Context of Netherlands

 

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland [ˈneːdərlɑnt] (listen)), informally Holland, is a country located in northwestern Europe with overseas territories in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces; it borders Germany to the east, and Belgium to the south, with a North Sea coastline to the north and west. It shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium in the North Sea. The country's official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland. Dutch, English and Papiamento are official in the Caribbean territories.

The four largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Amsterdam is the country's most populous city and the nominal...Read more

 

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland [ˈneːdərlɑnt] (listen)), informally Holland, is a country located in northwestern Europe with overseas territories in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces; it borders Germany to the east, and Belgium to the south, with a North Sea coastline to the north and west. It shares maritime borders with the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium in the North Sea. The country's official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland. Dutch, English and Papiamento are official in the Caribbean territories.

The four largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Amsterdam is the country's most populous city and the nominal capital. The Hague holds the seat of the States General, Cabinet and Supreme Court. The Port of Rotterdam is the busiest seaport in Europe. Schiphol is the busiest airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest in Europe. The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD, and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centred in The Hague.

Netherlands literally means "lower countries" in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with nearly 26% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 14th century. In the Republican period, which began in 1588, the Netherlands entered a unique era of political, economic, and cultural greatness, ranked among the most powerful and influential in Europe and the world; this period is known as the Dutch Golden Age. During this time, its trading companies, the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, established colonies and trading posts all over the world.

With a population of 17.8 million people, all living within a total area of 41,850 km2 (16,160 sq mi)—of which the land area is 33,500 km2 (12,900 sq mi)—the Netherlands is the 16th most densely populated country in the world and the second-most densely populated country in the European Union, with a density of 531 people per square kilometre (1,380 people/sq mi). Nevertheless, it is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products by value, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture, and inventiveness.

The Netherlands has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848. The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion, prostitution and euthanasia, along with maintaining a liberal drug policy. The Netherlands allowed women's suffrage in 1919 and was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. Its mixed-market advanced economy has the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally.

More about Netherlands

Basic information
  • Currency Euro
  • Native name Nederland
  • Calling code +31
  • Internet domain .nl
  • Speed limit 130
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 8.96
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 17590672
  • Area 41543
  • Driving side right
History
  •  
    Prehistory (before 800 BC)
     
     
    Oak figurine found in Willemstad (4500 BC)

    The prehistory of the area that is now the Netherlands was largely shaped by the sea and the rivers that constantly shifted the low-lying...Read more

     
    Prehistory (before 800 BC)
     
     
    Oak figurine found in Willemstad (4500 BC)

    The prehistory of the area that is now the Netherlands was largely shaped by the sea and the rivers that constantly shifted the low-lying geography. The oldest human (Neanderthal) traces, believed to be about 250,000 years old, were found in higher soils near Maastricht.[1] At the end of the Ice Age, the nomadic late Upper Palaeolithic Hamburg culture (13,000–10,000 BC) hunted reindeer in the area, using spears. The later Ahrensburg culture (11,200–9,500 BC) used bow and arrow. From Mesolithic Maglemosian-like tribes (c. 8000 BC), the world's oldest canoe was found in Drenthe.[2]

    Indigenous late Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from the Swifterbant culture (c. 5600 BC), related to the southern Scandinavian Ertebølle culture, were strongly linked to rivers and open water.[3] Between 4800 and 4500 BC, the Swifterbant people started to adopt from the neighbouring Linear Pottery culture the practice of animal husbandry, and between 4300 and 4000 BC the practice of agriculture.[4] The Funnelbeaker culture (4300–2800 BC), related to the Swifterbant culture, erected the dolmens, large stone grave monuments found in Drenthe. There was a quick and smooth transition from the Funnelbeaker farming culture to the pan-European Corded Ware pastoralist culture (c. 2950 BC). In the southwest, the Seine-Oise-Marne culture — related to the Vlaardingen culture (c. 2600 BC), an apparently more primitive culture of hunter-gatherers — survived well into the Neolithic period, until it too was succeeded by the Corded Ware culture.

     
    The Netherlands in 5500 BC
     
    Bronze Age cultures in the Netherlands

    The subsequent Bell Beaker culture (2700–2100 BC)[5] introduced metalwork in copper, gold and later bronze and opened international trade routes not seen before, reflected in copper artifacts. Finds of rare bronze objects suggest that Drenthe was a trading centre in the Bronze Age (2000–800 BC). The Bell Beaker culture developed locally into the Barbed-Wire Beaker culture (2100–1800 BC) and later the Elp culture (1800–800 BC),[6] a Middle Bronze Age archaeological culture with earthenware low-quality pottery as a marker. The initial phase of the Elp culture was characterised by tumuli (1800–1200 BC). The subsequent phase was that of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields, following the customs of the Urnfield culture (1200–800 BC). The southern region became dominated by the related Hilversum culture (1800–800 BC), with apparently cultural ties with Britain of the previous Barbed-Wire Beaker culture.

