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The Room for the River plan grants more flow space to rivers, protects the major populated areas and allows for periodic flooding of indefensible lands.

The few residents who lived in these so-called "overflow areas" have been moved to higher ground, with some of that ground having been raised above anticipated flood levels.

The predominant wind direction in the European Netherlands is southwest, which causes a mild maritime climate , with moderately warm summers and cool winters, and typically high humidity.

This is especially true close to the Dutch coastline, where the difference in temperature between summer and winter, as well as between day and night is noticeably smaller than it is in the southeast of the country.

On average, snow can occur from November to April, but sometimes occurs in May or October too. Precipitation throughout the year is distributed relatively equally each month.

Summer and autumn months tend to gather a little more precipitation than the other months, mainly because of the intensity of the rainfall rather than the frequency of rain days this is especially the case in summer, when lightning is also much more frequent.

The number of sunshine hours is affected by the fact that because of the geographical latitude, the length of the days varies between barely eight hours in December and nearly 17 hours in June.

The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves, that include lakes , heathland , woods , dunes and other habitats.

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

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

In , the last old original natural woods were cut down, and most woods today are planted monocultures of trees like Scots pine and trees that are not native to the Netherlands.

The islands of the Caribbean Netherlands enjoy a tropical climate with warm weather all year round. The Leeward Antilles are warmer and drier than the Windward islands.

In summer, the Windward Islands can be subject to hurricanes. The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since , and due to the efforts of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke , [96] a parliamentary democracy since The Netherlands is described as a consociational state.

Dutch politics and governance are characterised by an effort to achieve broad consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole.

In , The Economist ranked the Netherlands as the 11th most democratic country in the world. The monarch is the head of state , at present King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

Constitutionally, the position is equipped with limited powers. By law, the King has the right to be periodically briefed and consulted on government affairs.

Depending on the personalities and relationships of the King and the ministers, the monarch might have influence beyond the power granted by the Constitution of the Netherlands.

The executive power is formed by the Council of Ministers , the deliberative organ of the Dutch cabinet.

The cabinet usually consists of 13 to 16 ministers and a varying number of state secretaries. One to three ministers are ministers without portfolio.

The head of government is the Prime Minister of the Netherlands , who often is the leader of the largest party of the coalition. The Prime Minister is a primus inter pares , with no explicit powers beyond those of the other ministers.

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

The members of the House of Representatives , the lower house , are elected in direct elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation.

These are held every four years, or sooner in case the cabinet falls for example: The States-Provincial are directly elected every four years as well.

The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the Senate , the upper house , which has the power to reject laws, but not propose or amend them.

Both houses send members to the Benelux Parliament , a consultative council. Both trade unions and employers organisations are consulted beforehand in policymaking in the financial, economic and social areas.

They meet regularly with the government in the Social-Economic Council. This body advises government and its advice cannot be put aside easily.

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

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

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

Since suffrage became universal in , the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: These parties co-operated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian Democrats had always been a partner: In the s, the party system became more volatile: In the election , the CDA lost its dominant position.

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

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

The big winner of the elections was Geert Wilders , whose right wing PVV , [99] [] the ideological successor to the LPF , more than doubled its number of seats.

On 5 November they formed the second Rutte cabinet. All provinces are divided into municipalities gemeenten , of which there are The country is also subdivided into 24 water districts, governed by a water board waterschap or hoogheemraadschap , each having authority in matters concerning water management.

The Dutch water boards are among the oldest democratic entities in the world still in existence. Direct elections of the water boards take place every 4 years.

The administrative structure on the 3 BES islands, collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands , is different. These islands have the status of openbare lichamen public bodies rather than municipalities and as administrative units are generally referred to as special municipalities.

They are not part of a province. The Netherlands has several Belgian exclaves [] and within those even several enclaves which are still part of the province of North Brabant.

Because the Netherlands and Belgium are both in the Schengen Area , citizens of respective countries can travel through these enclaves.

