht in May 1940.
After WWII, the Netherlands dropped their neutrality, and the Dutch army became part of the NATO army strength in Cold War Europe; holding several bases in Germany. In 1996 conscription was ended, and the Dutch army was once again transformed into a professional army. Since the 1990s the Dutch army has been involved in the Bosnian War, the Kosovo War, has been holding a province in Iraq after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, and is currently engaged in Afghanistan.
The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke (Royal):
General Peter van Uhm is the current Commander of the Netherlands armed forces. All military specialities, except the submarine service, the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (Korps Mariniers) are open to women. 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 found impossible for women to become a commando. The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs almost 70,000 personnel, including over 20,000 civilian and over 50,000 military personnel.[67]

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace Global Peace Index[68] 22 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 6 out of 182
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 6 out of 180
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 10 out of 133
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 7 out of 175
The Economist Democracy Index 4 out of 167

See also


Notes

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  3. ^ Human Development Report 2009. The United Nations. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  4. ^ van Krieken, Peter J.; David McKay (2005). The Hague: Legal Capital of the World. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9067041858. , specifically, "In the 1990s, during his term as United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali started calling The Hague the world's legal capital"
  5. ^ Netherlands, Index of Economic Freedom
  6. ^ "Milieurekeningen 2008". Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek. http://www.cbs.nl/NR/rdonlyres/D2CE63F9-D210-4006-B68B-98BE079EA9B6/0/2008c167pub.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  7. ^ http://www.eupedia.com/netherlands/trivia.shtml
  8. ^ John Lothrop Motley, The Rise of the Dutch Republic Vol. III (harper Bros.: New York, 1855) p. 411.
  9. ^ Motley, p. 508.
  10. ^ David Harris Willson, History of England (Holt,Rinehart & Winston: New York, 1972) p. 294.
  11. ^ a b Motley
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  13. ^ "The Middle Colonies: New York ". Digital History.
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  15. ^ "Japan Goes Dutch", London Review of Books (2001-04-01). 3-7.
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  17. ^ a b Abbenhuis, Maartje M. The Art of Staying Neutral. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2006.
  18. ^ 93 trains
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  37. ^ Amsterdam - Economische Zaken
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  39. ^ Port of Rotterdam
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  55. ^ Population density in the Netherlands by neighbourhood as of 2007.
  56. ^ Population data for whole municipalities as of 2008.
  57. ^ Statline. Statistics Netherlands. Retrieved on 2009-02-23.
  58. ^ CIA World Factbook: Official languages per country
  59. ^ Ginsburgh, Victor; Ignacio Ortuño-Ortin, Shlomo Weber (February 2005). "Why Do People Learn Foreign Languages?" (PDF). Université libre de Bruxelles. http://bib17.ulb.ac.be:8080/dspace/bitstream/2013/1957/1/vg-0155.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-10.  - specifically, see Table 2.
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  61. ^ Becker, Jos and Joep de Hart (2006) (in Dutch). Godsdienstige veranderingen in Nederland. Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau. ISBN 9037702597. OCLC 84601762. 
  62. ^ "Towards a new estimation on the number of Muslims in the Netherlands" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics, the Netherlands. 2006. http://www.cbs.nl/NR/rdonlyres/ACE89EBE-0785-4664-9973-A6A00A457A55/0/2007k3b15p48art.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  63. ^ Jewish Amsterdam. Accessed 20th July 2007
  64. ^ "Eurobarometer on Social Values, Science and technology 2005 - page 11" (PDF). http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_225_report_en.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  65. ^ "Feestdagen Nederland". Beleven.org. http://www.beleven.org/feesten/lijsten/landen.php?land=Nederland. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  66. ^ "Discussie » Moet Nederland een islamitische feestdag krijgen?". Weblogs2.nrc.nl. 2008-09-04. http://weblogs2.nrc.nl/discussie/2008/09/04/moet-nederland-een-islamitische-feestdag-krijgen/. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  67. ^ Ministerie van defensie - Werken bij Defensie
  68. ^ "Vision of Humanity". Vision of Humanity. http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/home.php. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 

References

Statistics
Articles
Books
  • Paul Arblaster. A History of the Low Countries. Palgrave Essential Histories Series New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 298 pp. ISBN 1-4039-4828-3.
  • J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts, eds. History of the Low Countries (1998)
  • Jonathan Israel. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (1995)
  • J. A. Kossmann-Putto and E. H. Kossmann. The Low Countries: History of the Northern and Southern Netherlands (1987)

External links

Government
General information
News media
Employment
Travel

Dutch usually refers to:

  • Something from or related to the Netherlands
  • Dutch people, people from the Netherlands or their descendants
  • Dutch language, spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, Curaçao, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles
  • Something associated with German, (Deutsch) through associated meaning and sound of the word
  • Pennsylvania Dutch, German settlers in Pennsylvania and their language

It may also refer to:

Personal nicknames
Places
In sports
Other

See also

MLD


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Benelux : Netherlands
noframe
Location
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Flag
Image:nl-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government
Government Constitutional monarchy
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area 41,526 km2
Population 16 369 056 (may 2007 est.)
Language Dutch, Frisian (official)
Religion Roman Catholic 31%, Protestant 21%, Muslim 4.4%, other 3.6%, unaffiliated 40%
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +31
Internet TLD .nl
Time Zone UTC +1
The Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Netherlands in short, (Dutch: Nederland, also commonly called Holland in English, in reference to the provinces North-Holland and South-Holland) is a Benelux country and a founding member of the European Union. The Netherlands border Germany to the east and Belgium to the south. To the west, the country faces the North Sea and the United Kingdom. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to as "Dutch".

Understand

History

The southern part of the country was part of the Holy Roman Empire until it was acquired piece by piece by the Burgundians. At the end of the Middle Ages, it became a Spanish possession (together with what is now Belgium). Little survives from this period, except a few historic city centers, and a few castles.
Following the Dutch Revolt, led by national hero William of Orange (Willem van Oranje), the Netherlands became a de facto independent republic in 1572. The (first) split with Belgium came when the northern provinces (including Flanders) signed the Union of Utrecht in 1579. It grew to become one of the major economic and seafaring powers in the world during the 17th century, which is known as the Dutch Golden Age (Gouden Eeuw). During this period, many colonies were founded or conquered, including the Netherlands East Indies (currently Indonesia) and New Amsterdam (currently New York City), which was later traded with the British for Suriname.
In 1805, the country became a kingdom when Emperor Napoleon appointed his brother 'King of Holland'. In 1815, it became the 'United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden) together with Belgium and Luxembourg under King William I (Willem I). In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. Luxembourg received independence from the Netherlands in 1890, as the Salic Law prohibited a female ruler.
Avoiding the liberal revolutions of 1848 and new adopted Treaty, The Netherlands quietly became a constitutional monarchy and remained neutral in World War I but suffered a brutal invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. In 1944, the Low Countries formed the union of the Benelux in which they economically (and sometimes politically) work together. The country was a founding member of NATO in 1949 and the European Community (EC) in 1957, and participated in the introduction of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.

Culture

Quite a few travelers visit the Netherlands to enjoy its famously tolerant attitude: prostitution is decriminalized, but only for those prostitutes registered at a permitted brothel. Safe sex and use of condoms is common practice, and the prostitute will usually have these available. It is illegal for sex workers to solicit for customers on the street and prostitutes are most common in the capital Amsterdam, where red-light districts are popular, even if tourists only visit as a momento of the visit. In more rural areas, prostitution is almost non-existant. Sex shops, sex shows, sex museums and drugs museums are also popular. The sale, possession, and consumption of small quantities of cannabis while technically still illegal, is officially tolerated, but coffeeshops are subject to increasing restrictions. Harder drugs (eg. ecstasy or cocaine) remain illegal both in theory and practice. In the same open minded atmosphere is the Dutch ease towards homosexuality, gay marriage is legalized. Also the practice of Euthanasia is legalized under strict conditions.

Geography

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. No matter where you go, you are never far away from civilization. Cities can be crowded especially in the Randstad area, where congestion is a serious problem. Much of the country is flat and at or below sea level making it an ideal place to cycle. Hills can only be found at the Veluwe and Southern Limburg. Much of countryside is dominated by highly industrialized farming - despite its population density, the Netherlands are one of the largest food exporters in the world. Though there are some beautiful spots scattered across the country, the tourist expecting a countryside full of picturesque villages, tulips and windmills may be in for a bit of a shock. The villages, tulips and windmills are there for sure, you just have to find them (for example, in the Waterland and Zaan Region). The most beautiful places are most of the times the places only known by the Dutch themselves. Asking a Dutch(wo)man for some ideas of what to see could be helpful. Otherwise just visit local 'tourist shops', known as the VVV, they can be found in all the larger towns.
The geography of the Netherlands is dominated by water features. The country is criss-crossed with rivers, canals and dikes, and the beach is never far away. The western coast of the Netherlands has one of the most beautiful North Sea beaches that can be found, attracting thousands if not millions of people every year, among them a lot of Germans as well.

Regions

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, administratively divided into 12 provinces (provincies). Even though the Netherlands is a small country, these provinces are quite diverse and have plenty of cultural and linguistic differences. They can be divided in four regions:
Regions of the Netherlands
Regions of the Netherlands
Western Netherlands (Flevoland, North-Holland, South-Holland, Utrecht)
Commonly called the Randstad, this is the heart of the Netherlands with it's four biggest cities as well as the typical Dutch countryside.
Northern Netherlands (Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen, West Frisian Islands)
The least densely populated area, mostly unexplored.
Eastern Netherlands (Gelderland, Overijssel)
Historic cities and forests to go about.
Southern Netherlands (Limburg, North-Brabant, Zeeland)
Divided from the rest by its Catholic history.

Cities

The Netherlands has many cities and towns of interest to travelers. Below are nine of the most notable ones:
  • Amsterdam — traveller magnet due to its impressive architecture, lovely canals (grachten), museums and liberal attitudes
  • Delft — historic unspoiled town with the world famous blue and white ceramics
  • Groningen — student city with a relaxed atmosphere and nightlife till the sun gets up
  • The Hague (Den Haag) — seat of government, royal family, judicial capital of the world and Madurodam
  • Leiden — historic student city with the country's oldest university and three national museums
  • Maastricht — fortified medieval city showing the different culture, style and architecture of the south
  • Nijmegen — oldest city of the country, known for its forest marches, left-wing politics and large student population
  • Rotterdam — modern architecture, good nightlife and the largest port of Europe
  • Utrecht — historic center, nice antique stores and the Rietveld-Schröder House
Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk
These are some interesting destinations outside of the major cities.
  • De Biesbosch National Park — one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe
  • Efteling — renowned theme park with fairytale elements like elves and dwarves
  • Hoge Veluwe National Park — largest national park with heathlands, sand dunes and woodlands
  • Keukenhof — millions of tourists visit these enormous flower fields each Spring
  • Kinderdijk — these windmills show the typical Dutch landscape in all its glory
  • Schokland — old island evacuated in 1859, a well-preserved ghost village remains
  • Texel — largest island suited for cycling, walking, swimming and horse riding
  • Waterland and Zaan Region — typical Dutch countryside villages with polders, clogs and windmills
  • Zaanse Schans — popular well-preserved historic windmills and houses
See National Parks in the Benelux for a full list of national parks.

Get in

Netherlands is a member of the Schengen Agreement. For EU, EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) or Swiss citizens, an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. In no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length. Others will generally need a passport for entry.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: Not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union.
Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration and Customs at the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you travelling within the Schengen area or not, some airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.
Keep in mind that the counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa.
As of January 2010 only the citizens of the following non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area; note that they must not stay longer than three months in half a year and must not work while in the EU: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.
Note that
  • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
  • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general do require visas.
However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.
Further note that
(*) Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian citizens need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel and
(**) Serbian citizens with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Serbs residing in Kosovo) still do need a visa. Visas and long-term residence permits for non-EU nationals are handled by IND [1].
There are a number of ways to get into the Netherlands. From neighboring European countries, a drive with the car or a train ride are feasible; visitors from further away will probably be using air travel. Visitors from the United Kingdom can also travel by boat.

By plane

Schiphol Airport [2] , near Amsterdam, is a European hub, and after London, Paris, and Frankfurt the largest of Europe. It is by far the biggest international airport in the country, and a point of interest in itself, being 4 metres below mean sea level (the name actually translates as Hollow of Ships). Travellers can easily fly in from most places of the world and then connect with The Netherlands' biggest airline KLM [3].
From Schiphol there are excellent railway connections: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and most large cities have a direct train service. The train station at Schiphol is located underground, under the main airport hall. The train is the quickest and cheapest way to get around in the Netherlands. Taxis are expensive: legal taxis have blue number plates, others should be avoided. Some hotels in Amsterdam, and around the airport, have a shuttle bus service.
Some budget airlines also fly to the Netherlands. Jet2.com [4], Easyjet [5], SkyEurope [6] and other low-cost carriers serve Schiphol, providing a fairly economical way to city-hop to Amsterdam from other spots in Europe. Especially flying to/from the British Isles and the Mediterranian countries can be relatively cheap. It's important that you book as early as possible, as prices tend to get higher closer to departure.
Other international airports are Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht/Aachen Airport, Rotterdam Airport, and Groningen-Eelde Airport. These smaller airports are mainly attended by low-cost airlines. Eindhoven Airport and Maastricht/Aachen Airport are mostly used by Ryanair [7], while Rotterdam Airport is dominated by Transavia [8]. Trains or a direct bus connection (in the case of Eindhoven Airport) are the best way to get to Amsterdam or any other town.
It is also possible to come to the Netherlands via airports lying in surrounding countries. Much-used airports are Düsseldorf Airport and Brussels Zaventem Airport.

By train

from France and Belgium

The Thalys high-speed train [9], which connects the Netherlands with France and Belgium, is a bit expensive, but if you book a return in advance or if you're under 26 or over 60 you can get good deals. It is also faster, normally cheaper and more convenient than flying.
For trips to Brussels or Antwerp it is usually cheaper - and almost as fast - to catch the Benelux train, which runs hourly from Amsterdam, via Schiphol, The Hague, Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Roosendaal. No seat reservations are required - just buy your ticket and get on board.
.Between Maastricht and Brussels runs a new hourly intercity service called the Maastricht Brussel Express, which also stops at Liege.^ 'Your transatlantic love is proof of the lasting connection between old and new Amsterdam,' Cohen said in the service."
  • The Netherlands Hub | The Netherlands Gay Blog Report | Towleroad, News Daily for Gay Guys. 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.towleroad.com [Source type: General]

Maastricht-Liege takes around 30 minutes, Maastricht-Brussels takes about 1½ hours. Tickets can be bought at the stations or on-line on Express' website [10].

from Germany

The ICE high-speed train, runs from Frankfurt to Amsterdam, via Cologne, Düsseldorf, Arnhem, and Utrecht.
Intercity trains run from Berlin and Hannover to Amsterdam or Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, via Osnabrück, Hengelo, Deventer, Apeldoorn, Amersfoort and Hilversum.
There are also a number of regional trains from and to Germany:

By bus

Eurolines [11] is the main 'operator' for international coaches to the Netherlands. (In fact the name Eurolines is a common brand-name used by different operators). Services are limited: only a few main routes have a daily service, eg.from Poland, London, Milan, Brussels and Paris [12]. But this is the cheapest way to travel and you get discount if your age is less than 26.
Due to the Bosnian war in the 1990'ies there are bus companies serving the Bosnian diaspora, which provide a cheap and clean way of getting to the other side of the European continent. Semi tours [13] runs three times per week from various destinations in Bosnia and Hercegovina to Belgium and the Netherlands, Off-season approx 165€ for a return ticket.