    Celts, Germanic tribes and Romans (800 BC–410 AD)
     
     
      Diachronic distribution of Celts from 500 BC
      Expansion into the southern Low Countries by 270 BC

    From 800 BC onwards, the Iron Age Celtic Hallstatt culture became influential, replacing the Hilversum culture. Iron ore brought a measure of prosperity and was available throughout the country, including bog iron. Smiths travelled from settlement to settlement with bronze and iron, fabricating tools on demand. The King's grave of Oss (700 BC) was found in a burial mound, the largest of its kind in Western Europe and containing an iron sword with an inlay of gold and coral.

    The deteriorating climate in Scandinavia around 850 BC further deteriorated around 650 BC and might have triggered the migration of Germanic tribes from the North. By the time this migration was complete, around 250 BC, a few general cultural and linguistic groups had emerged.[7][8] The North Sea Germanic Ingaevones inhabited the northern part of the Low Countries. They would later develop into the Frisii and the early Saxons.[8] A second grouping, the Weser-Rhine Germanic (or Istvaeones), extended along the middle Rhine and Weser and inhabited the Low Countries south of the great rivers. This group consisted of tribes that would eventually develop into the Salian Franks.[8] Also the Celtic La Tène culture (c. 450 BC up to the Roman conquest) had expanded over a wide range, including the southern area of the Low Countries. Some scholars have speculated that even a third ethnic identity and language, neither Germanic nor Celtic, survived in the Netherlands until the Roman period, the Iron Age Nordwestblock culture,[9][10] that eventually was absorbed by the Celts to the south and the Germanic peoples from the east.

     
     
    The Rhine frontier around 70 AD

    The first author to describe the coast of Holland and Flanders was the Greek geographer Pytheas, who noted in c. 325 BC that in these regions, "more people died in the struggle against water than in the struggle against men."[11] During the Gallic Wars, the area south and west of the Rhine was conquered by Roman forces under Julius Caesar from 57 BC to 53 BC.[10] Caesar describes two main Celtic tribes living in what is now the southern Netherlands: the Menapii and the Eburones. The Rhine became fixed as Rome's northern frontier around 12 AD. Notable towns would arise along the Limes Germanicus: Nijmegen and Voorburg. In the first part of Gallia Belgica, the area south of the Limes became part of the Roman province of Germania Inferior. The area to the north of the Rhine, inhabited by the Frisii, remained outside Roman rule (but not its presence and control), while the Germanic border tribes of the Batavi and Cananefates served in the Roman cavalry.[12] The Batavi rose against the Romans in the Batavian rebellion of 69 AD but were eventually defeated. The Batavi later merged with other tribes into the confederation of the Salian Franks, whose identity emerged in the first half of the third century.[13] Salian Franks appear in Roman texts as both allies and enemies. They were forced by the confederation of the Saxons from the east to move over the Rhine into Roman territory in the fourth century. From their new base in West Flanders and the Southwest Netherlands, they were raiding the English Channel. Roman forces pacified the region but did not expel the Franks, who continued to be feared at least until the time of Julian the Apostate (358) when Salian Franks were allowed to settle as foederati in Texandria.[13] It has been postulated that after deteriorating climate conditions and the Romans' withdrawal, the Frisii disappeared as laeti in c. 296, leaving the coastal lands largely unpopulated for the next two centuries.[14] However, recent excavations in Kennemerland show a clear indication of permanent habitation.[15][16]

    Early Middle Ages (411–1000)
     
     
    Franks, Frisians and Saxons (710s AD) with Traiectum and Dorestad in the middle

    After the Roman government in the area collapsed, the Franks expanded their territories into numerous kingdoms. By the 490s, Clovis I had conquered and united all these territories in the southern Netherlands in one Frankish kingdom, and from there continued his conquests into Gaul. During this expansion, Franks migrating to the south (modern territory of France and Walloon part of Belgium) eventually adopted the Vulgar Latin of the local population.[8] A widening cultural divide grew with the Franks remaining in their original homeland in the north (i.e. the southern Netherlands and Flanders), who kept on speaking Old Frankish, which by the ninth century had evolved into Old Low Franconian or Old Dutch.[8] A Dutch-French language boundary hence came into existence.[8][17]

     
     
    Frankish expansion (481 to 870 AD)

    To the north of the Franks, climatic conditions improved, and during the Migration Period Saxons, the closely related Angles, Jutes and Frisii settled the coastal land.[18] Many moved on to England and came to be known as Anglo-Saxons, but those who stayed would be referred to as Frisians and their language as Frisian, named after the land that was once inhabited by Frisii.[18] Frisian was spoken along the entire southern North Sea coast, and it is still the language most closely related to English among the living languages of continental Europe. By the seventh century, a Frisian Kingdom (650–734) under King Aldegisel and King Redbad emerged with Traiectum (Utrecht) as its centre of power,[18][19] while Dorestad was a flourishing trading place.[20][21] Between 600 and around 719 the cities were often fought over between the Frisians and the Franks. In 734, at the Battle of the Boarn, the Frisians were defeated after a series of wars. With the approval of the Franks, the Anglo-Saxon missionary Willibrord converted the Frisian people to Christianity. He established the Archdiocese of Utrecht and became the bishop of the Frisians. However, his successor Boniface was murdered by the Frisians in Dokkum, in 754.