The history of Dutch foreign policy has been characterised by its neutrality. The Dutch economy is very open and relies strongly on international trade.

The foreign policy of the Netherlands is based on four basic commitments: One of the more controversial international issues surrounding the Netherlands is its liberal policy towards soft drugs.

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

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

Suriname became independent in The historical ties inherited from its colonial past still influence the foreign relations of the Netherlands.

In addition, many people from these countries are living permanently in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau in the late s.

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

Since the s the Dutch army has been involved in the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War , it held a province in Iraq after the defeat of Saddam Hussein , and it was engaged in Afghanistan.

The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke Royal:. The submarine service is open to women as of 1 January The Korps Commandotroepen , the Special Operations Force of the Netherlands Army, is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical demands for initial training, it is almost impossible for a woman to become a commando.

The Netherlands has a developed economy and has been playing a special role in the European economy for many centuries.

Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have been leading sectors of the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands has a high level of economic freedom. The Netherlands is one of the top countries in the Global Enabling Trade Report 2nd in , and was ranked the fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development in Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector.

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

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

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

Actual euro coins and banknotes followed on 1 January One euro was equivalent to 2. In the Caribbean Netherlands , the United States dollar is used instead of the euro.

The Dutch location gives it prime access to markets in the UK and Germany, with the Port of Rotterdam being the largest port in Europe.

Other important parts of the economy are international trade Dutch colonialism started with co-operative private enterprises such as the Dutch East India Company , banking and transport.

The Netherlands successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job growth long before its European partners.

Amsterdam is the 5th-busiest tourist destination in Europe with more than 4. BrabantStad is the fastest growing economic region in the Netherlands, with the Brabantse Stedenrij polycentric city region as one of the national top regions, behind the Randstad megalopolis Amsterdam , Rotterdam , The Hague and Utrecht.

With a total of 1. Of all the money that goes to research and development in the Netherlands, one third is spent in Eindhoven. A quarter of the jobs in the region are in technology and ICT.

Of all European patent applications in the field of physics and electronics about eight per cent is from North Brabant.

This economic cooperation agreement between three cities in three countries has created one of the most innovative regions in the European Union measured in terms of money invested in technology and knowledge economy.

The Netherlands continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the five largest investors in the United States.

The economy experienced a slowdown in , but in recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment.

The pace of job growth reached year highs in Beginning in the s, the Netherlands discovered huge natural gas resources. Apart from coal and gas, the country has no mining resources.

The last coal mine was closed in The Groningen gas field , one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren.

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

Around 35, homes are said to be affected. The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports.

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

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

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

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

The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas.

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

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

In , the Royal Schiphol Group airports handled 70 million passengers. The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and Dutch startup Fastned, and will aim to provide at least one station within a kilometre radius 30 miles from every home in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,, as of January It is the 63rd most populous country in the world.

From to , the population further increased, to The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1. Life expectancy is high in the Netherlands: According to a estimate, the population was The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, [] with an average height of 1.

According to Eurostat , in there were 1. The Netherlands is the 24th most densely populated country in the world, with According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in , 28 percent of Dutch population had a spendable income above 40, euros which does not include spendings on health care or education.

The official language is Dutch , which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. In the European part of the kingdom two other regional languages are recognised under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The first of these recognised regional languages is Low Saxon Nedersaksisch in Dutch. Low Saxon consists of several dialects spoken in the north and east, like Twents in the region of Twente , and Drents in the province of Drenthe.

Secondly, Limburgish is also recognised as a regional language. It consists of Dutch varieties of Meuse-Rhenish Franconian languages and is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg.

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

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

It is widely spoken on these islands. Papiamento has a formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire. Yiddish and the Romani language were recognised in as non-territorial languages.

Only during the last three years in VWO one foreign language is mandatory. Besides English, the standard modern languages are French and German , although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Chinese , Spanish , Russian , Italian , Turkish or Arabic.