By car

The Netherlands can be reached from Belgium and Germany by road. Road access is very good in this country. The borders are open under the terms of the Schengen Agreement. Cars can be stopped behind the border for random checks, but this barely happens. There are car ferry services from the United Kingdom, see below. The UK is not part of the Schengen zone, and full border checks apply.

By boat

There are three ferry services from the UK
  • Stena Line [14] between Harwich and Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland)
More information, timetables and ticket prices for the North Sea ferries is available at Ferries To Amsterdam [17]. Dutchflyer[18] is a combination ticket that includes the trainride from anywhere on the National Express East Anglia [19] network (including London and Norwich) to Harwich, the ferry, and the trainride from Hook of Holland to anywhere on the NS (dutch railways) network. Rotterdam is also the second largest port in the world, and (in theory) a good place for Freighter travel.

Get around

The Netherlands has a fine-grained, well-organized public transport system. Virtually any village can be reached by public transport. The Dutch public transport system consists of a train network which serves as backbone, extended with a network of both local and interlocal busses. Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a metro network, and Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag and Utrecht also have trams.

By train

The country is densely populated and urbanised, and train services are frequent. In the western Netherlands, the rail network is more like a large urban network, with up to 12 trains per hour on main routes. There are two main types of trains: Intercity trains, and trains which stop at all stations (previously called 'Stoptrein'). (The Intercity is not as fast as 'Intercity' services in some other countries, and it stops more often). Both types of train have the same prices. Travelling all the way from the north of the country (Groningen) to the south (Maastricht) takes about 4.5 hours.
Most lines offer one train every 30 minutes; only some rural lines run every 60 minutes. Where more lines run together, the frequency is of course higher. In the western Netherlands, the rail network is more like a large urban network, with up to 12 trains per hour on main routes.
The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) [20] operates most routes. Some local lines are operated by Syntus, Arriva, Veolia and Connexxion.
Because of the high service frequency, delays are quite common. However, the delay is usually not more than 5 or 10 minutes. .Note though that the NS boasts a punctuality of 80-85% (meaning that percentage of trains departs/arrives within 3 minutes of the scheduled time), which could be higher than you're used to.^ Of course if you're that gone, will you have the foresight to use it?
  • The Netherlands Hub | The Netherlands Gay Blog Report | Towleroad, News Daily for Gay Guys. 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.towleroad.com [Source type: General]

Trains can be crowded during the rush hour, especially in the morning, but you should nearly always be able to find a seat. Reserving seats on domestic trains is not possible.
There is a convenient night train service (for party-goers and airport traffic) between Rotterdam, Delft, Den Haag, Leiden, Schiphol, Amsterdam, and Utrecht, all night long, once an hour in each direction. There is a direct and hourly night train service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between Rotterdam and Utrecht. In the nights Friday onto Saturday and Saturday onto Sunday, North-Brabant is also served. You can get to Dordrecht,'s-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Tilburg, and Breda.

Buying tickets

Tickets are available between all stations, NS and non-NS, and there is only one national tariff system. Tickets are valid on both sprinter and intercity services; there is no difference in price. The most used tickets are the single (enkele reis) and return tickets (retour). The latter are 1.67 times the price of a single (or a single is 60% of the return price) and are valid only for return on the day itself, or in case of the weekendretour (same price as a normal return) between Friday 19:00 and Monday morning 4:00. Tickets are valid in any train on the route (as opposed to being valid in only one fixed train). It is allowed to pause the travel at any station on the route (even on stations on the route where you don't have to change). Like in many countries, there is a difference between first and second class. A second class ticket is 60% of the price of a first class ticket. The main advantage of first class is that it's less crowded, also seats and aisles are generally wider. For children 4-11 years accompanied by adults, a Railrunner ticket can be bought for €2.
Tickets cannot be purchased cheaper in advance like in some countries. The ticket price is uniform and depends on distance. Note that you can buy a ticket without a date in advance, which has to be validated when entering the platform, but this doesn't make the ticket cheaper, it's just for convenience. If you have a ticket without a date printed on it, do not forget to validate it by putting it in the small yellow boxes which are usually located at the platform entrance.
Tickets can be purchased from machines in stations using debit cards (international debit cards are accepted if they have the Maestro symbol on it). Some of the machines – at least one at each station – also accept coins (but no notes!). Only larger stations have a ticket counter — you pay €0.50 more than at the machine, per ticket. Ticket machines come in two kinds: an older version with an two-line greenish LCD display, and a new version with a big touch screen. The latter has English-language menus available. There is also a demonstration of this system [21] on the internet. A common mistake made by foreigners is accidentally getting a 40% discount ('korting') ticket from the machine. A special discount-card is required for these tickets, although you can travel on other people's discount cards too. (See Discount rail pass). If you have trouble using the ticket machine, ask someone else for help; almost everyone speaks English and will help you out. It is also possible to buy e-tickets [22] online, although at the moment a dutch bank account for payment (iDEAL) is necessary.
You must buy a ticket before travelling — since 2005, you can no longer simply buy a ticket from the conductor, as in some other countries. If you buy a ticket onboard, you will have to pay the normal price plus a € 35 fine. If the ticket machines are defective, go to the conductor immediately when boarding. The conductor is not allowed any discretion on this policy, though being polite and pretending to be an ignorant tourist might help you – but is not guaranteed – to get away with having an invalid ticket. In worst case though, if you do not have either enough cash, or a passport, you could be arrested by railway police.

In the station

While many villages have small stations with only one or two platforms and no railway staff, cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht have large central stations with up to 14 platforms. It can take 5-10 minutes to move from one platform to another, especially for people not familiar with the station. The platforms are all numbered. When platforms are so long that two or more trains can halt at the same platform, the different parts of the platform are indicated with the lowercase letters a/b/c. On some stations, capital letters are used to indicate which part of the train stops at which part of the station. Do not confuse the lowercase and uppercase letters.
Time tables can be found in the station hall and on the platforms. All train tables are yellow. Departing train tables are printed in blue, arriving train tables in red. Unlike in other countries, the trains are not ordered by time of departure, but by direction. Additionally, more and more stations have blue electronic screens, indicating the trains departing during the next hour.

Discount rail pass

Visitors planning to travel by train in the Netherlands should consider the Eurail pass with the Benelux package. This allows for unlimited train travel within Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg over multiple days. Europeans, not being eligible for Eurail passes, should look into Inter Rail Passes for their discount train travel.
If two or three people want to travel around the Netherlands together for a few days during the summer, the Zomertoer may be used. This pass gives them two, not necessarily consecutive, days of unlimited travel. An add-on also allows you to travel on all other public transportation in the country. In autumn weekends, the Herfsttoer also gives some discounts.
If you're thinking of staying a longer time in the Netherlands it can be a good deal to get the "Voordeelurenkaart" (Off-Peak Discount Pass), which gives the cardholder (and up to three additional persons travelling with him or her) 40% off for one year. 40% discount tickets are valid after 9:00AM on weekdays and the whole day in weekends, on national holidays and in the months July and August. Price €55 for one year (2009). The voordeel-urenkaart must be applied for in advance and can take some weeks to process. A temporary card, which can be used for four weeks, will be issued right away when you apply. Since 2007, applying for a card requires a photograph.
If you're only in the Netherlands for one day and want to see much of the country by train, you may want to get an "OV-Dagkaart". It's on all-inclusive ticket for all public transportation for € 45 (2009). But note: it may be cheaper to just buy a ticket. For example: to get your money's worth on the OV-dagkaart would require about 6 hours train travel in one day.
Slightly more adventurous is to make use of the extra advantages of 'Off-peak Discount Passes' or people who have a 'Year Pass' (most students or some cival servants). It is possible, but some people may be offended when asked by strangers. There is a way to travel cheaper without having a pass yourselves: find a student with an 'O.V.-kaart' (Year Pass for Public Transportation), or someone who possesses a 'Voordeel-urenkaart' who travels on the same traject as you do. They are allowed to take up to three fellow travelers (this would be you) who can enjoy a 40% discount. You have to buy the discounted railway-ticket in advance (no need to show your Pass at the desk or buy it from an automatic ticket machine), but it won't be a problem to find someone accompanying you. This deal only works during weekends, or during weekdays after 9:00AM, on national holidays and in the summer months July and August. When the conductor asks for you 'cheaper' railway-ticket; the fellow who is accompanying you must show his 'Discount' or 'Year Pass'. It doesn't matter who it is as long as someone helps you out during your travel (when they come to check the tickets). Please note that both passengers should travel the same route. So only when you traveling with a discount card this should be taken in attention. Travelers with a 'O.V.-kaart', don't need to by a additional train ticket so there journey is unknown when they check the tickets.

By bus

The network of regional and local buses in the Netherlands is fine-grained and frequent and usually connects well with the train network; you can reach most small villages easily. However, for long-distance travel, these regional buses are not convenient at all, and are much slower than the train.
Fast long-distance buses are only available on a small number of routes that aren't covered by the rail network; these buses have special names that differ by region, such as Q-liner, Brabantliner and Interliner, and special tariffs.
There are four main bus companies in the Netherlands, Connexxion, Veolia, Arriva and Qbuzz. A few large cities have their own bus company.
A cheap way to get across the Netherlands is to buy a "buzzer" ticket. It costs €10 a day, and is valid after 9AM on every single Connexxion bus for two grownups and up to three children. On weekends and holidays it is also valid before 9AM. Because Connexxion has a near monopoly on the bus market, you can get from Groningen to Zeeland this way in a day, and it undercuts the train. A big downside though is that bus lines are very indirect. For example, if you want to travel from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, you have to change three or more times to get all the way there. In short: bus journeys will almost always take longer than train travel. For example, trip to Rotterdam from Utrecht will take 40 minutes, but in the Bus it will take 1 hour and 30 minutes. However, if you want to enjoy the countryside and villages you can prefer the bus trips.
Many companies and regions have their own bus discount tickets, which are often cheaper than the strippenkaart.

Metro, tram

The two largest cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a (small) metro network which runs mainly on bridges outside the city centers, and underground within the center. Furthermore there is a large city tram network in the agglomerations of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague; Utrecht has two sneltram lines (fast tram or light-rail).

(National) Strippenkaart (multiple-strip-/zone-card)

In bus, tram and metro (but not trains), there is a national ticketing system, called the strippenkaart OV-Info [23]. Strippenkaarten of 15 or 45 strips are available for €7.30 and €21.60 respectively (2009). A trip always costs the number of zones you travel through, plus one. So a trip through one zone costs two strips, a travel through two zones costs three strips, etc. For example: starting fee + Amsterdam center + Amsterdam east = 3. A trip on the bus within a city is usually 2 or 3 strips of the card (1 or 2 zones). You can change buses, trams and metros (even between companies) an unlimited number of times, or pause your trip and return in opposite direction for a fixed amount of time dependent on the number of strips:
  • up to 3 zones: 1 hour
  • up to 6 zones: 1,5 hours
  • up to 9 zones: 2 hours
  • up to 15 zones: 3 hours
  • 16 or more zones: 3,5 hours
When using the strippenkaart, it is often most convenient to tell the bus driver your destination, and he will stamp the card in the right place. In some busses and trams, you can stamp the card yourself at the yellow boxes at the platforms or inside. In metro's and the sneltram in Utrecht, this is even necessary as you cannot speak to the driver.
You can get 15- and 45-strippenkaarten in many places, including bus stations, post offices, cigar/magazine shops and some supermarkets (at the service desk or from a vending machine). On the bus smaller strippenkaarten of 2 and 3 strippen are available. These are more more expensive (it costs about twice as much) and not recommended, unless you don't want to use the buses more than once or twice.
The strippenkaart can also be used for multiple-party travel for yourselves and other persons at the same time. In this circumstance, stamp the last strip for every passenger. For example, when travelling with two passengers for three zones (which corresponds to three strips) on a blank card, stamp strip number four and eight.
If the card is nearly full, you can split up a trip on the old card and a new card. In this case, also stamp the last strip of the old card.
In general this 'card' is valid up till one year after new pricing. If you are eligible for discount (due to the fact that you are a Dutch student with special student-O.V.-card, or under 12 or over 65) you can buy special reduced - cheaper - pink ones, which will get you the same mileage for a better price.
Keep in mind that you don't pay to get to a certain destination, but rather for the distance that you travel from your departure point. For example, if you stamp 2 zones in Amsterdam center, the following ride is possible:
Amsterdam center -> Amsterdam east -> Amsterdam center -> Amsterdam west
because it's all in a 1 zone radius from Amsterdam center. Again, be sure that your stamp is still valid (you can always ask the driver).
The strippenkaart is not valid in some highway busses and night busses.
When using the strippenkaart, it is often most convenient to tell the bus driver your destination, and he will stamp the card in the right place. You can do it yourselves as there is a special automat-machine available. In general one basic-strip+strips according to amount of zones to be travelling.

Special bus tickets or 'park-and-ride-(travel-)tickets'

Some towns and cities have special cheaper bus tickets from car parks near the city limits to the city centre, for outside rush hours, usually a return ticket.

