Portal:Netherlands

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Welcome to the Dutch Portal!
Welkom bij het Nederlandse Portaal!

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Coat of Arms for the Netherlands
Map of the Netherlands within Europe.

The Netherlands is one of the four countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch, located in northwestern Europe. It borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east. Since 10 October 2010, the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius are also part of the Netherlands. Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are separate countries within the Kingdom.

In some countries, the Netherlands is often referred to by the name Holland. However widespread, this use is incorrect in English, as Holland is a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands, consisting of two provinces.

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated and geographically low-lying countries in the world (its name literally means "Low-lands") and is popularly famous for, among other things, its dikes, windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, bicycles and social tolerance. Its liberal policies (towards drugs and prostitution among other things) receive international attention. The country is host to the International Court of Justice. Its capital is Amsterdam, as stated by the constitution, but The Hague is the seat of government and the home of the monarch. Most embassies are located in the Hague, as well. As of the 2011 report, the Netherlands ranks third on the list of countries by Human Development Index.

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Attack on the Medway, June 1667 by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest
The Raid on the Medway was a successful Dutch attack on the largest English naval ships, laid up in the dockyards of their main naval base Chatham, that took place in June 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The Dutch, under nominal command of Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, bombarded and then captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the River Thames to Gravesend, then up the River Medway to Chatham, where they burnt three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels and towed away the HMS Unity and the HMS Royal Charles, pride and normal flagship of the English fleet. The raid led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch. It was the worst defeat in the Royal Navy's history.

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Keukenhof
Credit: Dutch Wikipedia user Erik Zachte

Leiden, situated in South Holland, is a city and municipality with over a hundred thousand inhabitants. It is located on the Old Rhine and has a detailed history stretching back to the 1400s.

Did you know...

portrait of white headed man with glasses
  • ... the Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world where the government is not seated in the capital? The Constitution of Netherlands regards Amsterdam as the official capital, but The Hague is the seat of the Government of Netherlands.
  • ... the Netherlands is the 15th most densely populated country in the world, with 395 inhabitants per square km (or 482/km² if only the land area is counted, 18.4% is water)?
  • ... about 20% of the surface area of the Netherlands is located below sea level?
  • ... a UNICEF report published in 2007 ranked the Netherlands as the best country for children to live in?
  • ... 10% of the surface of the Netherlands has been taken from the sea?

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Adriaen van der Donck
Adriaen Cornelissen van der Donck was a lawyer and landowner in New Netherland after whose honorific Jonkheer the city of Yonkers, New York is named. In addition to being the first lawyer in the Dutch colony, he was a leader in the political life of New Amsterdam (modern New York City), and an activist for Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company-run trading post.

Enchanted by his new homeland of New Netherland, Van der Donck made detailed accounts of the land, vegetation, animals, waterways, topography, and climate. Van der Donck used this knowledge to actively promote immigration to the colony, publishing several tracts, including his influential Description of New Netherland. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Project, has called it "the fullest account of the province, its geography, the Indians who inhabited it, and its prospects…It has been said that had it not been written in Dutch, it would have gone down as one of the great works of American colonial literature."

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