     
     
    Rorik of Dorestad, Viking ruler of Friesland (romantic 1912 depiction)

    The Frankish Carolingian empire modelled itself on the Roman Empire and controlled much of Western Europe. However, in 843, it was divided into three parts—East, Middle, and West Francia. Most of present-day Netherlands became part of Middle Francia, which was a weak kingdom and subject to numerous partitions and annexation attempts by its stronger neighbours. It comprised territories from Frisia in the north to the Kingdom of Italy in the south. Around 850, Lothair I of Middle Francia acknowledged the Viking Rorik of Dorestad as ruler of most of Frisia.[22] When the kingdom of Middle Francia was partitioned in 855, the lands north of the Alps passed to Lothair II and subsequently were named Lotharingia. After he died in 869, Lotharingia was partitioned, into Upper and Lower Lotharingia, the latter part comprising the Low Countries that technically became part of East Francia in 870, although it was effectively under the control of Vikings, who raided the largely defenceless Frisian and Frankish towns lying on the Frisian coast and along the rivers.[citation needed] Around 879, another Viking expedition led by Godfrid, Duke of Frisia, raided the Frisian lands. The Viking raids made the sway of French and German lords in the area weak. Resistance to the Vikings, if any, came from local nobles, who gained in stature as a result, and that laid the basis for the disintegration of Lower Lotharingia into semi-independent states. One of these local nobles was Gerolf of Holland, who assumed lordship in Frisia after he helped to assassinate Godfrid, and Viking rule came to an end.[citation needed]

    High Middle Ages (1000–1384)
     
     
    A medieval tomb of the Brabantian knight Arnold van der Sluijs

    The Holy Roman Empire (the successor state of East Francia and then Lotharingia) ruled much of the Low Countries in the 10th and 11th century but was not able to maintain political unity. Powerful local nobles turned their cities, counties and duchies into private kingdoms that felt little sense of obligation to the emperor.[citation needed] Holland, Hainaut, Flanders, Gelre, Brabant, and Utrecht were in a state of almost continual war or paradoxically formed personal unions. The language and culture of most of the people who lived in the County of Holland were originally Frisian. As Frankish settlement progressed from Flanders and Brabant, the area quickly became Old Low Franconian (or Old Dutch). The rest of Frisia in the north (now Friesland and Groningen) continued to maintain its independence and had its own institutions (collectively called the "Frisian freedom"), which resented the imposition of the feudal system.[citation needed]

    Around 1000 AD, due to several agricultural developments, the economy started to develop at a fast pace, and the higher productivity allowed workers to farm more land or become tradesmen. Towns grew around monasteries and castles, and a mercantile middle class began to develop in these urban areas, especially in Flanders and later also Brabant. Wealthy cities started to buy certain privileges for themselves from the sovereign. In practice, this meant that Bruges and Antwerp became quasi-independent republics in their own right and would later develop into some of the most important cities and ports in Europe.[citation needed]

    Around 1100 AD, farmers from Flanders and Utrecht began draining and cultivating uninhabited swampy land in the western Netherlands, making the emergence of the County of Holland as the centre of power possible. The title of Count of Holland was fought over in the Hook and Cod Wars (Dutch: Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten) between 1350 and 1490. The Cod faction consisted of the more progressive cities, while the Hook faction consisted of the conservative noblemen. These noblemen invited Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy — who was also Count of Flanders — to conquer Holland.[citation needed]

    Burgundian, Habsburg and Spanish Habsburg Netherlands (1384–1581)
    Spanish Netherlands
     
    The Four Days' Battle, 1–4 June 1666 (Second Anglo-Dutch War) by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest
     
    The Low Countries in the late 14th century
     
    William I, Prince of Orange, leader of the Dutch Revolt, by Adriaen Thomasz. Key

    Most of the Imperial and French fiefs in what is now the Netherlands and Belgium were united in a personal union by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1433. The House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs would rule the Low Countries in the period from 1384 to 1581. Before the Burgundian union, the Dutch identified themselves by the town they lived in or their local duchy or county. The Burgundian period is when the road to nationhood began. The new rulers defended Dutch trading interests, which then developed rapidly. The fleets of the County of Holland defeated the fleets of the Hanseatic League several times. Amsterdam grew and in the 15th century became the primary trading port in Europe for grain from the Baltic region. Amsterdam distributed grain to the major cities of Belgium, Northern France and England. This trade was vital because Holland could no longer produce enough grain to feed itself. Land drainage had caused the peat of the former wetlands to reduce to a level that was too low for drainage to be maintained.[citation needed]