OV chipcard

The strippenkaart is being replaced by a pre-paid public transport chipcard system (i.e. OV chipcard) on all forms of public transport ('Openbaar Vervoer'). The system is now operational in all forms of public transport in Rotterdam and Amsterdam (metro, trams, buses), in trains operated by NS, and most (but certainly not all!) busses in the rest of the country. In Rotterdam and Amsterdam, it's the only way of paying in the metro; in buses and trams in Rotterdam and Amsterdam both chipcard and strippenkaart can be used. Even though both systems will operate in parallel in buses and trams in Amsterdam and Rotterdam in 2009, at some point in the coming years the chipcard will be the only way of paying your travel in the metro/bus/tram system of those cities, and after them other cities will follow. Rotterdam will abandon the strippenkaart on all forms of public transport (except train) on 11 February 2010. In this map of the Netherlands the purple colour indicates where the chip card can currently be used.
The OV chipcard will come in three prepaid versions: a 'throwaway' version with the amount in euros for 2 or 3 travels. An 'unpersonal version' directly available at a special OV counter for a basic-fee (€7.50) + re-usable and rechargable top-up-amount in euros (valid up till 5 years) for multiple travel for one person at the time. It may be handed over to some-one else for another travel at a different time; in case of theft or loss it cannot be replaced. And a 'personal version', to be registred and applyed in advance with passport-sized photo and copy of I.D. and (Dutch) bank-account. This version will be only valid for the bearer of the personalized OV chipcard and works similar to the unpersonal version, but also will register all your travels and movements in the Netherlands. In case of theft or loss it can be replaced. Note that a OV chipcard bought anywhere can be used everywhere.
The card has a credit associated with it, when travelling you have to check in at a terminal by holding the card against it. In busses and trams terminals are a small box near the entrances and exits, at train stations they can usually be found on the platform or in the train terminal, and at metro stations you open the gates with it. The terminal then writes off an amount of 4 or 5 euros, or 20 euros in trains, this is a deposit. It is possible to have a negative credit one time, except in trains. Then if you reach your destination you check out again, the system then gives back the deposit, minus the amount due for the distance travelled. The terminal usually shows the credit left on the card when checking out. If you don't check out you will not get the deposit back!
At train stations some ticket machines can read the data on the card, and it can show you the credit left, and the costs of the last travels made with it.
It's possible to get the credit that's on your card payed back to you, at a chip card information desk, but it seems to be discouraged: you can only do this if the amount on your card is between €5 and €30, and you pay an administration fee of €2.50.

Night buses

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht offer public transport at night. Only Amsterdam has a service all night and every night; in the other cities it is more limited, e.g., to the first part of the night, or only during the weekend. Several other cities and regions also have night buses, usually even more limited.
In general these request extra (cash) payment on top of the ordinary ('day-time') strippenkaart or special night-bus tickets. In some cases the ordinary 'strippenkaart' is not valid at all and only to be used for daytime travel.

Traffic information

All public transport companies participate in the OV Reisplanner [24] (Public Transport Travel Planner), which can plan a trip for you using almost all public transportation types. They only know about scheduled detours, however. This is also available by telephone: 0900-9292 (€ 0,70 per minute).
Information about the trains can be found at the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) website [25], which includes a trip planner which uses the latest information about train delays and detours.

By car

A car is a good way to explore the countryside, especially places not connected by rail, such as Veluwe, Zeeland and The North Sea islands. The motorway network is extensive, though heavily used. Congestion during peak hour is usual and can better be avoided. Roads are well signposted. When driving in cities, always give priority to cyclists when turning across a cycle lane. If you are involved in a collision with a cyclist, you will be automatically assumed to be guilty (until proven innocent). If you only wish to see cities a car is not the best option. Due to limited road capacity and parking, cars are actively discouraged from entering most bigger cities.
Public transport buses have the priority when leaving a bus stop, so be careful as they may pull in front of you expecting that you will give way.
Drive on the right. The speed limit in built up areas is 50 km/h with some zones limited to maximum of 30 km/h. Outside of towns speed is limited to 80 km/h (this includes most N-roads). On some local roads the speed limit is 60 km/h. On the highways the limit is 120 km/h except on some roads where the limit is 100 km/h. During rush hour signs above many roads indicate the current speed limit. On semi-highways and some of the N-roads the speed limit is 100 km/h.
Your speed will be checked nationwide by the police and fines are heavy. Pay extra attention to Trajectcontrole signs: that means that in the road you're driving there is an automatic system that checks your average speed on a long section. Radar detectors are illegal devices to have in your car. They will be impounded and you will be fined €250. Keep in mind that the police use so-called radar detector detectors to track down radar detector users, so it is best to turn them off while in Holland. Drinking and driving is not allowed and this is enforced strongly. Breathalyzer tests occur frequently, both on an individual basis (i.e. you get pulled over and the police see it necessary for you to undergo a breathalyzer test) as on a bigger scale (i.e. the police has set up a designated control checkpoint on a highway). A unbroken yellow line next to the sidewalk means no stopping, a broken yellow next to the sidewalk means no parking. Some crossings have "shark teeth" painted on the road, this means you have to give way to the other traffic.
Note that police also use unmarked traffic surveillance cars, especially on the highways. They have a video surveillance system and often they don't stop you right after doing a violation but they keep on following you. That means if you do more violations, you'll be fined for everything you did. Note that the policemen in unmarked cars are obliged to identify themselves after pulling you over, which means you shouldn't have to ask. Policemen in marked cars only have to show their ID when you ask them for it, but they too are obliged to show it when asked.
If your car breaks down on the highway you might go to the nearest roadside emergency telephone; these "praatpalen" can be recognized as they are about 1.5m high, yellow and have a rounded bunny-eared cap on top. This is the direct connection to the emergency and assistance services. Alternatively, you might use a mobile phone to recht the ANWB [26] autoclub via toll-free number 0800-0888; your membership of a foreign autoclub might entitle you to discount rates on their services. Leased (business) cars and rental cars are usually serviced by the ANWB services included in the lease/rental price; but you may want to check any provided booklets.
If you are involved in an accident, both drivers need to complete and counter-sign a statement for their respective insurance companies (damage form/"schadeformulier"). You are required to have this form on hand. The police need to be notified if you have damaged (public) property (especially along the highways), if you have caused any sort of injury, or if the other driver does not agree to sign the insurance statement. It is illegal to hit and run. If the other driver does this, call the police and stay at the scene. The emergency telephonenumber is 112 (tollfree, will even work from disconnected mobile phones); the telephonenumber for non-emergency police presence is 0900-8844.
Road signs with directions are plenty, but having a map is useful, especially in cities where there are many one way streets, and getting from one part of the city to another is not always so straightforward. Be careful not to drive on buslanes, often indicated with markings such as Lijnbus or Bus, nor on cycling paths, marked by the picture of a bicycle, or by a reddish color of asphalt. Also, do not use the rush-hour-lanes (Spitsstrook) when the matrix display above the designated lane indicates a red "X" - this means they cannot be used.
Fuel is easy to come by. Along highways many gas stations are open 24/7. More and more unmanned gas stations can be found, even along highways, selling petrol for a lower rate. These unattended stations accept all common debit and creditcards. All gas stations sell both petrol and dieseloil; the "premium" brands have the same octane level (they alledgedly contain compounds that improve fuel efficiency to offset the higher price). Liquid Petroleum Gas is sold at relatively many gas stations along the high ways, but it is never sold in built-up areas. The symbol for LPG gas is a green-colored gaspump-icon, set beside the general case black-colored gaspump-icon. LPG fueled cars need regular petrol to start the motor, and can also be operated using strictly petrol, though it is more expensive.
If you come in the Netherlands with your LPG fueled car, probably you will need an adaptor. If you buy in your country, ask for the specific Dutch adaptor. The plug sold as "european" (screw style), is used in Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany but won't fit Dutch pumps.
Do not use diesel oil pumps meant for trucks to fuel your cars; while the diesel oil is the same, the pressure is much higher.
Parking fees within cities can be pretty steep. When considering going to bigger cities, such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam, consider use of public transportion to avoid traffic jams and the great difficulties involved in finding a parking spot. P+R park and ride facilities are available at the outskirts of bigger cities; you can park your car cheaply there, and continue your journey via public transport.

By taxi

Taxi service was traditionally a tightly guarded monopoly. In recent years, the market was deregulated, but prices are still high. Taxi drivers are licensed, but they do not, as of yet, have to pass a proficiency exam, providing they know the streets. This is planned in the future, since the taxi market is being re-regulated. In the bigger cities taxi drivers can be un-friendly to very rude. One will find that especially in the western part of the country the cost of a taxi are very high for very little politeness and service. The public transport system often proves to be cheaper and a lot faster.
Some taxi drivers refuse short rides (e.g. under €10). This is illegal, but it's hard to enforce this prohibition. There is a maximum tarriff, and it's built into the taxi meters. If you negotiote a price before you get in, the price you have to pay is the negotiated price, or the metered price, whichever is lower. Getting in a cab without enough money to pay for the ride is illegal, so it's wise to negotiate a price.
All legal taxis have blue license plates. So do some other vehicles for group transport, such as minibus services for the handicapped.

By thumb

Generally okay. Not okay for a quick travel from small towns or non-highway due to lack of traffic; sometimes you will get help from hospitable locals. But gas-stations at highways are quite good places. So try to stay on the highways/motor-ways! However, the large amount of highway crossings in the Netherlands and the lack of fuel stations between them in the Randstad makes it difficult to travel fast over long distances.
At the beginning of or where it leads to highways/motorways it is not officially but mosttimes allowed as long as you stay before the traffic-sign highway/motorway on a spot where cars have slow-speed and it is possible for drivers to let you quickly step in. Also traffic-lights are sometimes an option.
There are official hitchhiking spots (liftershalte(s)) (lift-stops) at the center or edge of 7 major cities:

Amsterdam

Liftplaats at Prins Bernardplein
Liftplaats at Prins Bernardplein
  • Prins Bernhardplein , before NS Station Amsterdam Amstel (on east side of the river Amstel) (past the bus stop). Leads to the ramp of the S112 of the A10, direction E231-A1/E35-A2. It is recommended for the directions Middle-/East-Netherlands. For other directions/routes try also alternative spots.
Alternative spots / other directions:
(It is recommended for the directions West-/South-Netherlands)
  • Amstel (on the west side of the river Amstel) near traffic-lights/Utrechtsebrug and near beginning-/end-stop of Tram-line 25. Leads to the ramp of the S111 of the A10, directions E35-A2-E25/E231-A1.
  • Junction S109 of the A10, close to NS Station RAI (RAI Congress Centre; specially when there are large events or congresses). Leads to the ramp of the S109 of the A10, directions E35-A2-E25/E19-A4/E231-A1.
  • At bus stop Amstelveenseweg / Ringweg Zuid just northeast from metro station Amstelveensweg. There is an on-ramp which leads to the A10 North, A4 South and A9 (both directions). What makes this location convenient is that cars can easily stop in the bus lane in order to pick you up.

Enschede

  • There used to be a hitchhiking spot here on the Westerval near the A1, but it has recently been removed in a road reconstruction.

Den Haag

  • Utrechtsebaan next to the northside of the Malieveld, at the beginning of the E30-A12 towards Utrecht. Also possibilities towards E19-A4 Delft-Rotterdam or E19-A44 Leiden-Amsterdam
Alternative spots / other directions:
  • edge northwest-side of Malieveld/crossing Zuid-Holland-laan/Utrechtse baan/Benoordenhoutseweg, towards Leidsestraatweg N44 and Leiden E19-A44 and Amsterdam E19-A4.

Groningen

  • Emmaviaduct (200m west of Centraal Station), on the road to A28

Maastricht

  • at the beginning of A2 near the soccer-football stadium 'De Geusselt', to E25-A2 (Eindhoven) and A79 (Heerlen).

Nijmegen

  • Graafseweg (Venlo and Den Bosch), at the major city-centre roundabout (verkeersplein) Keizer Karelplein (hitch-hiking on the roundabout itself is not recommended)
  • near the Waalbrug/before the bridge in direction Arnhem,
  • at the Annastraat, close to the Radboud University (RU)/University Medical Centre (UMC)
  • at the Triavium, across shopping centre Dukenburg

Utrecht

  • close to petrol station and ramp of the Waterlinieweg near 'De Galgewaard' soccer-football-stadium, north to A27/A28, south to A2/A12/A27.

By bicycle

Cycling in the Netherlands is much less hazardous than in other countries, because of the infrastructure - cycle paths, cycle lanes, and signposted cycle routes. However, the proliferation of bicycles also means that you're seen as a serious part of traffic - motorists will hate you if you don't keep by the rules. Some things to know:
  • Cycle lanes and cycle paths are indicated by a round blue sign with a white bike icon, an icon on the asphalt, or by red asphalt. Using them is mandatory.
  • Cyclists must obey the same traffic signs as motorists, unless exempted. For example, a cycle icon under a no-entry sign, usually with the text 'uitgezonderd' (except), means cyclists may use the street in both directions.
  • Where there is no cycle lane or path, use the regular road. This is unlike the rule in Germany and Belgium, where you are supposed to use the footpath in many places.
  • On some narrow streets that do have a cycle path parallel to them, mopeds may be required to use the cycle path, rather than the main street (as is usual).
  • Bicycles must have working front (white) and rear (red) lights. Reflectors are not sufficient. You may be fined (€ 40) for cycling in the dark without a light, and you seriously endanger yourself and other traffic by doing so. Small, battery-operated LED lights attached to your person are allowed.
There are four ways to use a bicycle:
  • if you are staying in a city, you can use the bike as a means of transport, to get from A to B. This is the way local people use it, for short journeys it is faster than car, bus or tram. You can use the bike to get to places near the city, which may not be accessible by public transport.
  • you can cycle around on the bike, in a city, or in the surrounding area. The bike is then a means to see places and landscapes. The many signposted cycle routes are designed for this, most of them are octagonal and take you back to the starting point. Some rural routes go through areas inaccessible by car. Signs for bicycle routes are usually white, with a red border and lettering. One thing to note that mainly in the southern part of the Netherlands, it's possible to create your own routes by connecting marked and numbered points called "knooppunten".
  • you can take the bike on a train, for a day trip to another city or region. It costs € 6, and you may not travel with a bike in the rush hour. You must carry a supplementary ticket, which is easily obtained from the automated kiosks. As an alternative, you can easily hire bikes at (or near) stations. Folding bikes can be taken on board for free when folded.
  • you can load your tent on the bike, and set off across the country. For this you do need to be fit, and not afraid of rain. The national long-distance cycle routes are designed for this type of holiday, see Cycling in the Netherlands Long-distance routes [27].

Bike theft

Bike theft is a serious problem in the Netherlands, especially around train stations, and in larger cities. Never park a bike near a station, use the guarded bike parking ('stalling'). In general, use 2 locks of different kinds (for example, one chain lock and one tube lock). This is because most bike thieves specialize in a particular kind of lock, or carry equipment best suited to one kind of lock. Ideally, you should lock the bike to a lamppost or similar. Bike thieves have been known to simply pickup unattached bikes and load them into a pickup truck, so they can crack open the locks at leisure.
In cities, most bikes are stolen by drug addicts, and they sell most stolen bikes too. In fact they simply offer them for sale to passers-by, if they think no police are watching. Buying a stolen bike is itself illegal, and police do arrest buyers. If you buy for a suspiciously low price (e.g. € 10 to 20), or in a suspicious place (in general, on the street), the law presumes you "know or should have known" the bike was stolen. In other words actual ignorance of the bike's origins is no excuse.
Bike shops are the best place to buy a second-hand bike legally, but prices are high. Some places where you can rent bikes will also sell their written off stock, which is usually well maintained. Most legal (and often cheap) second-hand bike sales now go through online auction sites like marktplaats.nl - the Dutch subsidiary of Ebay.