Religious identification in the Netherlands [6]. The Dutch are one of the least religious people in the world. Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity until late into the 20th century.

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

Christians comprised the Islam comprised the 4. The Constitution of the Netherlands guarantees freedom of education, which means that all schools that adhere to general quality criteria receive the same government funding.

This includes schools based on religious principles by religious groups especially Roman Catholic and various Protestant. By , Protestantism shrunk demographically to equal Roman Catholicism, and going onwards, both Christian branches began to decline.

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

The Dutch royal family has been traditionally associated with Calvinism , specifically the disestablished and now non-existent Dutch Reformed Church.

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

It encompassed the vast majority of Protestants in the Reformed tradition until a series of splits in and in diversified Dutch Calvinism. In , a Roman Catholic became Queen consort.

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

Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. Several orthodox Reformed and liberal churches did not merge into the PKN.

Although in the Netherlands as a whole Christianity has become a minority, the Netherlands contains a Bible Belt from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel , in which Protestant particularly Reformed beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.

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

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

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

There are about 45, Jews in the Netherlands. Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from on average ages 4 to It comprises eight grades, the first of which is facultative.

After completing a particular stream, a pupil may still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream. The VMBO has 4 grades and is subdivided over several levels.

Successfully completing the vmbo results in a low-level vocational degree that grants access to the MBO. The MBO middle-level applied education is a form of education primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree.

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

Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are generally non-tenured employees of a university. All Dutch schools and universities are publicly funded and managed with the exception of religious schools that are publicly funded but not managed by the state even though requirements are necessary for the funding to be authorised.

Dutch universities have a tuition fee of about 2, euros a year for students from the Netherlands and the European Union. The amount is about 10, euros for non-EU students.

In , the Netherlands has maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index EHCI , which compares healthcare systems in Europe, scoring of a maximum 1, points.

The Netherlands has been in the top three countries in each report published since On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 37 European countries for the sixth year in a row.

Ever since a major reform of the health care system in , the Dutch system received more points in the Index each year.

The difference between the Netherlands and other countries is that the chaos is managed. Healthcare decisions are being made in a dialogue between the patients and healthcare professionals.

Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory. Healthcare in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance:.

In contrast to many other European systems, the Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare system in the Netherlands, but not in charge of its management.

Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: Home doctors huisartsen , comparable to general practitioners form the largest part of the first echelon.

Being referenced by a member of the first echelon is mandatory for access to the second and third echelon. Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January Long-term treatments, especially those that involve semi-permanent hospitalisation, and also disability costs such as wheelchairs, are covered by a state-controlled mandatory insurance.

For all regular short-term medical treatment, there is a system of obligatory health insurance , with private health insurance companies. These insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a defined set of insured treatments.

A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums may not be related to health status or age. Risk variances between private health insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through risk equalisation and a common risk pool.

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

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

The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms with a microscope.

Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia.

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

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

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

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

On 1 April , the Netherlands became the first nation to legalise same-sex marriage. Dutch society is egalitarian and modern. The Dutch have an aversion to the non-essential.

The Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage , rich history in art and involvement in international affairs. Dutch manners are open and direct with a no-nonsense attitude; informality combined with adherence to basic behaviour.

According to a humorous source on Dutch culture, "Their directness gives many the impression that they are rude and crude — attributes they prefer to call openness.

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

The Netherlands has the reputation of the leader country in environmental and population management. Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch.

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

The government is investing billions of euros in energy efficiency , sustainable energy and CO 2 reduction. The Netherlands has multiple music traditions.

Traditional Dutch music is a genre known as " Levenslied ", meaning Song of life , to an extent comparable to a French Chanson or a German Schlager.

These songs typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward structure of couplets and refrains. Themes can be light, but are often sentimental and include love , death and loneliness.

Traditional musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also use synthesisers and guitars.