    Under Habsburg Charles V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Spain, all fiefs in the current Netherlands region were united into the Seventeen Provinces, which also included most of present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and some adjacent land in what is now France and Germany. In 1568, under Phillip II, the Eighty Years' War between the Provinces and their Spanish ruler began. The level of ferocity exhibited by both sides can be gleaned from a Dutch chronicler's report:[23]

    On more than one occasion men were seen hanging their own brothers, who had been taken prisoners in the enemy's ranks... A Spaniard had ceased to be human in their eyes. On one occasion, a surgeon at Veer cut the heart from a Spanish prisoner, nailed it on a vessel's prow, and invited the townsmen to come and fasten their teeth in it, which many did with savage satisfaction.

    The Duke of Alba ruthlessly attempted to suppress the Protestant movement in the Netherlands. Netherlanders were "burned, strangled, beheaded, or buried alive" by his "Blood Council" and his Spanish soldiers. Severed heads and decapitated corpses were displayed along streets and roads to terrorise the population into submission. Alba boasted of having executed 18,600,[24][25] but this figure does not include those who perished by war and famine.[citation needed]

    The first great siege was Alba's effort to capture Haarlem and thereby cut Holland in half. It dragged on from December 1572 to the next summer, when Haarlemers finally surrendered on 13 July upon the promise that the city would be spared from being sacked. It was a stipulation Don Fadrique was unable to honour, when his soldiers mutinied, angered over pay owed and the miserable conditions they endured during the long, cold months of the campaign.[26] On 4 November 1576, Spanish tercios seized Antwerp and subjected it to the worst pillage in the Netherlands' history. The citizens resisted but were overcome; seven thousand of them were killed; a thousand buildings were torched; men, women, and children were slaughtered by soldiers, who invoked the name of Spain's patron saint, ¡Santiago! ¡España! ¡A sangre, a carne, a fuego, a sacco! (Saint James! Spain! To blood, to the flesh, to fire, to sack!)[27]

     
     
    Map of the Habsburg dominions. From 1556 the dynasty's lands in the Low Countries were retained by the Spanish Habsburgs.
     
     
    The Spanish Fury at Maastricht, 1579

    Following the sack of Antwerp, delegates from Catholic Brabant, Protestant Holland and Zeeland agreed, at Ghent, to join Utrecht and William the Silent in driving out all Spanish troops and forming a new government for the Netherlands. Don Juan of Austria, the new Spanish governor, was forced to concede initially, but within months returned to active hostilities. As the fighting restarted, the Dutch began to look for help from the Protestant Elizabeth I of England, but she initially stood by her commitments to the Spanish in the Treaty of Bristol of 1574. The result was that when the next large-scale battle did occur at Gembloux in 1578, the Spanish forces easily won the day, killing at least 10,000 rebels, with the Spanish suffering few losses.[28][dubious ] In light of the defeat at Gembloux, the southern states of the Seventeen Provinces (today in northern France and Belgium) distanced themselves from the rebels in the north with the 1579 Union of Arras, which expressed their loyalty to Philip II of Spain. Opposing them, the northern half of the Seventeen Provinces forged the Union of Utrecht (also of 1579) in which they committed to support each other in their defence against the Spanish army.[29] The Union of Utrecht is seen as the foundation of the modern Netherlands.[citation needed]

    Spanish troops sacked Maastricht in 1579, killing over 10,000 civilians and thereby ensuring the rebellion continued.[30] In 1581, the northern provinces adopted the Act of Abjuration, the declaration of independence in which the provinces officially deposed Philip II as reigning monarch in the northern provinces.[31] Against the rebels Philip could draw on the resources of the Spanish Empire, including in Iberia, Spanish America, Spanish Italy, and the Spanish Netherlands. Queen Elizabeth I of England sympathised with the Dutch struggle against England's Spanish rival and sent an army of 7,600 soldiers to aid the Dutch in their war with the Catholic Spanish.[32] English forces under the Earl of Leicester and then Lord Willoughby faced the Spanish in the Netherlands under the Duke of Parma in a series of largely indecisive actions that tied down significant numbers of Spanish troops and bought time for the Dutch to reorganise their defences.[33] The war continued until 1648, when Spain under King Philip IV finally recognised the independence of the seven north-western provinces in the Peace of Münster. Parts of the southern provinces became de facto colonies of the new republican-mercantile empire.[citation needed]

    Dutch Republic (1581–1795)
     
     
    Dutch East India Company factory in Hugli-Chuchura, Mughal Bengal by Hendrik van Schuylenburgh, 1665

    Following the declaration of independence, the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Groningen, Friesland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland entered into a confederation. All these duchies, lordships and counties enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy and was governed by its own administrative body known as the States-Provincial. The confederal government, known as the States General, was headquartered in The Hague and comprised representatives from each of the seven provinces. The sparsely populated region of Drenthe was also part of the republic, albeit not considered a province in its own right. Moreover, during the Eighty Years' War, the Republic came to occupy a number of Generality Lands located in Flanders, Brabant and Limburg. These areas were primarily inhabited by Roman Catholics and lacked a distinct governmental structure of their own. They were utilized as a buffer zone between the Republic and the Spanish-controlled Southern Netherlands.[34]