By plane

Even though it's not common to use air travel within the Netherlands, the following carriers offer domestic flights:
  1. KLM [28] (Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, Maastricht/Aachen Airport)
  2. VLM Airlines [29] (Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, Groningen (Eelde Airport))

Talk

The national language in the Netherlands is Dutch. It's a charming, lilting language punctuated by phlegm-trembling glottal g's (not in the south) and sch's (also found, for example, in Arabic). Written Dutch might be semi-intelligible to someone who knows other germanic languages (English, German, Scandinavian languages), but the spoken language sounds rather different from English.
Even though the Netherlands is just a small country, dialects can still be found everywhere. Dutch people can easily tell where other people were raised just by their dialect/accent. Dialects are hardly used in everyday life in most of the country. Near the borders this is different, especially in Limburg, in the south, which still cherishes its dialects. The Carnaval period is another exception, when many cities even get renamed. Although dialects haven't died out, everyone can still speak standard Dutch perfectly.
Officially the Netherlands is bilingual, as Frisian is also an official language. When travelling through Fryslân you will come across many roadsigns in two languages (similar to Wales). This is also the case in southern Limburg. Everybody speaks Dutch, but the Frisians are so protective of the minority language that ordering a beer in it might just get you the next one free. In areas bordering Germany, German is widely spoken. However, outside of the eastern provinces, a good amount of people (especially amongst the younger generation) can speak basic German too. French will be understood by some as well, especially the older generations. Immigrant languages are prominent in urban areas, they include Turkish, Arabic, Sranan-Tongo (Surinam) and Papiamento (Netherlands Antilles).
The hackneyed phrase "They all speak English there" is in fact pretty accurate for the Netherlands. Education from an early age in English and other European languages (mostly German and French) makes the Dutch some of the most fluent polyglots on the continent. Oblivious travelers to the major cities should be able to make their way without learning a word of Dutch. Dealing with seniors, however - or finding yourself in a family atmosphere - will probably require learning a bit of the native tongue.
  • Every two years, the country goes football crazy as either the European Championship or the World Cup is held. It's not uncommon for literally fifty percent of the population to be watching a game if it's a particularly important one. Often bigger cities will put up large tv screens for the general public, like on the Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam. Likewise, cafes and bars are another popular place to watch games.
  • In the Southern Netherlands (North Brabant, Limburg and to a smaller extent also in Twente, Overijssel and the south of Gelderland), the Catholic celebration of Carnival is held since medieval times. It occurs immediately before Lent; which is usually during February or March. Parades can be seen almost in any town on Sunday, sometimes also occurring on Monday. Parades can also be held in the evening, usually on Saturdays all the wagons are then lit up by numerous small lights. The other days of the week, many activities can be found ranging from street painting (stoepkrijten) to beer drinking contests. The cities of 's-Hertogenbosch, Breda and Maastricht are advisable for attending Carnival.
  • Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) is held every year at April 30th all over the country (except if this day is a Sunday, then it will be held at the Saturday before). In every village and town, you will find frollicking Dutch, free markets and authentic Dutch games. It is advised to wear orange clothes, most Dutch people walk around in their national colour. An advisable city to attend at this day is Amsterdam, because it's one of the largest events of the year there. In several larger cities (most notably The Hague and Utrecht), the festivities start in the evening of April 29th.
  • Pinkpop [30] is a three-day pop festival every year with Pentecost ("Pinksteren") in Landgraaf, Limburg.
  • Lowlands [31] popfestival - every last weekend of August at Biddinghuizen, Flevoland.
  • Summercarnaval [32] - A big parade through the center of Rotterdam. One of the biggest events in The Netherlands.
  • Heineken Dance Parade [33] - A big dance parade through Rotterdam. Much in the spirit of the popular Love Parade in Germany.
  • Northsea Jazz Festival [34] - Big summer jazz festival, held in the Ahoy stadion, Rotterdam since 200. as it moved there from The Hague. Around 1800 jazz, blues, funk, soul, hip Hop, latin and r&b acts play during this 3 day event.
  • Vierdaagsefeesten [35] - Summer festival in Nijmegen lasting seven days, during the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse. Usually at the end of July. Over 1 million people attend. During the festival, there is a section for all the top Dutch bands such as Moke and Racoon, De Affaire which is focussed on alternative and rock, The Matrixx which has all your electronic dance music needs, and of course the numerous terraces and bars.
  • Sensation [36] - Famous dance party, with genres such as trance, house and hardstyle. Begin July in Amsterdam.
  • Dance Valley [37] - The largest dance festival, with over 40,000 visitors. Annually mid July in park Spaarnwoude, near Schiphol Airport. The focus is on celebrating summer, and has circus tents in which every tent is a different genre in dance music.
  • Mystery Land [38] - Dance festival with a flower-power theme. In the last week of August near Schiphol Airport. Most dance genres are present, including even electro. Also has activities such as workshops and theatre, which are usually uncommon with dance festivals.
  • Defqon.1 [39] - Dance festival focussing on the harder dance styles, such as hardstyle and hardcore. Residing in Flevoland, usually in mid June, but in 2009 is held in mid September.

Buy

A lot of shops do not accept banknotes of €100, €200 and €500, due to concerns about counterfeiting and burglary. Shops usually open by 9:00 in the morning and they usually close by 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening. Most shops are closed on Sundays, except the first Sunday of the month. In Amsterdam centrum area is an exception, since you can see the shops open till 9:00 in the evening and Sundays from 12:00 to 6:00 PM. The shops can be crowded with people coming into town from outside the city. In some area's shops are closed on Monday morning.

Costs

Accommodation and food is on the expensive side. Rail travel, museums, and attractions are relatively cheap. Retail prices for clothing, gifts, etc. are similar to most of Western Europe; consumer electronics are a bit more expensive. Gasoline, tobacco and alcohol are relatively expensive due to excise taxes.

Shop

The Netherlands is a good place to buy flowers. Outside florists, you can buy them pre-packaged in most supermarkets.

Klompen

The Netherlands is famous for its wooden shoes. However, nowadays almost no one except for farmers in the countryside wear them. You could travel through The Netherlands for weeks and find no one using them for footwear. The only place where you'll find them is in tourist shops. Wearing wooden shoes in public will earn you quite a few strange looks from the locals.
If you do try them, the famous "wooden shoes" are surprisingly comfortable, and very useful in any rural setting. Think of them as all-terrain footwear; easy to put on for a walk in the garden, field or dirt road. If you live in a rural area at home, consider taking a pair of these with you if you can. Avoid the kitschy tourist shops at schiphol and Amsterdam's damrak street, and instead look for a regular vendor which can usually be found in towns and villages in rural areas. The northern province of Friesland has a lot of stores selling wooden shoes, often adorned with the bright colors of the Frisian flag.
A fancy serve of herring at a restaurant
A fancy serve of herring at a restaurant
Pea soup (snert) with bacon
Pea soup (snert) with bacon
The Netherlands is not known for its cuisine, but hearty Dutch fare can be quite good if done well. A conventional Dutch meal consists of meat, potatoes and some type of vegetable on the side. The Dutch, however, are known for their specialties and delicious treats:
  • Dutch cheese is particularly famous, especially Gouda, Edam, Leerdammer, Maaslander and Maasdam.
  • Raw herring (haring), which is actually cured in salt. It's available both from ubiquitous herring stands and fancy restaurants, usually served with chopped onion and occasionally even plopped into a bun to make broodje haring. New herrings (Hollandse Nieuwe) is a special treat available around June.
  • Pea soup (erwtensoep or snert), made of green peas and smoked sausage. Can be very hearty and a meal itself if there are enough potatoes and other veggies mixed in.
  • Bitterbal (a round ball of ragout covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried), served in bars as snacks with drinks and usually arrive in groups of at least five or as part of a bittergarnituur, always with mustard. Be sure to try these, Dutch people love them.
  • Bittergarnituur, a plate containing different warm and cold snacks, like blocks of cheese, slices of sausage, bitterballen, perhaps something like chicken nuggets or mini spring rolls, and mustard or chili sauce for dipping.
  • Borecole mash pot (boerenkool), mashed potatoes with borecole, often served with a sausage.
  • Dutch Sauerkraut (zuurkool), mashed potatoes with sauerkraut.
  • Hotch-potch (hutspot), mashed potatoes with onions & carrots. Served with slowly cooked meats or sausage.
  • Endive mashed pot (stamppot andijvie), potatoes mashed with endive and bacon.
  • Rookworst (literally "smoked sausage"), available to go from HEMA department store outlets, but also widely available in supermarkets.
  • Dutch pancakes (pannenkoeken), which are either sweet (zoet) or savoury (hartig) in variety of tastes, like apple, syrup, cheese, bacon etc. Eat them in pancake houses (pannenkoekenhuizen)
For dessert:
  • Poffertjes are small slightly risen pancakes with butter and powdered sugar Eat them in poffertjeshuizen.
  • Syrup waffle (Stroopwafel). Two thin layers with syrup in between. Available packaged from any supermarket or made fresh on most street markets and specialized stalls.
  • Limburgse vlaai (predominantly in the Southern Netherlands), dozens of kinds of cold sweet pie, usually with a fruit topping.
  • Liquorice (drop) is something you love or hate, you can buy all kinds of varieties. You can get it from sweet to extremely salty (double salt) and in a hard or soft bite.
Other "typically Dutch" foodstuffs are:
  • Chocolate sprinkles (Hagelslag), sprinkled on top of buttered slices of bread (much like jam).
  • Chocolate spread on bread (like Nutella).
  • Unadorned chocolate bars (Pure chocolade).
  • Dutch peanut butter on bread, which is considerably different from e.g. US peanut butter. Dutch peanut butter is also the basis for Dutch Indonesian or 'Indo' saté (satay) sauce which also contains lots of Asian herbs and spices.
  • A bread roll with butter and a slice of cheese for lunch, rather than more elaborate lunches,
  • Dutch coffee (dark, high caffeine grounds, traditionally brewed),
Some of these "typically Dutch" foodstuffs taste significantly different from, but do not necessarily improve upon, specialties from other countries. For example, while Dutch coffee and chocolate can instill feelings of homesickness in expats and might be seen as "soul food", fine Belgian chocolate and Italian coffees (espresso, etc.) are considered to be delicacies.
Seasonal food: Pepernoten, Kruidnoten, taai-taai, kerststol, paasstol, oliebollen.

Restaurants

As Dutch people usually eat Dutch food at home, most restaurants specialize in something other than local fare. Every medium-sized town has its own Chinese/Indonesian restaurant, often abbreviated as Chin./Ind. restaurant, where you can eat a combination of Chinese and Indonesian dishes. Usually you get a lot of food for a small amount of money. Do not expect authentic Chinese or Indonesian cuisine though, the taste has been adapted for Dutch citizens. These restaurants have been influenced by the Dutch East Indies (currently Indonesia) from when they were a colony of the Netherlands. Typical dishes are fried rice (Indonesian: nasi goreng), fried bakmi (bami goreng) and prawn crackers (kroepoek). A suggestion is the famous Dutch-Indonesian rice table (rijsttafel), which is a combination of several small dishes from the East Indies, not unlike the nasi padang of Indonesia. Most of them have a sit-in area and a separate counter for take-away with lower prices.
Besides Chinese/Indonesian, the bigger cities offer a good choice of restaurants with Middle Eastern cuisine for a bargain price (such as the Nieuwmarkt in Amsterdam). Popular dishes are shawarma (shoarma), lahmacun (often called Turkish pizza) and falafel. The Argentinian, French, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Spanish, Surinam and Thai cuisines are also well-represented in the Netherlands.
Modern Dutch restaurants serve good quality food and are relatively expensive compared with surrounding countries. Most of the time, profit is made from the drinks and the desert, so be careful ordering those if you are on a budget. In the Netherlands, going to a restaurant is generally not seen as a quick way to eat food, but as a special night out with friends or family, which can take a couple of hours. Service fees and taxes are included in the menu prices. Tipping is not mandatory, but rounding up is pretty much expected and polite. Keep 10 percent in mind if you want to give a tip.
Since 1 July 2008, smoking has been banned in all restaurants, cafes, bars, festival tents and nightclubs. Smoking is allowed only in separate, enclosed, designated smoking areas in which employees are not allowed to serve. Staff may only enter such smoking rooms in emergency situations.
Fast food vending machines at Febo
Fast food vending machines at Febo
A mashed potato and mushroom kroket
A mashed potato and mushroom kroket
In town centers, near public transportation areas or even in more quiet quarters you can find a snackbar, sometimes known as frituur or cafeteria. These snackbars are pretty much the antithesis of high cuisine, but their snacks are considered typical for the country, and many Dutch expats miss them the most when going abroad. The popular Febo [40] chain's outlets are basically giant vending machines, just slot in a euro or two and take out the snack of your choice.
The most popular snack is French fries, known as patat in most of the country and as friet in the Southern Netherlands. The "standard" way is to order them with mayonnaise (patat met), although the local mayo is not the same as you'd get in France or most of the rest of the world: it is firmer, sweeter and contains less fat, whilst remaining just as unhealthy. Other sauces are tomato ketchup, curry ketchup (unlike regular curry, tastes more like ketchup), peanut sauce (satésaus), cut raw onions (uitjes), special (speciaal, a combination of mayonnaise, curry ketchup and optionally cut raw onions) and war (oorlog, a combination of mayonnaise, peanut sauce and optionally with cut raw onions). The following fried snacks are considered typical for the country as well:
  • Croquette ('kroket'), a crispy roll filled with ragout. Can be ordered on bread as well.
  • Frikandel, a long, skinless and dark-colored sausage, kind of like a minced-meat hot dog. Can be ordered on bread, or as speciaal (with mayonnaise, curry ketchup and cut raw onions).
  • Kaassoufflé, cheese snack popular with vegetarians, can also be served on bread.
  • Bear's claw (berenklauw), often called bear's snack (berenhap) or bear's dick (berenlul), is a sliced meatball with fried onion rings on a wooden skewer, often served with peanut sauce (pindasaus).

Vegetarianism

Vegetarians should not have any major trouble. 4.5 percent of the Dutch population is vegetarian and most restaurants have at least one vegetarian option on their menus or can make you one if you ask for it. Most supermarkets sell vegetarian products or even have a part of their supermarket dedicated to vegetarian products. It is advisable to specifically mention what you do and do not eat (meat, fish, dairy, eggs) as not everyone has the same definition of vegetarianism. Finding a vegetarian option in a fast food restaurant might provide more of a challenge. Chip shops that sell veggie burgers are the exception rather than the rule.

Drink

The Netherlands has two drinking ages: 16 years for alcohol under 15% (beer, wine, etc), and 18 for all other drinks.
Wieckse Witte, a popular wheat beer (witbier)
Wieckse Witte, a popular wheat beer (witbier)
Although the Dutch beer "Heineken" is one of the world's most famous beers, it is just one of the many beer brands in the Netherlands. You can get all kinds of beers from white beer to dark beer. Popular brands are Heineken, Grolsch, Brand, Bavaria, Amstel etc.
In addition to the usual lagers, try Dutch wheat beers (witbier), which are flavored with a spice mix called gruit and thus taste different from the better-known German varieties. Fruit-flavored varieties are also available.
Traditional beers come from monasteries in the South of the Netherlands (Brabant and Limburg) or Belgium. You can visit a traditional beer brewer in for instance Berkel-Enschot (just east of Tilburg) at the 'Trappistenklooster'. It needs to be said that the brewery is now owned by the big brewer Bavaria, so it's not so traditional any more.
Most breweries have nowadays also produce a non-alcoholic variant of their beers, like Bavaria Malt or Amstel Malt. Which consist sometimes 0% or less than 0,5 alcohol and is very suitable for people who would like to drive and don't drink (or sometimes called "de Bob" as promoted in its campaign).