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

In the s and s the lyrics were mostly in English, and some tracks were instrumental. As of the s, more and more pop musicians started working in the Dutch language, partly inspired by the huge success of the band Doe Maar.

Today Dutch rock and pop music thrives in both languages, with some artists recording in both. Early s Dutch and Belgian house music came together in Eurodance project 2 Unlimited.

Selling 18 million records, [] the two singers in the band are the most successful Dutch music artists to this day. Tracks like " Get Ready for This " are still popular themes of U.

In the mid s Dutch language rap and hip hop Nederhop also came to fruition and has become popular in the Netherlands and Belgium.

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

In classical music , Jan Sweelinck ranks as the Dutch most famous composer, with Louis Andriessen amongst the best known living Dutch classical composers.

Ton Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. The most famous Dutch classical composition is " Canto Ostinato " by Simeon ten Holt , a minimalistic composition for multiple instruments.

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

The Netherlands has a well developed television market, with both multiple commercial and public broadcasters. Imported TV programmes, as well as interviews with responses in a foreign language, are virtually always shown with the original sound and subtitled.

Only foreign shows for children are translated. TV exports from the Netherlands mostly take the form of specific formats and franchises, most notably through internationally active TV production conglomerate Endemol , founded by Dutch media tycoons John de Mol and Joop van den Ende.

Headquartered in Amsterdam , Endemol has around 90 companies in over 30 countries. Endemol and its subsidiaries create and run reality, talent, and game show franchises worldwide, including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

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

About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly. Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual sports.

Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Federations for sports were established such as the speed skating federation in , rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence.

A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in Thus far, the nation has won medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another medals at the Winter Olympic Games.

In international competition, Dutch national teams and athletes are dominant in several fields of sport. The Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times out of 32 events.

Motorcycle racing at the TT Assen Circuit has a long history. Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in The circuit was purpose built for the Dutch TT in , with previous events having been held on public roads.

The coastal resort of Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from to Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, and contains many dairy products.

Breakfast and lunch are typically bread with toppings, with cereal for breakfast as an alternative. Traditionally, dinner consists of potatoes, a portion of meat, and seasonal vegetables.

The Dutch diet was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the labourers whose culture moulded the country.

Without many refinements, it is best described as rustic, though many holidays are still celebrated with special foods.

In the course of the twentieth century this diet changed and became much more cosmopolitan , with most global cuisines being represented in the major cities.

Modern culinary writers distinguish between three general regional forms of Dutch cuisine. The regions in the northeast of the Netherlands, roughly the provinces of Groningen , Friesland , Drenthe , Overijssel and Gelderland north of the great rivers are the least populated area of the Netherlands.

The late 18th century introduction of large scale agriculture means that the cuisine is generally known for its many kinds of meats. The relative lack of farms allowed for an abundance of game and husbandry , though dishes near the coastal regions of Friesland, Groningen and the parts of Overijssel bordering the IJsselmeer also include a large amount of fish.

The various dried sausages, belonging to the metworst -family of Dutch sausages are found throughout this region and are highly prized for their often very strong taste.

Also smoked sausages are common, of which Gelderse rookworst is the most renowned. The sausage contains a lot of fat and is very juicy.

Larger sausages are often eaten alongside stamppot , hutspot or zuurkool sauerkraut ; whereas smaller ones are often eaten as a street food.

The provinces are also home to hard textured rye bread , pastries and cookies, the latter heavily spiced with ginger or succade or contain small bits of meat.

Notable characteristics of Fries roggebrood Frisian rye bread is its long baking time up to 20 hours , resulting in a sweet taste and a deep dark colour.

As a coastal region, Friesland is home to low-lying grasslands, and thus has a cheese production in common with the Western cuisine.

Friese Nagelkaas Friesian Clove is a notable example. The provinces of North Holland , South Holland , Zeeland , Utrecht and the Gelderlandic region of Betuwe are the parts of the Netherlands which make up the region in which western Dutch cuisine is found.