     
     
    Winter landscape with skaters near the city of Kampen by Hendrick Avercamp (1620s)
     
     
    Amsterdam's Dam Square in 1656

    In the Dutch Golden Age, spanning much of the 17th century, the Dutch Empire grew to become one of the major seafaring and economic powers, alongside Portugal, Spain, France and England. Science, military and art (especially painting) were among the most acclaimed in the world. By 1650, the Dutch owned 16,000 merchant ships.[35] The Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company established colonies and trading posts all over the world, including ruling the western parts of Taiwan between 1624–1662 and 1664–1667. The Dutch settlement in North America began with the founding of New Amsterdam on the southern part of Manhattan in 1614. In South Africa, the Dutch settled the Cape Colony in 1652. Dutch colonies in South America were established along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana plains, among them Colony of Surinam (now Suriname). In Asia, the Dutch established the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and the only western trading post in Japan, Dejima.[citation needed]

    During the period of Proto-industrialisation, the empire received 50% of textiles and 80% of silks import from the India's Mughal Empire, chiefly from its most developed region known as Bengal Subah.[36][37][38][39]

    Many economic historians regard the Netherlands as the first thoroughly capitalist country in the world. In early modern Europe, it had 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 phenomena such as the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636–1637, and the world's first bear raider, Isaac le Maire, who forced prices down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount.[40] In 1672 – known in Dutch history as the Rampjaar (Disaster Year) – the Dutch Republic was at war with France, England and three German Bishoprics simultaneously. At sea, it could successfully prevent the English and French navies from entering the western shores. On land, however, it was almost taken over internally by the advancing French and German armies coming from the east. It managed to turn the tide by inundating parts of Holland but could never recover to its former glory again and went into a state of a general decline in the 18th century, with economic competition from England and long-standing rivalries between the two main factions in Dutch society, the republican Staatsgezinden and the supporters of the stadtholder the Prinsgezinden as main political factions.[41]

    Batavian Republic and Kingdom (1795–1890)

    With the armed support of revolutionary France, Dutch republicans proclaimed the Batavian Republic, modelled after the French Republic and rendering the Netherlands a unitary state on 19 January 1795. The stadtholder William V of Orange had fled to England. But from 1806 to 1810, the Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom governed by his brother Louis Bonaparte to control the Netherlands more effectively. However, King Louis Bonaparte tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's, and he was forced to abdicate on 1 July 1810. The Emperor sent in an army and the Netherlands became part of the French Empire until the autumn of 1813 when Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig.[citation needed]

     
     
    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. In yellow are the territories occupied later, during the 19th century.

    William Frederick, son of the last stadtholder, returned to the Netherlands in 1813 and proclaimed himself Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands. Two years later, the Congress of Vienna added the southern Netherlands to the north to create a strong country on the northern border of France. William Frederick raised this United Netherlands to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself as King William I in 1815.[citation needed] In addition, William became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg in exchange for his German possessions. However, the Southern Netherlands had been culturally separate from the north since 1581, and rebelled. The south gained independence in 1830 as Belgium (recognised by the Northern Netherlands in 1839 as the Kingdom of the Netherlands was created by decree), while the personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed in 1890, when William III died with no surviving male heirs. Ascendancy laws prevented his daughter Queen Wilhelmina from becoming the next Grand Duchess.[citation needed]

    The Belgian Revolution at home and the Java War in the Dutch East Indies brought the Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy. However, the Cultivation System was introduced in 1830; in the Dutch East Indies, 20% of village land had to be devoted to government crops for export. The policy brought the Dutch enormous wealth and made the colony self-sufficient.[citation needed]

    The Netherlands abolished slavery in its colonies in 1863.[42] Enslaved people in Suriname would be fully free only in 1873, since the law stipulated that there was to be a mandatory 10-year transition.[43]

    World wars and beyond (1890–present)
     
     
    Rotterdam after German air raids in 1940

    The Netherlands was able to remain neutral during World War I, in part because the import of goods through the Netherlands proved essential to German survival until the blockade by the British Royal Navy in 1916.[44] That changed in World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. The Rotterdam Blitz forced the main element of the Dutch army to surrender four days later. During the occupation, over 100,000 Dutch Jews[45] were rounded up and transported to Nazi extermination camps; only a few of them survived. Dutch workers were conscripted for forced labour in Germany, civilians who resisted were killed in reprisal for attacks on German soldiers, and the countryside was plundered for food. Although there were thousands of Dutch who risked their lives by hiding Jews from the Germans, over 20,000 Dutch fascists joined the Waffen SS,[46] fighting on the Eastern Front.[47] Political collaborators were members of the fascist NSB, the only legal political party in the occupied Netherlands. On 8 December 1941, the Dutch government-in-exile in London declared war on Japan,[48] but could not prevent the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies.[49] In 1944–45, the First Canadian Army, which included Canadian, British and Polish troops, was responsible for liberating much of the Netherlands.[50] Soon after VE Day, the Dutch fought a colonial war against the new Republic of Indonesia.[citation needed]