Bitters and gin

Also popular in winter are alcoholic bitters. Originally from the province of Friesland the bitter called Beerenburg is served in the entire country. Most other regions also produce their local, less famous variants of a bitter.
  • Orange bitter (Oranjebitter), this bitter liquor is drunk only on Queen's Day (Koninginnedag)
  • Dutch gin (jenever or genever), the predecessor of English gin. It's available in two types, called oude (old) and jonge (young), which have nothing to do with aging, just the distillation style. The more traditional "old-fashioned" oude is sweeter and yellowish in color, while jonge is clearer, drier and more akin to English gin.

Tea and coffee

Dutch drink black tea, and it comes in many different tastes, from traditional to fruit infusions etc. Luckily, if you're English, you get the teabag served with a cup of hot (but never boiling!) water, so you can make your own version. Milk in your tea is almost unheard of and only given to children.
Coffee is almost compulsory when you are going to visit people. One of the first questions when coming through the door is often "Koffie?" and it is served in small cups (a half mug) with cookies.
If you're from the States or Canada, you can drink one cup of Dutch coffee in the morning and add water the rest of the day! If you order 'koffie verkeerd' (which means "coffee the wrong way 'round") you get a cup of mostly hot milk with a small splash of coffee -- more like the French 'café au lait' or the Italian 'latte'.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate with whipped cream is a winter tradition in the Netherlands. It really fills you after a cold walk. In the summer you can also get it in every decent bar, however sometimes it's made from powder as opposed to the traditional kind, and doesn't taste that good.

Smoke

The Netherlands are renowned for their liberal drug policy. While technically still illegal, mostly to comply to international treaties, personal use of (soft) drugs are regulated by the Ministry of Justice under an official policy of gedogen; literally this means to accept or tolerate, legally it is a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that action taken would be so highly irregular as to constitute selective prosecution.
You are allowed to buy and smoke small doses (under 5 grams) of cannabis or hash. You must be 18 or older to buy. For this you have to visit a coffeeshop, which are are abundant in most larger towns. Coffeeshops are not allowed to sell alcohol. Minors (under 18) are not allowed inside. Coffeeshops are prohibited from explicit advertising, so many use the Rastafari red-yellow-green colors to hint at the products available inside, while others are more discreet and sometimes almost hidden away from plain view. In the border province of Limburg, it will only be possible to buy cannabis products in a coffeeshop if you've got a wietpas ("weed pass") from 2010. This measure will be introduced in an effort to combat drug related crime and nuisance.
Beware that cannabis sold in the Netherlands is generally much stronger than varieties outside, so be careful when you take your first spliff. Be particularly wary of cannabis-laced pastries ("space cakes") as it's easy to eat too much by accident — although there are also unscrupulous shops that sell space cakes with no weed at all. Wait at least one hour after eating!
Hallucinogenic ("magic") mushrooms, once legal, are banned as of December 1st, 2008.
It is forbidden to drive any motorized vehicle while impaired, which includes driving under the influence of both illegal and legal recreational or prescribed drugs (such as cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis and mushrooms) as well as alcohol, and medication that might affect your ability to drive.
Buying soft drugs from dealers in the streets is always illegal and is commonly discouraged. The purchase of other (hard) drugs, eg. ecstasy, cocaine, or processed/dried mushrooms, is still dealt with by the law. However, often people who are caught in possession of small amounts of illegal drugs for personal use are not prosecuted.
The act of consuming any form of drugs is legal, even if possession is not. If you are seen taking drugs, you may theoretically be arrested for possession, but not for use. This has one important effect; do not hesitate to seek medical help if you are suffering from bad effects of drug use, and inform emergency services as soon as possible of the specific (illegal) drugs you have taken. Medical services are unconcerned with where you got the drugs, they will not contact the police, their sole intention is to take care of you in the best way possible.
At some parties, a "drug testing desk" is offered, where you can have your (synthetic) drugs tested. This is mainly because many pills contain harmful chemicals in addition to the claimed ingredients; for example, many pills of "ecstasy" (MDMA) will also contain speed (amphetamines). Some pills don't even contain any MDMA at all. The testing desks are not meant to encourage drug use, since venue owners face stiff fines for allowing drugs in their venues, but they are tolerated or 'gedoogd' since they mitigate the public health risks. Note: the desk won't return the drugs tested.
Please note that there are significant risks associated with drug use, even in The Netherlands' liberal climate
  • while marijuana bought at coffeeshops is unlikely to be hazardous, hard drugs like cocaine and heroin and synthetic drugs like ecstasy are still illegal and unregulated. These hard drugs are likely to be in some way contaminated, especially when bought from street dealers.
  • some countries have legislation in place that make it illegal to plan a trip for the purpose of commiting illegal acts in another jurisdiction, so you might be apprehended in your home country after having legally smoked pot in The Netherlands.

Sleep

A wide range of accommodation is available, concentrated on the major tourist destinations. They include regions popular for internal tourism, such as the Veluwe. In non-touristed areas, accommodation may be very limited.
Since all countries use different rating systems it might be convenient to check the Dutch Hotel star rating system in English here: [41]
Prices are generally high. Budget accommodation starts at around € 20 per night and prices go upwards from there. Seasonal demand affects availability, especially in Amsterdam.
Official Dutch Youth Hostels are called since they changed their name in 2003. "Stay Okay". They are not as widespread as in Great Britain. Also there is no kitchen available for guests, so either you eat what's on menu or you eat out. Stay Okay [42], Besides the Official Dutch Youth Hostels there are plenty other hostels spread around Holland. Popular are The Flying Pig Hostels in Noordwijk and Amsterdam, they provide a kitchen for one's own use and they have a liberal smoking policy. Flying Pig [43]
Short-term apartment rental is available in cities, but may not be legal. While most have a 3 night minimum stay, the process of making reservations and checking in is generally identical to that of staying in a hotel, the notable exception being that most require a credit card deposit, and the balance payment in € on arrival.
Vacation rental homes are popular in The Netherlands, and many Dutch city dwellers own a home in the country side (even though that country side is often only an hour or less from big cities). Traversia has the largest collection of vacation rentals in The Netherlands, by Dutch owners.
If you are traveling by bicycle or by foot, there is a list of 3600 addresses where you can stay at private homes with bed and breakfast for no more than € 18,50 per person per night, although you must also pay € 9 for membership of this scheme. It is called frankloop!...Vrienden op de fiets [44].

Learn

The Netherlands has many universities. The country has recently converted their own titles into the bachelor/master system. There are two types of universities:
  • Academic (focussing more on theoretical knowledge, aka "Universiteit")
  • Applied Sciences (focussing more on practical knowledge, aka "Hogeschool")
The Times Higher Education Supplement ranks 11 universities among the top 200 in the world.
English speaking students will have no problems finding suitable courses. A total of 1,456 courses are taught entirely in English. There is also the added advantage that most locals under the age of 30 are reasonably able in English.
For international students, several scholarships are available. They can be found on the Nuffic website [45]. Here you will also find information regarding courses, institutions, housing, formalities, culture, traineeships and possible difficulties.

Work

Work opportunites for those from outside the European Union are very restricted. Only when an employer can prove they've searched in the EU, they are allowed to hire a non-EU citizen. Official policy is to deter all non-EU immigration, unless there is an economic necessity.
Students from other European countries are only eligible for study financing when they have a fixed 32 hour/month work contract, or when they have lived in the Netherlands for five years.
Since 2005, the Dutch law enables what they call “knowledge immigration” the idea is to allow local companies to “import” foreign employees to work in the Netherlands. The process is straightforward and takes between 4 to 10 weeks.

Stay safe

The Netherlands is generally considered a safe country. However, be alert in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other large cities that are plagued by pickpockets and bicycle theft. In the larger cities, certain areas are unsafe at night. A small number are also unsafe in daylight.
  • Police, ambulance and fire brigade have one general emergency number 112. There is one police force, organised in 25 police regions. Mostly visitors will deal with the regional police. Some specialised forces, such as the railway police and the highway police on main roads, are run by a separate national force (highway police being the KLPD - Korps Landelijke Politie Diensten, and railway police being the spoorwegpolitie). When calling 112, if you can, advise on what emergency services you are in need of.
  • Border controls, and port and airport security, are handled by a separate police force, the Marechaussee (or abreviation 'KMar' - Koninklijke Marechaussee), a gendarmerie. They are an independent service of the Dutch armed forces (making them a military service, not a civil one), and have among their duties the mentioned security tasks.
  • In most cities, there are municipal services (stadswacht, Toezichthouder Openbare Ruimte (abreviation: TOR) or stadstoezicht) with some police tasks, e.g., issuing parking and litter fines. They often have police-style uniforms to confer some authority, but their powers are limited. For instance, only the police carry a gun.

Stay healthy

The Netherlands has some of the best 'tap water' in the world. It is considered to be of similar quality as natural mineral or spring water and is distributed to every household and controlled by 'water authorities'. Food (either bought in a supermarket or eaten at a restaurant) shouldn't pose any problem either. The health care system is up to par with the rest of Europe and most cities have hospitals where usually most of the staff speaks English. Otherwise, it's a case of common sense (i.e. washing hands before eating is always advisable).
In summer, open air recreational (mainly fresh water) swimming areas might suffer from the notorious blue algae, a rather smelly cyanobacteria which when it dies, releases toxins into the water. When these occur, a signpost at the entrance to the area or near the water should tell you so by stating something like "waarschuwing: blauwalg". If in doubt, ask someone.
When walking or camping in forests and dunes be aware of ticks and tick-carrying diseases such as Lyme disease. It is advisable to wear long sleeves and to put trousers into your socks.

Respect

The Dutch are among the most informal and easy-going people in Europe, and there are not many strict social taboos to speak of. It is unlikely that Dutch people will be offended simply by your behaviour or appearance. In fact it is more likely that visitors themselves will be offended by overly direct conversation. Nevertheless, the standards for overt rudeness and hostility are similar to those in other western European countries. If you feel you are deliberately being treated offensively, then you probably are.
The exception to this openness is personal wealth. It is considered vulgar to for instance reveal the height of your salary, so asking somebody about this will be considered nosy and will probably just get you an evasive answer. Likewise, it's not advisable to be forceful about your own religion or to assume a Dutch person you've met is a Catholic or a Calvinist, since followers of traditional Christian religions only make up about 40% of the Dutch population. In urban area's it is not considered rude to ask somebody about this, but you'll generally be expected to be entirely tolerant of whatever the other person believes and not attempt to proselytize in any way. An exception is the Dutch biblebelt which runs from Zealand into South-Holland, Utrecht and Gelderland and consists of towns and counties with many strong Orthodox-Christians believers, who are more likely to be insulted by different religious views. Openly Nationalist sentiments are likewise viewed with some suspicion among the general public, though there are a number of nationalistic celebrations like queen's day (koninginnedag) and during the Soccer season.

Gay and lesbian travelers

As mentioned above, the Netherlands is quite liberal when it comes to homosexuality and by far is considered to be one of the gay-friendliest countries in the world. The Netherlands has a reputation of being the first country to recognize same-sex marriage, and openly displaying your orientation wouldn't cause much upset in the Netherlands. However, even a gay friendly country like the Netherlands has room for some criticisms of homosexuality, but this varies depending on where one travels. Regardless, with violence and discrimination against gays being rare as well as the legal status of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, this country may be considered a gay utopia and should be safe for gays and lesbians, except in Muslim neighbourhoods in the major Dutch cities.

Contact

The international calling code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00, so to call the US, substitute 001 for +1 and for the UK 00 44 for +44.
The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The cell phone networks are operated by KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile; other operators use one of these 3 networks. The networks are high quality and cover every corner of the Netherlands. With the exception of some low-end service providers, all mobile operators support GPRS. KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile offer UMTS (and HSDPA) service in some parts of Holland.
There are few public phone booths left in the Netherlands. They are mostly found at train stations. Telfort booths accept coins, whereas most KPN booths only accept prepaidcards or creditcard. Some new public phones have been installed which accept coins again. Be aware of public phones in a more public area as well as the same types in a more public-private area, where tarrifs (per unit or amount of calling time) can differ.
(National) Directory Inquiries can be reached -since 2007- on 1888, 1850 and various other 'Inquiry-operators'. Rates differ by operator, but are usually rather high, more than €1 per call, as well as per-second charges.
International Directory Inquiries can be reached on 0900 8418 (Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM, €0.90 per minute).
Phone numbers can also be found on the Internet, free of charge, on De Telefoongids.nl [46] or Nationale Telefoongids.nl [47].
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.
If you're bringing your own (GSM) cell phone, using your existing plan to call (or receive calls) whilst in The Netherlands can be very expensive due to "roaming" charges. Receiving phone calls on a cell phone using a Dutch SIM card is free in most cases; charges apply if you're using a foreign SIM card, as the call is theoretically routed through your country of origin. It's cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card to insert into your GSM phone, or even to buy a very cheap pay-as-you-go card+phone bundle. For example: lyca [48], lebara [49] and ortel [50] are providers that specialize in cheap rates to foreign countries. [51] targets those traveling through multiple countries.
To enjoy cheap international calls from the Netherlands you can use low-cost dial-around services such as Qazza [52], BelBazaar [53], pennyphone [54], SlimCall [55], telegoedkoop [56], beldewereld [57], teleknaller [58]or Wereldwijdbellen [59]. Dial-around services are directly available from any landline in the Netherlands. No contract, no registration is required. Most dial-around services offer USA, Canada, Western Europe and many other countries at the price of a local call so you can save on your phone expenses easily. They also work from public payphones.
Internet cafés can be found in most cities, usually they also provide international calling booths. Many public libraries provide Internet access. Wireless Internet access using Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular and is available in many hotels, pubs, stations and on Schiphol, either for free, or at extortionate prices through one of the national "networks" of hotspots.
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Etymology

From nether ("lower") + lands, the country being very low-lying, with most parts below sea level.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
the Netherlands
Plural
-
the Netherlands
  1. A country in northwestern Europe bordering Germany and Belgium. Official name: Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Synonyms

  • Holland (although "Holland" is incorrect in Dutch, in English it is a proper synonym for the entire nation.)

Translations

Adjective

Netherlands (not comparable)
Positive
Netherlands
  1. Of or pertaining to the Netherlands.