Because of the abundance of water and flat grass lands that are found here, the area is known for its many dairy products, which includes prominent cheeses such as Gouda , Leyden spiced cheese with cumin , Edam traditionally in small spheres as well as Leerdammer and Beemster , while the adjacent Zaanstreek in North Holland is since the 16th century known for its mayonnaise , typical whole-grain mustards [] and chocolate industry.

Zeeland and South Holland produce a lot of butter, which contains a larger amount of milkfat than most other European butter varieties.

A by-product of the butter-making process, karnemelk buttermilk , is also considered typical for this region.

Kibbeling , once a local delicacy consisting of small chunks of battered white fish , has become a national fast food , just as lekkerbek.

Pastries in this area tend to be quite doughy, and often contain large amounts of sugar; either caramelised, powdered or crystallised.

The oliebol in its modern form and Zeeuwse bolus are good examples. Cookies are also produced in great number and tend to contain a lot of butter and sugar, like stroopwafel , as well as a filling of some kind, mostly almond, like gevulde koek.

The traditional alcoholic beverages of this region are beer strong pale lager and Jenever , a high proof juniper -flavored spirit, that came to be known in England as gin.

A noted exception within the traditional Dutch alcoholic landscape, Advocaat , a rich and creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy, is also native to this region.

It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetable dishes and is often called Burgundian which is a Dutch idiom invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages, renowned for its splendor and great feasts.

It is the only Dutch culinary region that developed an haute cuisine. Pastries are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits.

Savoury pastries also occur, with the worstenbroodje a roll with a sausage of ground beef , literally translates into sausage bread being the most popular.

The traditional alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands, ranging from Trappist to Kriek.

Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is also used in cooking; often in stews. In early , Oxfam ranked the Netherlands as the country with the most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food, in a comparison of countries.

From the exploitations of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century, to the colonisations in the 19th century, Dutch imperial possessions continued to expand, reaching their greatest extent by establishing a hegemony of the Dutch East Indies in the early 20th century.

The Dutch East Indies, which later formed modern-day Indonesia, was one of the most valuable European colonies in the world and the most important one for the Netherlands.

In the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, the Netherlands urbanised considerably, mostly financed by corporate revenue from the Asian trade monopolies.

When the Dutch royal family was established in , much of its wealth came from Colonial trade. Afterward, they established ports in Dutch occupied Malabar , leading to Dutch settlements and trading posts in India.

However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore , during the Travancore-Dutch War.

The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India. Universities such as the Royal Leiden University , founded in the 16th century, have developed into leading knowledge centres for Southeast Asian and Indonesian studies.

Leiden University and in particular KITLV are educational and scientific institutions that to this day share both an intellectual and historical interest in Indonesian studies.

Other scientific institutions in the Netherlands include the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum , an anthropological museum with massive collections of Indonesian art, culture, ethnography and anthropology.

A specific segment of Dutch literature called Dutch Indies literature still exists and includes established authors, such as Louis Couperus , the writer of "The Hidden Force", taking the colonial era as an important source of inspiration.

The majority of Dutchmen that repatriated to the Netherlands after and during the Indonesian revolution are Indo Eurasian , native to the islands of the Dutch East Indies.

This relatively large Eurasian population had developed over a period of years and were classified by colonial law as belonging to the European legal community.

Including their second generation descendants, Indos are currently the largest foreign-born group in the Netherlands. Many Indonesian dishes and foodstuffs have become commonplace in the Netherlands.

Rijsttafel , a colonial culinary concept, and dishes such as Nasi goreng and satay are very popular in the Netherlands. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the constituent country. For the sovereign state, see Kingdom of the Netherlands. For other uses, see Netherlands disambiguation.

Not to be confused with the region of Holland , or the Low Countries. Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe.

West Frisian Papiamento English [d]. Limburgish Dutch Low Saxon [d]. Sikhism , Hinduism , Buddhism , Judaism. Terminology of the Low Countries.

History of the Netherlands. Bronze Age cultures in the Netherlands. Diachronic distribution of Celtic people from BC.