     
     
    Former Prime Ministers Wim Kok, Dries van Agt, Piet de Jong, Ruud Lubbers and Jan Peter Balkenende with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in 2011
    Decolonisation

    In 1954, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands reformed the political structure of the Netherlands, which was a result of international pressure to carry out decolonisation. The Dutch colonies of Surinam and Curaçao and Dependencies and the European country all became countries within the Kingdom, on a basis of equality. Indonesia had declared its independence in August 1945 (recognised in 1949), and thus was never part of the reformed Kingdom.[citation needed] Suriname followed in 1975. After the war, the Netherlands left behind an era of neutrality and gained closer ties with neighbouring states. The Netherlands was one of the founding members of Benelux and NATO.[51][52] In the 1950's, the Netherlands became one of the six founding countries of the European Communities, following the 1952 establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community, and subsequent 1958 creations of the European Economic Community and European Atomic Energy Community.[53] In 1993, the former two of these were incorporated into the European Union.[53]

    Government-encouraged emigration efforts to reduce population density prompted some 500,000 Dutch people to leave the country after the war.[54] The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great social and cultural change, such as rapid de-pillarisation characterised by the decay of the old divisions along political and religious lines. Students and other youth rejected traditional mores and pushed for change in matters such as women's rights, sexuality, disarmament and environmental issues. In 2002 the euro was introduced as fiat money, and in 2010 the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Referendums were held on each island to determine their future status. As a result, the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands) were to obtain closer ties with the Netherlands. This led to the incorporation of these three islands into the country of the Netherlands as special municipalities upon the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. The special municipalities are collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands.[55]