Synonyms

Translations

See also


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
Flag of the Netherlands File:NL - COA.png
(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Motto: "Je maintiendrai"  (French)
"Ik zal handhaven"  (Dutch)
"I shall stand fast"1</span>
Anthem: "Het Wilhelmus"
Location of the Netherlands
Capital Amsterdam²
52°21′ N 04°52′ E
Largest city capital
Official languages Dutch³
Government
{{{leader_titles}}}
Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
{{{leader_names}}}
Independence
{{{established_events}}}
{{{established_dates}}}
Area
 • Total
 • Water (%)
 
{{{area}}} km² (134th)
18.41
Population
 • 2007 est.
 • 2001 census
 • Density
 
16,570,613 (61st)
16,105,285
{{{population_density}}}/km² (23rd)
GDP (PPP)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2006 estimate
$541 Billion (23rd)
$35,078 (10th)
Currency Euro ()5 (EUR)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
CET (UTC+1)
CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .nl6
Calling code +31
{{{footnotes}}}
.The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland file— play in browser, IPA: [ˈne:dərlɑnt]) is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean.^ The Dutch cabinet decided to extend by a year the Netherlands contribution of 85 service personnel to EUFOR, the European mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The concept is hard to conceive from an American perspective but it is part of the "pillars" of Dutch society that kept the peace in the Netherlands until quite recently.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor signed today, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

.The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, located in Western Europe.^ Second only to France, the Netherlands has the biggest Muslim population in Western Europe.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

It is bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east.
The Netherlands is often called Holland. .This is formally incorrect as North and South Holland in the western Netherlands are only two of the country's twelve provinces (for more on this and other naming issues see Netherlands).^ Under the Moors, Spain became more civilized than most other European countries.” (Walter C. Langsam.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The announcement followed pressure by the Netherlands and other NATO and EU countries.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ "The Netherlands can put its expertise on coastal protection to very good use in Bangladesh and other countries.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying and densely populated country. It is popularly known for its windmills, cheese, clogs (wooden shoes), delftware and gouda pottery, dikes, tulips, bicycles, and social tolerance. A Parliamentary democracy, the country is also known for its somewhat liberal policies toward drugs, prostitution, gay rights, abortion, and euthanasia.
.The Netherlands has an international outlook; among other affiliations the country is a member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, and has signed the Kyoto protocol.^ Under the Moors, Spain became more civilized than most other European countries.” (Walter C. Langsam.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.Along with Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands is also one of three member nations of the Benelux economic union.^ On the initiative of the Netherlands and Belgium, the Third Committee of the United Nations has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on UN member states to intensify efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and punish the perpetrators.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ In words of Wilders, — “I’ve had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate,” he wrote in national newspaper De Volkskrant.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.The country is host to four international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Court.^ The Netherlands fully behind International Criminal Court .
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The positive assessment given by the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is an important factor for the Netherlands in considering further steps towards Serbias integration with the European Union, Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen has said.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ International organisations and their foreign employees are increasingly satisfied with the Netherlands as a host country, according to a study by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

All of these courts, as well as the EU's criminal intelligence agency (Europol) are situated in The Hague, which has led to the city being referred to as "the world's legal capital."[1]

Contents

Naming Conventions

Main article: Netherlands (terminology)
See also: Names for the Dutch language
Various terms have been used in English to refer to the Netherlands and its inhabitants.
(The) Netherlands is the official name of the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. .The term Holland is commonly used as a synonym for the Netherlands as a whole, but it actually only refers to a region in the west of the country, which has long been the most economically powerful part of the country.^ The Netherlands does not have a common law system, and judges have far less power than in Anglo-Saxon countries.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

The Dutch themselves seldom use the term "Holland" to refer to their country. They usually call their country "Nederland", which is singular. .The plural "de Nederlanden" in Dutch (the Netherlands) is never used to refer to the present country located in Western Europe, but is used exclusively either to refer to the historical "Low Countries" or as part of the rather formal expression "Koninkrijk der Nederlanden" (Kingdom of the Netherlands), which includes the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba.^ Unfortunately, much of Western Europe is in the same boat as the Dutch.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor signed today, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen signed, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, an international convention on cluster munitions, which bans their production, stockpiling and use.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The country's people and language are called Dutch. .The word Netherlands is sometimes used as an adjective in place of Dutch (e.g.^ Both Russian and Dutch words can be studied using this handy application.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

^ Both French and Dutch words can be studied using this handy application.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

^ The MorphoFinder function helps you find words using English and Dutch past participles, gerunds, and plural and adjective forms.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

the Royal Netherlands Army). .Netherlandic and Netherlandish are also sometimes used, though they refer more frequently to the Low Countries.^ At first, they supported the revolution, for they had been a republic before, and seized the moment to try and institute a more democratic system in the netherlands, backed by the french.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Geography

Main article: Geography of the Netherlands
See also: Flood control in the Netherlands and Floods in the Netherlands
A remarkable aspect of the Netherlands is its flatness. Hilly landscapes can be found only in the south-eastern tip of the country, the central part and where the glaciers pushed up several hilly ridges such as the Hondsrug in Drenthe, the stuwwallen near Arnhem and Nijmegen, Salland, Twente and the Utrechtse Heuvelrug.

Floods

In years past, the Dutch coastline has changed considerably as a result of human intervention and natural disasters. Most notable in terms of land loss are the 1134 storm, which created the archipelago of Zeeland in the south west, and the 1287 storm, which killed 50,000 people and created the Zuiderzee (now dammed in and renamed the IJsselmeer — see below) in the northwest, giving Amsterdam direct access to the sea. The St. Elizabeth flood of 1421 and the mismanagement in its aftermath destroyed a newly reclaimed polder, replacing it with the 72 square kilometres (28 sq mi) Biesbosch tidal floodplains in the south-centre. The most recent parts of Zeeland were flooded during the North Sea Flood of 1953 when 1,836 people were killed, after which the Delta Plan was executed.
Map of the Netherlands
Satellite image of the Netherlands (ca. May 2000)
The disasters were partially man-made; people drained relatively high lying swampland for use as farmland. This drainage caused the fertile peat to compress and the ground level to drop, locking the land users in a vicious circle whereby they would lower the water level to compensate for the drop in ground level, causing the underlying peat to compress even more. The problem remains unsolvable to this day. Also, up until the 19th century peat was dug up, dried, and used for fuel, further adding to the problem.
To guard against floods, a series of defences against the water were contrived. In the first millennium, villages and farmhouses were built on man-made hills called terps. Later, these terps were connected by dykes. In the 12th century, local government agencies called "waterschappen" (English "water bodies") or "hoogheemraadschappen" ("high home councils") started to appear, whose job it was to maintain the water level and to protect a region from floods. (The water bodies are still exist today, performing the same function.) As the ground level dropped, the dykes by necessity grew and merged into an integrated system. By the 13th century, windmills had come into use in order to pump water out of the areas below sea level. The windmills were later used to drain lakes, creating the famous polders. In 1932, the Afsluitdijk (English "Closure Dyke") was completed, blocking the former Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) off from the North Sea and thus creating the IJsselmeer (IJssel Lake). It became part of the larger Zuiderzee Works in which four polders totalling 1,650 square kilometres (637square miles) were reclaimed from the sea.

Delta works

After the 1953 disaster, the Delta project, a vast construction effort designed to end the threat from the sea once and for all, was launched in 1958 and largely completed in 2002. The official goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in the province of Zeeland to once per 10,000 years. (For the rest of the country, the protection-level is once per 4,000 years.) This was achieved by raising 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) of outer sea-dykes and 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) of inner, canal, and river dikes to "delta" height, and by closing off the sea estuaries of the Zeeland province. New risk assessments occasionally show problems requiring additional Delta project dyke reinforcements. The Delta project is one of the largest construction efforts in human history and is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
.Additionally, the Netherlands is one of the countries that may suffer most from climatic change.^ Climate change costs developing countries 60-80 billion per year .
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ One of the ways in which the Netherlands combats poverty in developing countries is by increasing opportunities for trade.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Financing for climate change in developing countries is high on the agenda of the Joint High-Level Meeting of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the Environmental Policy Committee (EPOC) that will be held in Paris on 28 and 29 May.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Not only is the rising sea a problem, but also erratic weather patterns may cause the rivers to overflow.[2][3][4]

Rivers

.The country is divided into two main parts by three rivers Rhine (Rijn), Waal, and Meuse (Maas).^ Includes grammar rules divided into 3 sections - Parts of Speech, Verbs and Sentence.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

These rivers not only function as a natural barrier, but traditionally also as a cultural divide, as is evident in some phonetic traits that are recognizable north and south of these "Large Rivers" (de Grote Rivieren). In addition to this, there was, until quite recently, a clear religious dominance of Catholics in the south and of Calvinists in the north.
The south-western part of the Netherlands is actually one river delta of these rivers and two arms of the Scheldt (Westerschelde & Oosterschelde). The one and only important branch of the Rhine flowing northeastward is formed by the IJssel river, which flows out into the IJsselmeer, the former so called Zuiderzee ('Southern sea'). This river also happens to form a linguistic divide. People to the right of this river speak Low Saxon dialects, except for the province of Friesland. [5]

Climate

The predominant wind direction in the Netherlands is south-west, which causes a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters. The average tempurature is 5'C in autumn

Nature

See also: List of national parks of the Netherlands

History

Main article: History of the Netherlands
.Under Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and king of Spain, the region was part of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands, which also included most of present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and some land of France and Germany.^ The Netherlands and Belgium were ruled by various counts and dioceses under the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ Following the conversion of the Netherlands to Calvinism (while most of modern Belgium remained Roman Catholic) and repression by the Hapsburg monarchy, the Dutch declared independence from Spain in 1581.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ From 1581 the Netherlands was a republic governed by rich traders with members of the House of Orange-Nassau as Stadholders, nominal rulers of the seven provinces with some power.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

1568 saw the start of the Eighty Years' War between the provinces and Spain. In 1579, the northern half of the Seventeen Provinces formed the Union of Utrecht, a treaty in which they promised to support each other in their defense against the Spanish army. The Union of Utrecht is seen as the foundation of the modern Netherlands. In 1581 the northern provinces adopted the Oath of Abjuration, the declaration of independence in which the provinces officially deposed Philip II. Philip II the son of Charles V, was not prepared to let them go easily and war continued until 1648 when Spain under King Philip IV finally recognized Dutch independence in the Treaty of Münster.

Dutch Republic 1581-1795

Main article: Dutch Republic
William the Silent, leader of the Netherlands during the Dutch Revolt
Since their independence from Philip II in 1581 the provinces formed the Dutch Republic. The republic was a confederation of the provinces Holland, Zeeland, Groningen, Friesland, Utrecht, Overijssel and Gelre. All these provinces were autonomous and had their own governments, the "States of the Province". The States-General, the confederal government, were seated in The Hague and consisted of representatives of each of the seven provinces. .The very thinly populated region of Drenthe, mainly consisting of poor peatland, was part of the Republic too, although Drenthe was not considered one of the provinces.^ Number ones: refers to the very first stamp issued by an entity; the Number One Number One is considered the Penny Black of 1840 of Great Britain.
  • AskPhil -- Stamp Collecting starts here. 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.askphil.org [Source type: General]

Drenthe had its own States but the landdrost of Drenthe was appointed by the States-General.
.The Republic occupied a number of so-called Generality Lands (Generaliteitslanden in Dutch).^ In his address to the General Assembly Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende called on colleague world leaders to help achieve stability, solidarity and sustainability.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

.These territories were governed directly by the States-General, so they did not have a government of their own and they did not have representatives in the States-General.^ He said that these social and economic rights are also human rights, and that the governments responsible must ensure that they are not violated.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Only then can they call their own government to account.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Most of these territories were occupied during the Eighty Years' War. .They were mainly roman-catholic and they were used as a buffer zone between the Republic and the Southern Netherlands.^ Following the conversion of the Netherlands to Calvinism (while most of modern Belgium remained Roman Catholic) and repression by the Hapsburg monarchy, the Dutch declared independence from Spain in 1581.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ At first, they supported the revolution, for they had been a republic before, and seized the moment to try and institute a more democratic system in the netherlands, backed by the french.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

.The Dutch grew to become one of the major seafaring and economic powers of the 17th century during the period of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.^ Since the founding of the United Nations in 1946, the Netherlands has had 16 Permanent Representatives in New York (current Ambassador Majoor is the 17th).
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ An innovative mobile laboratory developed by the Netherlands to support United Nations Environmental Emergency Response was officially inaugurated by the Dutch Ministers of Environment and Development Cooperation in The Hague.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

In the so-called Dutch Golden Age, colonies and trading posts were established all over the globe. (See Dutch colonial empire)
.Many economic historians regard the Netherlands as the first thoroughly capitalist country in the world.^ The Netherlands is to sign a cooperation agreement with the World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID) aimed at tackling corruption and promoting good governance in developing countries.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

In early modern Europe it featured the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time stock exchange. The inventiveness of the traders led to insurance and retirement funds as well as such less benign phenomena as the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636–1637, and according to Murray Sayle, the world's first bear raider - Isaac le Maire, who forced prices down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount.[6] .The republic went into a state of general decline in the later 18th century, with economic competition from England and long standing rivalries between the two main factions in Dutch society, the Staatsgezinden (Republicans) and the Prinsgezinden (Royalists or Orangists) as main factors.^ The Newcomers Integration Act went into effect in 1998, whereby new immigrants are required to learn the Dutch language and culture sufficiently to enable them to work.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ In the sixteenth century they were united into one state under Hapsburg rule.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ At the end of a two-day visit to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, development minister Bert Koenders said that economic cooperation between Rwanda and the DR Congo could be a major stepping stone towards peace in eastern Congo.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Batavian Republic 1795-1806

On January 19, 1795, a day after stadtholder William V of Orange fled to England, the Batavian Republic (Bataafse Republiek in Dutch) was proclaimed. The proclamation of the Batavian Republic introduced the concept of the unitary state in the Netherlands. .From 1795 to 1806, the Batavian Republic designated the Netherlands as a republic modelled after the French Republic.^ At first, they supported the revolution, for they had been a republic before, and seized the moment to try and institute a more democratic system in the netherlands, backed by the french.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Kingdom of Holland 1806-1810

.The Kingdom of Holland 1806 – 1810 (Dutch: Koninkrijk Holland, French: Royaume de Hollande) was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, in order to control the Netherlands more effectively.^ In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the Netherlands and made it into a Kingdom with his brother Louis as King.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ Following the recent military operations in the Baluchi Valley and neighbouring Dorafshan, more development projects have been set up in this part of Uruzgan.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ This is a simple, yet effective way of brushing up on the words that need more attention.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country. The kingdom of Holland covered the area of present day Netherlands, with the exception of Limburg, and parts of Zeeland, which were French territory. In 1807 Prussian East Frisia and Jever were added to the kingdom. In 1809 however, after an English invasion, Holland had to give over all territories south of the river Rhine to France.
.King Louis Napoleon did not meet Napoleon's expectations - he tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's - and the King had to abdicate on July 1, 1810. He was succeeded by his five year old son Napoleon Louis Bonaparte.^ The Dutch Consortium for Uruzgan, a platform of five Dutch aid agencies, plans to extend its programme in Uruzgan over the next four years.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Napoleon Louis reigned as Louis II for just ten days as Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte ignored his young nephew’s accession to the throne. The Emperor sent in an army to invade the country and dissolved the Kingdom of Holland. The Netherlands then became part of the French Empire.

Part of the French Empire 1810-1813

From 1810 to 1813, when Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in the battle of Leipzig, the Netherlands were part of the French Empire.

The Netherlands (principality) 1813-1815

In 1795 the last stadtholder William V of Orange fled to England. His son returned to the Netherlands in 1813 to become William I of the Netherlands, Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands. On March 16, 1815 the Sovereign Prince became King of the Netherlands.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

Map of the Netherlands in 1843 after independance of Belgium.
See also: Kingdom of the Netherlands
.In 1815 the Congress of Vienna formed the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, by expanding the Netherlands with Belgium in order to create a strong country on the northern border of France.^ The Netherlands to work with World Bank and United Kingdom on tough new anti-corruption policy .
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ On the initiative of the Netherlands and Belgium, the Third Committee of the United Nations has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on UN member states to intensify efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and punish the perpetrators.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy and Norway have announced a joint action programme to fight the illegal trafficking of arms and munitions into Gaza.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

In addition, William became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The Congress of Vienna gave Luxembourg to William personally in exchange for his German possessions, Nassau-Dillenburg, Siegen, Hadamar and Diez.
Belgium rebelled and gained independence in 1830, while the personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed in 1890, when King William III of the Netherlands died with no surviving male heirs. Ascendancy laws prevented his daughter Queen Wilhelmina from becoming the next Grand Duchess. .Therefore the throne of Luxembourg passed over from the House of Orange-Nassau to the House of Nassau-Weilburg, another branch of the House of Nassau.^ From 1581 the Netherlands was a republic governed by rich traders with members of the House of Orange-Nassau as Stadholders, nominal rulers of the seven provinces with some power.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

Colonies

The largest Dutch settlement abroad was the Cape Colony. .It was established by Jan van Riebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company at Capetown in 1652. The Prince of Orange acquiesced to British occupation and control of the Cape Colony in 1788. The Netherlands also possessed several other colonies, but Dutch settlement in these lands was limited.^ Netherlands Indies: former Dutch colonial possessions in the East Indies; currency: 100 cents = 1 gulden, 100 sen = 1 rupiah (1949) 1786: Steam packets traveled between Amsterdam and Batavia via the Cape, 1811: handstamps known during British period, 1845: first postage due stamp issued, 1864, Apr.
  • AskPhil -- Stamp Collecting starts here. 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.askphil.org [Source type: General]

^ Netherlands New Guinea: western half of New Guinea; currency: 100 cents = 1 gulden 1828: became Dutch possession, administered from the Moluccas, 1950-pre: stamps of Netherlands Indies used, 1950, Jan.
  • AskPhil -- Stamp Collecting starts here. 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.askphil.org [Source type: General]

^ N.F.: "Nyasaland Force", overprint on stamps of Nyasaland Protectorate, for British occupation of German East Africa, 1916.
  • AskPhil -- Stamp Collecting starts here. 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.askphil.org [Source type: General]

.Most notable were the vast Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Suriname (the latter was traded with the British for New Amsterdam, now known as New York).^ Netherland East Indies: also known as East Indies.
  • AskPhil -- Stamp Collecting starts here. 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.askphil.org [Source type: General]

^ But the economy stagnated from the end of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century, as the English challenged and took over some Dutch trades and colonies, notably the slave trade and North American colonies.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ They traded with Indonesia and India and set up colonies in North America (New Amsterdam - now New York), Brazil, South Africa and the West Indies.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

These 'colonies' were first administered by the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, both collective private enterprises. .Three centuries later these companies got into financial trouble and the territories in which they operated were taken over by the Dutch government (in 1815 and 1791 respectively).^ The Dutch government has decided to prolong its participation in EU anti-piracy operation Atalanta off the coast of Somalia.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

.Only then did they become official colonies.^ It will become obvious when they've driven themselves to extinction and that only remaining American't lefties find they're a homosexual couple incapable of reproduction.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Industrialization

.During the 19th century, the Netherlands was slow to industrialise compared to neighbouring countries, mainly due to the great complexity involved in the modernizing of the infrastructure consisting largely of waterways and the great reliance its industry had on windpower.^ During a meeting at the Netherlands Foreign Ministry today, invitations for the international conference on Afghanistan have been transmitted to representatives of international organisations and the ambassadors of the countries invited.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

World War II

Anne Frank, Jewish diarist.
The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I and intended to do so in World War II. However, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940 in the Western European campaign of the Second World War. The country was quickly overrun and the army main force surrendered on May 14 after the bombing of Rotterdam, although a Dutch and French allied force held the province of Zeeland for a short time after the Dutch surrender. .The Kingdom as such continued the war from the colonial empire; the government in exile resided in London.^ War with Spain continued until 1648, at which point the Netherlands left the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

.During the occupation over 100,000 Dutch Jews were rounded up to be transported to Nazi concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia where they were murdered in the Holocaust.^ The Dutch government has reserved 500,000 to buy and transport tents for victims of the earthquake in China.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The Moluccan community, who were political refugees, were discouraged from working and were segregated in former Nazi concentration camps.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ Of the 140,000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands before the occupation, only 40,000 survived in 1945.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

Dutch workers were conscripted for labour in German factories, civilians were killed in reprisal for attacks on German soldiers, and the countryside was plundered for food for German soldiers in the Netherlands and for shipment to Germany. .Although there are many stories of Dutch people risking their lives by hiding Jews from the Germans, like in the diary of Anne Frank, there were also Dutch people who collaborated with Nazi occupiers in hunting down and arresting hiding Jews, and some joined the Waffen-SS to form the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Netherlands, fighting on the Eastern Front.^ Whereas Christian lords often hunted jews and pagans in their midst, in Moorish spain both Jews and Christians were allowed to live where they lived and how they lived.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor signed today, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Netherlands and UK join forces to fight global warming .
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

After a first liberation attempt by the Allied 21st Army Group stalled, much of the northern Netherlands was subject to the Dutch famine of 1944, caused by the disrupted transportation system, caused by German destruction of dikes to slow allied advances, and German confiscation of much food and livestock made the "Hunger Winter" of 1944-1945 one in which malnutrition and starvation were rife among the Dutch population. German forces held out until the surrender of May 5, 1945, in Wageningen at Hotel De Wereld.

After the war

After the war, the Dutch economy prospered by leaving behind an era of neutrality and gaining closer ties with neighbouring states. The Netherlands became a member of the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) cooperation. .Furthermore, the Netherlands was among the twelve founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and among the six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community, which would later evolve into the European Union.^ The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is to do more to promote nuclear disarmament.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ At the Netherlands initiative, the European Union has proposed an alternative final declaration for the UN Durban Review Conference.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

Government

Main article: Politics of the Netherlands
Thorbecke reformed the Dutch government to a parliamentary monarchy.
.The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815 and a parliamentary democracy since 1848; before that it had been a republic from 1581 to 1806 and a kingdom between 1806 and 1810 (it was part of France between 1810 and 1813).^ Following the conversion of the Netherlands to Calvinism (while most of modern Belgium remained Roman Catholic) and repression by the Hapsburg monarchy, the Dutch declared independence from Spain in 1581.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the Netherlands and made it into a Kingdom with his brother Louis as King.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

^ From 1581 the Netherlands was a republic governed by rich traders with members of the House of Orange-Nassau as Stadholders, nominal rulers of the seven provinces with some power.
  • Minority Rights Group International : Netherlands : Netherlands Overview 28 January 2010 0:33 UTC www.minorityrights.org [Source type: General]

The Netherlands is described as a consociational state. Dutch politics and governance are characterized by an effort to achieve broad consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole. .In 2007, The Economist ranked The Netherlands as the third most democratic country in the world.^ The Netherlands is to sign a cooperation agreement with the World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID) aimed at tackling corruption and promoting good governance in developing countries.
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The head of state is the monarch, at present Queen Beatrix. Constitutionally the monarch still has considerable powers, but in practice it has become a ceremonial function. The monarch can exert most influence during the formation of a new cabinet, where he/she serves as neutral arbiter between the political parties.
In practice the executive power is formed by Dutch cabinet. Because of the multi-party system no party has ever held a majority in parliament since the 19th century, therefore coalition cabinets have to be formed. The cabinet consists usually of around thirteen to sixteen ministers of which between one and three ministers without portfolio, and a varying number of state secretaries. .The head of government is the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, who is often, but not always, the leader of the largest party in the coalition.^ The Dutch government is taking action to limit the impact of the credit crisis on the Dutch economy, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced after the cabinet meeting on Friday.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Today, development minister Bert Koenders talked at length with Helen Clark, who has headed UNDP, the largest UN development agency, since this spring.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ In his address to the General Assembly Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende called on colleague world leaders to help achieve stability, solidarity and sustainability.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

.In practice the Prime Minister has been the leader of the largest coalition party since 1973. He is a primus inter pares, meaning he has no explicit powers that go beyond those of the other ministers.^ Today, development minister Bert Koenders talked at length with Helen Clark, who has headed UNDP, the largest UN development agency, since this spring.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ In his address to the General Assembly Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende called on colleague world leaders to help achieve stability, solidarity and sustainability.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament, the States-General which also has legislative powers. .The 150 members of the Second Chamber, the Lower House are elected in direct elections, which are held every four years or after a cabinet crisis.^ She succeeds Paul Bekkers, who held the post for four years.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The provincial assemblies are directly elected every four years as well. .The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the First Chamber, the Upper House, which has less legislative powers, as it can merely reject laws, not propose or amend them.^ Professor of international law at Leiden, Nico Schrijver, was elected by acclamation by ECOSOC today as a member of the Committee on Economic, Socal and Cultural Rights.
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Both trade unions and employers organisations are consulted beforehand in policymaking in the financial, economic and social areas. .They meet regularly with government in the Social-Economic Council.^ He said that these social and economic rights are also human rights, and that the governments responsible must ensure that they are not violated.
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This body advises government and its advice cannot be put aside easily.
.While historically the Dutch foreign policy was characterized by neutrality, since the Second World War the Netherlands became a member of a large number of international organisations, most prominently the UN, NATO and the EU.^ The resolution, an initiative of the Netherlands and France, calls on all UN member states to combat violence against women.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen told the Dutch House of Representatives yesterday that the Netherlands would seek a role in the monitoring mission the EU intends to send to Georgia to maintain stability in the conflict regions.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Former British prime minister Tony Blair spoke highly of Dutch climate and energy policy at an international meeting on Friday 8 May, saying that the Netherlands is in the forefront in this area.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The Dutch economy is very open and relies on international trade.
The Netherlands has a long tradition of social tolerance. In the 18th century, while the Dutch Reformed Church was the state religion, Catholicism and Judaism were tolerated. In the late 19th century this Dutch tradition of religious tolerance transformed into a system of pillarization, in which religious groups coexisted separately and only interacted at the level of government. This tradition of tolerance is linked to the Dutch policies on recreational drugs, prostitution, same-sex marriage and euthanasia, which are among the most liberal in the world.
The Binnenhof is the centre of Dutch politics.
.Since suffrage became universal in 1919 the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: the strongest family were the Christian democrats currently represented by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), second were the social democrats, of which the Labour Party (PvdA) is currently the largest party and third were the liberals of which the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is the main representative.^ Since the founding of the United Nations in 1946, the Netherlands has had 16 Permanent Representatives in New York (current Ambassador Majoor is the 17th).
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^ The Dutch government is contributing a political adviser to the team of EU Special Representative for the Southern Caucasus, Peter Semneby.
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These cooperated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian democrats had always been partner: so either a centre left coalition of the Christian democrats and social democrats or a centre right coalition of Christian democrats and liberals. .In the 1970s the party system became more volatile: the Christian democratic parties lost seats, while new parties, like the radical democrat and progressive liberal D66, became successful.^ I think it's funny when liberals defend Radical Islam and trash Christianity (Rosie O'Donnell) .
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ At first, they supported the revolution, for they had been a republic before, and seized the moment to try and institute a more democratic system in the netherlands, backed by the french.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

In the 1994 election the CDA lost its dominant position. A "purple" cabinet was formed by the VVD, D66 and PvdA. In 2002 elections this cabinet lost its majority, due to the rise of LPF, a new political party around the flamboyant populist Pim Fortuyn, who was shot to death a week before the elections took place. .The elections also saw increased support for the CDA. A short lived cabinet was formed by CDA, VVD and LPF, led by the leader of the Christian democrats, Jan Peter Balkenende.^ The Dutch government is taking action to limit the impact of the credit crisis on the Dutch economy, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced after the cabinet meeting on Friday.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende accepted an invitation to the summit during his visit to US President Barrack Obama.
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^ On behalf of the Dutch government, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has conveyed his best wishes to Senator Barack Obama on the occasion of his election as President of the United States.
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After the 2003 elections in which the LPF lost almost all its seats, a cabinet was formed by the CDA, the VVD and D66. The cabinet initiated an ambitious program of reforming the welfare state, the health care system and immigration policies.
.In June 2006 the cabinet fell, as D66 voted in favour of a motion of no confidence against minister of immigration and integration Rita Verdonk in the aftermath of the upheaval about the asylum procedure of Ayaan Hirsi Ali instigated by the Dutch immigration minister Verdonk.^ Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen has summoned the Iranian charg daffaires ad interim in the Netherlands to convey the Dutch governments serious concerns about the handling of the elections and the excessive force used against demonstrators.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The Dutch government is taking action to limit the impact of the credit crisis on the Dutch economy, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced after the cabinet meeting on Friday.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ Dutch Defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop will be in Africa from 21 to 27 June.
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A care taker cabinet was formed by CDA and VVD, and the general elections were held on 22 November 2006. In these elections the Christian Democratic Appeal remained the largest party and the Socialist Party made the largest gains. The formation of a new cabinet started two days after the elections. Initial investigations toward a CDA-SP-PvdA coalition failed, after which a coalition of CDA, PvdA and ChristianUnion was formed.
The results of the elections were: Template:Netherlands general election, 2006

Administrative divisions

Main articles: Provinces of the Netherlands and Municipalities in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is divided into twelve administrative regions, called provinces, each under a Governor, who is called Commissaris der Koningin (Commissioner of the Queen), except for the province Limburg where the commissioner is called Gouverneur (Governor) which underlines the more "non-Dutch" mentality. All provinces are divided into municipalities (gemeenten), 458 in total (1 January 2006). The country is also subdivided in water districts, governed by a water board (waterschap or hoogheemraadschap), each having authority in matters concerning water management. .As of 1 January 2005 there are 27. The creation of water boards actually pre-dates that of the nation itself, the first appearing in 1196. In fact, the Dutch water boards are one of the oldest democratic entities in the world still in existence.^ In practice there is still a world of difference between laws and their execution here.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ While this Nation has its own PC problem with freedom of speech, the current situation in the Netherlands is a national disgrace if the Dutch people actually respected its concepts.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ Thank God there are still some real men left in this world.
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