    ^ Roebroeks, Wil; Sier, Mark J.; Nielsen, Trine Kellberg; Loecker, Dimitri De; Parés, Josep Maria; Arps, Charles E. S.; Mücher, Herman J. (7 February 2012). "Use of red ochre by early Neandertals". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (6): 1889–1894. Bibcode:2012PNAS..109.1889R. doi:10.1073/pnas.1112261109. PMC 3277516. PMID 22308348. ^ Van Zeist, W. (1957), "De steentijd van Nederland", Nieuwe Drentse Volksalmanak, 75: 4–11 ^ Louwe Kooijmans, L.P., "Trijntje van de Betuweroute, Jachtkampen uit de Steentijd te Hardinxveld-Giessendam", 1998, Spiegel Historiael 33, pp. 423–428 ^ Volkskrant 24 August 2007 "Prehistoric agricultural field found in Swifterbant, 4300–4000 BC Archived 19 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine" ^ Fokkens, Harry; Nicolis, Franco, eds. (2012). Background to beakers : inquiries in regional cultural backgrounds to the Bell Beaker complex. Leiden: Sidestone. p. 131. ISBN 978-90-8890-084-6. ^ Fokkens, Harry. "The Periodisation of the Dutch Bronze Age: a Critical Review" (PDF). Open Access Leiden University. Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th edition, 22:641–642 ^ a b c d e f de Vries, Jan W., Roland Willemyns and Peter Burger, Het verhaal van een taal, Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2003, pp. 12, 21–27 ^ Hachmann, Rolf, Georg Kossack and Hans Kuhn, Völker zwischen Germanen und Kelten, 1986, pp. 183–212 ^ a b Lendering, Jona, "Germania Inferior" Archived 27 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Livius.org. Retrieved 6 October 2011. ^ Lendering, Jona. "The Edges of the Earth (3) – Livius". www.livius.org. Retrieved 28 February 2019. ^ Roymans, Nico, Ethnic Identity and Imperial Power: The Batavians in the Early Roman Empire, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2005, pp 226–227 ^ a b Previté-Orton, Charles, The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, vol. I, pp. 51–52, 151 ^ Grane, Thomas (2007), "From Gallienus to Probus – Three decades of turmoil and recovery", The Roman Empire and Southern Scandinavia–a Northern Connection! (PhD thesis), Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, p. 109 ^ De Koning, Jan (2003). Why did they leave? Why did they stay? On continuity versus discontinuity from Roman times to Early Middle Ages in the western coastal area of the Netherlands. In: Kontinuität und Diskontinuität: Germania inferior am Beginn und am Ende der römischen Herrschaft; Beiträge des deutsch-niederländischen Kolloquiums in der Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, (27. bis 30.6.2001). Walter de Gruyter. pp. 53–83. ISBN 978-3-11-017688-9. ^ Vaan, Michiel de (15 December 2017). The Dawn of Dutch: Language contact in the Western Low Countries before 1200. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 42–44. ISBN 978-90-272-6450-3. ^ Blom, J. C. H. (30 June 2006). History of the Low Countries. Berghahn Books. pp. 6–18. ISBN 978-1-84545-272-8. ^ a b c Bazelmans, Jos (2009), "The early-medieval use of ethnic names from classical antiquity: The case of the Frisians", in Derks, Ton; Roymans, Nico (eds.), Ethnic Constructs in Antiquity: The Role of Power and Tradition, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University, pp. 321–337, ISBN 978-90-8964-078-9, archived from the original on 30 August 2017, retrieved 3 June 2017 ^ Frisii en Frisiaevones, 25–08–02 (Dutch) Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Bertsgeschiedenissite.nl. Retrieved 6 October 2011 ^ Willemsen, A. (2009), Dorestad. Een wereldstad in de middeleeuwen, Walburg Pers, Zutphen, pp. 23–27, ISBN 978-90-5730-627-3 ^ MacKay, Angus; David Ditchburn (1997). Atlas of Medieval Europe. Routledge. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-415-01923-1. ^ Baldwin, Stewart, "Danish Haralds in 9th Century Frisia". Retrieved 9 October 2011. ^ Motley, John (1859). The Rise of the Dutch Republic, Volume 2. pp. 25. On more than one occasion men were seen hanging their own brothers, who had been taken prisoners in the enemy's ranks... A Spaniard had ceased to be human in their eyes. On one occasion, a surgeon at Veer cut the heart from a Spanish prisoner, nailed it on a vessel's prow, and invited the townsmen to come and fasten their teeth in it, which many did with savage satisfaction. ^ "Twentieth Century Atlas – Historical Body Count". necrometrics.com. ^ Clodfelter, Micheal (9 May 2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015, 4th ed. McFarland. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7864-7470-7. Retrieved 11 November 2020. ^ Arnade, Peter J. Beggars, Iconoclasts, and Civic Patriots: The Political Culture of the Dutch Revolt. p. 237. ^ Durant, Will; Durant, Ariel. The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558–1648. p. 451. ^ Gillespie, Alexander (2017). The Causes of War: Volume III: 1400 CE to 1650 CE. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 131. ^ Motley, John Lothrop (1855). The Rise of the Dutch Republic Vol. III, Harper Bros.: New York, p. 411. ^ Nolan, Cathal J. (2006). The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000–1650: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization, Volume 1. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 247. ^ Motley, John Lothrop (1855). The Rise of the Dutch Republic Vol. III, Harper Bros.: New York, p. 508. ^ Willson, David Harris (1972). History of England, Holt, Rinehart & Winston: New York, p. 294. ^ Ground Warfare: An International Encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. 2002. p. 45. ^ Prak, Maarten (22 September 2005). The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century: The Golden Age. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-316-34248-0. p. 66 ^ "The Middle Colonies: New York". Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012. Digital History. ^ Junie T. Tong (2016). Finance and Society in 21st Century China: Chinese Culture Versus Western Markets. CRC Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-317-13522-7. ^ John L. Esposito, ed. (2004). The Islamic World: Past and Present. Vol. 1: Abba - Hist. Oxford University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-19-516520-3. ^ Nanda, J. N (2005). Bengal: the unique state. Concept Publishing Company. p. 10. 2005. ISBN 978-81-8069-149-2. Bengal [...] was rich in the production and export of grain, salt, fruit, liquors and wines, precious metals and ornaments besides the output of its handlooms in silk and cotton. Europe referred to Bengal as the richest country to trade with. ^ Om Prakash, "Empire, Mughal", History of World Trade Since 1450, edited by John J. McCusker, vol. 1, Macmillan Reference USA, 2006, pp. 237–240, World History in Context. Retrieved 3 August 2017 ^ Sayle, Murray (5 April 2001). "Japan Goes Dutch". London Review of Books. Vol. 23, no. 7. pp. 3–7. ^ Koopmans, Joop W. (5 November 2015). Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 233. ISBN 978-1-4422-5593-7. ^ Finkelman and Miller, Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery 2:637 ^ "Dutch involvement in the transatlantic slave trade and abolition". ascleiden.nl. 24 June 2013. ^ Abbenhuis, Maartje M. (2006) The Art of Staying Neutral. Amsterdam University Press, ISBN 978-90-5356-818-7. ^ "93 trains". Archived from the original on 7 December 2004. Retrieved 7 December 2004.. kampwesterbork.nl ^ "Nederlanders in de Waffen-SS". www.waffen-ss.nl. Archived from the original on 2 December 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. ^ MOOXE from Close Combat Series. "Indonesian SS Volunteers". Closecombatseries.net. Retrieved 28 October 2011. ^ "The Kingdom of the Netherlands declares war with Japan". ibiblio. Retrieved 2 October 2009. ^ Library of Congress, 1992, "Indonesia: World War II and the Struggle For Independence, 1942–50; The Japanese Occupation, 1942–45" Access date: 9 February 2007. ^ Video: Allies Set For Offensive. Universal Newsreel. 1944. Retrieved 21 February 2012. ^ "The Benelux". gouvernement.lu. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2022. ^ "Member countries". NATO. Retrieved 21 November 2022. ^ a b "The Netherlands: EU member state - European Union - Government.nl". www.government.nl. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2022. ^ "Netherlands". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2012. ^ Grommé, Francisca. "Thinking, seeing, and doing like a kingdom: The making of Caribbean Netherlands statistics and the “native Bonairian”." (2021). online
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Stay safe
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    Stay safe Crime

    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; violent crimes are rare. In the larger cities, certain outlying suburbs are considered unsafe at night.