Province Capital Area[7] </tr>
Drenthe Assen 2,641 km² 486,197
Flevoland Lelystad 1,417 km² 374,424
Frisia (Officially: Fryslân, Dutch: Friesland) Leeuwarden 3,341 km² 642,209
Gelderland (Guelders) Arnhem 4,971 km² 1,979,059
Groningen Groningen 2,333 km² 573,614
Limburg Maastricht 2,150 km² 1,127,805
North Brabant Noord Brabant Den Bosch 4,916 km² 2,419,042
North Holland Haarlem 2,671 km² 2,613,070
Overijssel Zwolle 3,325 km² 1,116,374
Utrecht Utrecht 1,385 km² 1,190,604
Zealand (Zeeland) Middelburg 1,787 km² 380,497
South Holland (Zuid Holland) The Hague (Den Haag) 2,814 km² 3,455,097
Drenthe Flevoland Friesland Gelderland Groningen Limburg North Brabant North Holland Overijssel South Holland Utrecht Zeeland
Map of the Netherlands, linking to the province pages; the red dots mark the capitals of the provinces and the black dots other notable cities or towns

Military

Main article: Military of the Netherlands
.Conscription in the Netherlands was suspended in 1996. All military specialities, except the Submarine service and Marine Corps, are open to women.^ The resolution, an initiative of the Netherlands and France, calls on all UN member states to combat violence against women.
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.The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs 68,000 personnel, including both civilian and military personnel.^ Thirty Dutch military personnel and police officers will remain in place, monitoring compliance with the peace agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan.
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^ And war is even better, because that isn't taking the life of the young, the poor and the involountary drafted on your own side and both military and civilians on the enemy's side?
  • The American Spectator : Death to Free Speech in the Netherlands 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC spectator.org [Source type: FILTERED WITH BAYES]

^ The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports and helps both projects.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke (Royal):

Economy

Main articles: Economy of the Netherlands and List of Dutch companies
Aalsmeer Flower Auction. The largest commercial building in the world, and a centre of international flower trade.
The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy in which the government has reduced its role since the 1980s. Industrial activity is predominantly in food-processing (for example Unilever and Heineken International), chemicals (for example DSM), petroleum refining (for example Royal Dutch Shell), and electrical machinery (for example Philips). Slochteren has one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, which has so far (2006) resulted in a total revenue of €159 billion since the mid 1970s. N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie still is the largest public-private partnership P3 world-wide following the global energy-transition of 1963[8] from coal to gas, coupling oil and gas prices. With just over half of the reserves used up and an expected continued rise in oil prices, the revenues over the next few decades are expected to be at least that much.[9]
The Netherlands has the 16th largest economy in the world, and ranks 10th in GDP (nominal) per capita. Between 1998 and 2000 annual economic growth (GDP) averaged nearly 4%, well above the European average. Growth slowed considerably in 2001-05 due to the global economic slowdown, but the first quarter of 2006 showed promising growth of 2.6%. Inflation is 1.3% and is expected to stay low at around 1.5% in the coming years. Unemployment is at 5.5% of the labour force. By Eurostat standards however, unemployment in the Netherlands is at only 3.3% - the lowest rate of all European Union member states.[10] .The Netherlands also has a relatively low GINI coefficient of 0.326. Despite ranking only 10th in GDP per capita, UNICEF ranked the Netherlands 1st in child well-being, outranking other nations with higher GDP's, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.^ On the initiative of the Netherlands and Belgium, the Third Committee of the United Nations has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on UN member states to intensify efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and punish the perpetrators.
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^ A new project, funded by the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, to help the Government of Cte dIvoire and others in the region manage hazardous waste was launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands to assist the agency in promoting literacy.
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[11]

Agriculture

Frisian Holstein cows originated in the Netherlands, where nowadays intensive dairy farming is the primary type of agriculture.
A highly mechanised agricultural sector employs no more than 4% of the labour force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. .The Dutch rank third worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind the United States and France, with exports earning $55 billion annually.^ The Association is made up of Dutch students who have worked or studied in the United States on a Fulbright scholarship.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ In a letter sent on behalf of the Dutch government, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende congratulated President Obama on his inauguration as 44th President of the United States of America.
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^ United States pleased with Dutch contribution to G20 .
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

A significant portion of Dutch agricultural exports are derived from fresh-cut plants, flowers, and bulbs, with the Netherlands exporting two-thirds of the world's total. The Netherlands also exports a quarter of all world tomatoes, and one-third of the world's exports of peppers and cucumbers.[12] The Netherlands' 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 cooperative private enterprises such as the VOC), banking and transport.^ On invitation of Dutch development minister Koenders, international development experts gathered this weekend in Amsterdam to discuss with the top of the World Bank Group the role of the Word Bank in a changing world.
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^ Dutch development minister Bert Koenders is taking part this week in the international AIDS conference 'Universal Action Now!'
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

^ The minister referred to a scorecard he has drawn up, comparing international organisations such as the UN and the World Bank.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

.The Netherlands successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job growth long before its European partners.^ The Netherlands hopes that a coalition will soon be formed so that important issues can be dealt with promptly, the priority being a long-term solution to the crisis in Gaza.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

As a founding member of the Euro, the Netherlands replaced (for accounting purposes) its former currency, the Guilder, on January 1, 1999, along with the other adopters of the single European currency. Actual Euro coins and banknotes followed on January 1, 2002. In the first years of the third millennium, economic and employment growth came to a standstill, which the government tried to resolve by reducing expenses.

Demographics

Demographics of Netherlands, Data of FAO, year 2006.
Main article: Demographics of the Netherlands
.The Netherlands is the 23rd most densely populated country in the world, with 395 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,023 sq mi)—or 484 people per square kilometre (1,254/sq mi) if only the land area is counted, since 18.4% is water.^ The Netherlands is to sign a cooperation agreement with the World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID) aimed at tackling corruption and promoting good governance in developing countries.
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^ By using violence against the opposition and the population at large, Robert Mugabe has forfeited the moral right to govern the people of Zimbabwe or to represent them outside the country.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.7 children per woman, well below the 2.2 rate required for population replacement. It is also one of the most densely cabled countries in the world. Internet distribution is at 73.3% the 5th highest in the world.[13]
The ethnic origins of the citizens of the Netherlands are diverse. A majority of the population, however, still remains indigenous Dutch (although the latter notion is also to be relativized strongly). .They were: 80.8% Dutch, 2.4% German, 2.4% Indonesian (Indo-Dutch, Moluccan), 2.2% Turks, 2.0% Surinamese, 1.9% Moroccan, 1.5% Indian, 0.8% Antillean and Aruban, and 6.0% other.^ Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Indonesian .
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

[14] .However, this does not include the whole Kingdom of the Netherlands (such as the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, which have a non-Dutch majority community), and only includes the population in the Netherlands itself.^ Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor signed today, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
  • Welcome to The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations 9 February 2010 16:47 UTC www.netherlandsmission.org [Source type: News]

The Netherlands also has a resident population of some 800,000 people of Indo (mixed Dutch and Indonesian) descent.
The people of the Netherlands are amongst the tallest in the world, with an average height of about 1.81 metres for adult males and 1.68 m for adult females[15]

Languages

The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by a majority of the inhabitants, the exception being some groups of immigrants.
Another official language is West Frisian, which is spoken in the northern province of Friesland, called Fryslân in that language.[16] West Frisian is co-official only in the province of Friesland, although with a few restrictions. Several dialects of Low Saxon (Nedersaksisch in Dutch) are spoken in much of the north and east and are recognised by the Netherlands as regional languages according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as well as the Meuse-Rhenish Franconian varieties [17] in the southeastern province of Limburg, here called Limburgish language.
Life in the Netherlands
Cuisine
Culture
Customs
Demographics
Economy
Education
Holidays
Languages
Law
Law enforcement
Media
Music
Politics
Religion
Sport
Taxation
Transport
Specific policies:
  • Abortion
  • Drug policy
  • Euthanasia
  • Pillarisation
  • Prostitution
  • Same-sex marriage
edit box
.There is a tradition of learning foreign languages in the Netherlands: about 70% of the total population have good knowledge of English, 55– 59% of German and 19% of French.^ FlashCards can be consulted in English, Russian, German, Spanish, or French language.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

^ English into/from Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, and Russian A pen pal's e-mail arrives in Spanish.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

^ LingvoSoft FlashCards English <-> Dutch for Windows With LingvoSoft FlashCards you can study foreign languages as you play and memorize new foreign words effortlessly!
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

[18]

Religion

Main article: Religion in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is one of the more secular countries in the world, with only 39% being religiously affiliated (31% for those aged under 35), although 62% are believers (but 40% of those not in the traditional sense). Fewer than 20% visit church regularly .[19]
According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005,[20] 34% of Dutch citizens responded that "they believe there is a god", whereas 37% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 27% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force".
In 1950, before the secularization of Europe, and the large settlement of non-Europeans in the Netherlands, most Dutch citizens identified themselves as Christians. In 1950, out of a total population of almost 13 million, a total of 7,261,000 belonged to Protestant denominations, 3,703,000 belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, and 1,641,000 had no acknowledged religion.
However, Christian schools are still funded by the government and three political parties in the Dutch parliament (CDA, ChristianUnion and SGP) base their policy on the Christian belief system.

Culture

Main article: Culture of the Netherlands
Erasmus (1466–1536)
The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. The 17th century, when the Dutch republic was prosperous, was the age of the "Dutch Masters", such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruysdael and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th and 20th century were Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. M.C. 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. Han van Meegeren was an infamous Dutch art forger.
The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza, and all of Descartes' major work was done there. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) discovered Saturn's moon Titan and invented the pendulum clock.
In the Dutch Golden Age, literature flourished as well, with Joost van den Vondel and P.C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the bad treatment of the natives in Dutch colonies. Important 20th century authors include Harry Mulisch, Jan Wolkers, Simon Vestdijk, Cees Nooteboom, Gerard (van het) Reve and Willem Frederik Hermans. .Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she died in The Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.^ Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

^ All products > Dutch translation, Dutch dictionaries, free downloads software Specify language: Albanian .
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

Replicas of Dutch buildings can be found in Huis ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan. A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang, China.
Windmills, tulips, wooden shoes, cheese and Delftware pottery are among the items associated with the Netherlands.
Dutch law takes very liberal stances on such controversial issues as abortion,[21] drugs and euthanasia.[22]

References

Footnotes
  1. ^ van Krieken, Peter J.; David McKay (2005). The Hague: Legal Capital of the World. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9067041858. , specifically, "In the 1990s, during his term as United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali started calling The Hague the world's legal capital"
  2. ^ Nickerson, Colin. "Netherlands relinquishes some of itself to the waters", Boston Globe, 2005-12-05. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 
  3. ^ Olsthoorn, A.A.; Richard S.J Tol (February 2001). "Floods, flood management and climate change in The Netherlands". Institute for Environmental Studies. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 
  4. ^ Tol, Richard S. J.; Nicolien van der Grijp, Alexander A. Olsthoorn, Peter E. van der Werff (2003). "Adapting to Climate: A Case Study on Riverine Flood Risks in the Netherlands". Risk Analysis 23 (3): 575–583. DOI:10.1111/1539-6924.00338. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. 
  5. ^ Welschen, Ad: Course Dutch Society and Culture, International School for Humanities and Social Studies ISHSS, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2000-2005.
  6. ^ "Japan Goes Dutch", London Review of Books (2001-04-01). 3-7.
  7. ^ {{cite web|url=http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/table.asp?STB=G1:A,G2&LA=nl&DM=SLNL&PA=70072ned&D1=224&D2=5-16&D3=l&HDR=T|language=Dutch|publisher=Statistics Netherlands
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ {{cite episode | title = Aardgas als smeerolie | url = http://geschiedenis.vpro.nl/programmas/2899536/afleveringen/25899792/ | series = Andere Tijden | network = VPRO
  10. ^ Eurostat unemployment rates april 2007. Retrieved on 2007-06-09.
  11. ^ Child Poverty Report Study by UNICEF 2007.
  12. ^ Netherlands: Agricultural situation. USDA Foreign Agriculture Service. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
  13. ^ Top 35 countries with the highest internet penetration rate. InternetWorldStats.com. Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
  14. ^ {{cite web|url=http://www.cbs.nl/NR/rdonlyres/CCD504EA-9D41-40C2-AE28-BFB0A51C2045/0/2005k3b15p096art.pdf|title=Demografie van de allochtonen in Nederland|publisher=Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek
  15. ^ Reported health and lifestyle. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  16. ^ CIA World Factbook: Official languages per country
  17. ^ Welschen, Ad: Course Dutch Society and Culture, International School for Humanities and Social Studies ISHSS, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2000-2005.
  18. ^ Ginsburgh, Victor; Ignacio Ortuño-Ortin, Shlomo Weber (February 2005). Why Do People Learn Foreign Languages? (pdf). Université libre de Bruxelles. Retrieved on 2007-10-10. - specifically, see Table 2.
  19. ^ {{cite book|title=Godsdienstige veranderingen in Nederland|language=Dutch|author=Becker, Jos and Joep de Hart|isbn=9037702597|year=2006|publisher=Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau
  20. ^ Eurobarometer on Social Values, Science and technology 2005 - page 11. Retrieved on 2007-05-05.
  21. ^ Dutch policy on abortion. Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2003). Retrieved on 2007-06-20.
  22. ^ {{cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/background_briefings/euthanasia/1044740.stm |title=Euthanasia and the law |date=2001-11-28
Statistics
Articles
Books
  • Paul Arblaster. A History of the Low Countries. Palgrave Essential Histories Series New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 298 pp. ISBN 1-4039-4828-3.
  • J. C. H. Blom and E. Lamberts, eds. History of the Low Countries (1998)
  • Jonathan Israel. The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (1995)
  • J. A. Kossmann-Putto and E. H. Kossmann. The Low Countries: History of the Northern and Southern Netherlands (1987)

See also

External links

All wikimedia projects
Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Netherlands
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  2. Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
  3. Designated name for the Republic of China.
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 roa-rup:Olanda
.This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia.^ But what makes this PhraseBook truly remarkable is that its contents can be spoken aloud in both languages using natural human voicing as recorded by native speakers.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

^ But what makes this PhraseBook 2006 truly remarkable is that its contents can be spoken aloud in both languages using natural human voicing as recorded by native speakers.
  • Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary software. Dutch language translation software for PDA and Windows. ECTACO & Lingvosoft 19 January 2010 9:54 UTC www.ectaco.translation.net [Source type: General]

The original content was at Netherlands. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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This article uses material from the "Netherlands" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 22, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Holland, which are similar to those in the above article.








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