    The police, ambulance and fire brigade have one general emergency number 112. There is one police force, organized in 10 police regions. Visitors will mostly deal with the regional police. Some specialized 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 what you need.

    Border controls and port and airport security are handled by a separate police force, the Marechaussee (or abbreviation '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 security tasks among their duties.

    In most cities, there are municipal services (stadswacht or stadstoezicht) with some police tasks such as issuing parking and litter fines. They often have police-style uniforms to confer some authority, but their powers are limited. For instance, only police officers may carry a gun.

    The European Network against Racism, an international organisation supported by the European Commission reported that, in the Netherlands, half of the Turks reported having experienced racial discrimination. The same report points out a "dramatic growth of Islamophobia" paralleled with antisemitism. Attitudes such as these, however, relate to issues with settling migrants rather than tourists, and visitors of a minority background will not find their ethnicity an issue in a country famed for its tolerance.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe Crime

    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; violent crimes are rare. In the larger cities, certain outlying suburbs are considered unsafe at night.

    The police, ambulance and fire brigade have one general emergency number 112. There is one police force, organized in 10 police regions. Visitors will mostly deal with the regional police. Some specialized 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 what you need.

    Border controls and port and airport security are handled by a separate police force, the Marechaussee (or abbreviation '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 security tasks among their duties.

    In most cities, there are municipal services (stadswacht or stadstoezicht) with some police tasks such as issuing parking and litter fines. They often have police-style uniforms to confer some authority, but their powers are limited. For instance, only police officers may carry a gun.

    The European Network against Racism, an international organisation supported by the European Commission reported that, in the Netherlands, half of the Turks reported having experienced racial discrimination. The same report points out a "dramatic growth of Islamophobia" paralleled with antisemitism. Attitudes such as these, however, relate to issues with settling migrants rather than tourists, and visitors of a minority background will not find their ethnicity an issue in a country famed for its tolerance.

    Drugs
     
     
    Places like these can be seen around the country
    See also: Cannabis

    Cannabis may be decriminalized, but there are some safety risks involved. It is wise to take your first spliff in a relaxed social atmosphere, for example among like-minded people in a coffeeshop. Cannabis sold in the Netherlands is often stronger than varieties elsewhere. 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!

    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 such as 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. As some substances can interact (negatively) with others or certain procedures become dangerous under the influence of certain substances, this may well save your life!

    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. The desk won't return the drugs tested.

    There are significant risks associated with drug use:

    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 to another country for the purpose of committing acts illegal under their jurisdiction, so you might be apprehended in your home country after having legally smoked pot in the Netherlands.

    Be very careful with alcohol and weed. Don't use any alcohol the first couple of times you smoke weed: drinking one beer after you've smoked can feel like drinking ten beers. Alcohol and weed amplify each other: a little bit of alcohol can cause you to intensely feel the effect of the weed, but a tiny bit too much can make you feel dizzy and/or nauseated.

    The use of drugs is condemned, disapproved of and even feared by many Dutch people, notwithstanding the approach the criminal justice system has taken for decades. Nowadays, smoking is also frowned upon.

    Prostitution

    Prostitution in the Netherlands is legalised as long as it concerns voluntary interactions between adults. The minimum age for sex workers is 18 years. Exploiting sex workers or engaging them in the industry against their will is a crime. Street prostitution is prohibited in most municipalities, although Utrecht, Arnhem, Groningen, Heerlen, Nijmegen and Eindhoven allow it on dedicated "tippelzones". While brothels are permitted by law, most cities require them to have permits and enforce a maximum number of establishments in a limited part of town. Research has concluded that drug addictions are more common in the street bound activities. A client who makes use of sexual services when he could have suspected an illegal situation is already punishable by law, and more explicit legal provisions about the responsibilities of the client are in the making. Reasonable suspicion could include timid or young girls, (small) injuries but also suspicious locations such as industrial areas or garage boxes. Illegal prostitution in hotels can be raided by the police and the client as well as the prostitute can be fined or be put in jail. Hotel personnel are obliged by law to notify the police if they suspect these kinds of illegal activities. In short, it's advisable to only have paid sex in locations with a licence to host prostitutes and to ask for an ID when you have any doubts about a person's age.

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