Expansion into the southern Low Countries by BC. Frankish Kingdom and Frisian Kingdom. History of urban centers in the Low Countries. The Low Countries in the late 14th century.

Dutch Republic and Evolution of the Dutch Empire. Geography of the Netherlands. Delta Works and Flood control in the Netherlands. Lisse , South Holland.

List of national parks of the Netherlands and List of extinct animals of the Netherlands. Bonaire , Saba , and Sint Eustatius.

Willem-Alexander King of the Netherlands since 30 April Political parties of the Netherlands and Politics of the Netherlands.

Government of the Netherlands. Foreign relations of the Netherlands and List of diplomatic missions of the Netherlands. Armed forces of the Netherlands.

Economy of the Netherlands. Transport in the Netherlands. Demographics of the Netherlands. Largest municipalities in the Netherlands Statistics Netherlands [].

Languages of the Netherlands. Religion in the Netherlands. Protestant Church in the Netherlands [l] Other Christian [m] 4.

Education in the Netherlands and Universities in the Netherlands. Healthcare in the Netherlands. Culture of the Netherlands. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer.

Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh. Dutch art , Architecture of the Netherlands , and Dutch literature. Dutch customs and etiquette.

Music of the Netherlands and Music of the former Netherlands Antilles. Cinema of the Netherlands and Television in the Netherlands.

Sports in the Netherlands. Stroopwafels syrup waffles are a treat consisting of waffles with caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. Poffertjes are made in a special, so-called, poffertjespan.

The Gouda cheese market. Hutspot with klapstuk beef. Bitterballen are usually served with mustard. However, many people still tend to give their older affiliation even after the merger.

People who declared themselves simply as belonging to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands did not give an information about belonging to an older affiliation.

Retrieved 27 December Retrieved on 4 July Retrieved 17 October Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek. Retrieved 6 December Retrieved 4 December United Nations Development Programme.

Retrieved 11 January Archived from the original on 19 August Retrieved 15 August Chapter 2, Article Retrieved 3 July Archived from the original on 5 October Retrieved 26 June Retrieved 28 June Retrieved 29 April Agricultural exports top 80 billion Euros".

Archived from the original on 22 January Retrieved 25 January Retrieved 26 August Legal Capital of the World. Archived from the original on 1 February Archived from the original on 10 May During her pregnancy with her last child, Marijke Christina , Princess Juliana contracted measles.

The girl was born in with cataracts in both eyes and was soon diagnosed as almost totally blind in one eye and severely limited in the other.

Despite her blindness, Christina, as she was called, was a happy and gifted child with a talent for languages and an ear for music.

Over time, and with advances in medical technology, her eyesight did improve such that with thick glasses, she could attend school and even ride a bicycle.

However, before that happened, her mother, the Princess, clinging to any thread that offered some hope for a cure, came under the strong influence of Greet Hofmans , a faith healer with heterodox beliefs, who was considered by "her many detractors" to be a sham.

Juliana was forced to take over as regent from 14 October to 1 December Wilhelmina seriously considered abdicating in favour of Juliana at the end of , but Juliana urged her mother to stay on the throne so she could celebrate her diamond jubilee in However, Wilhelmina was forced to relinquish her royal duties to Juliana once again on 4 May The independence of Indonesia , which saw more than , Dutch troops stationed there as decolonization force, was regarded as an economic disaster for the Netherlands.

With the certain loss of the prized colony, the queen announced her intention to abdicate, doing so on 4 September Two days later, with the eyes of the world upon her, Juliana was sworn-in and inaugurated as monarch during a joint session of the States General at a ceremony held in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam , becoming the 12th member of the House of Orange to rule the Netherlands.

Over the next few years, the controversy surrounding the faith healer, at first kept out of the Dutch media, erupted into a national debate over the competency of the queen.

She often appeared in public dressed like any ordinary Dutch woman, and preferred to be addressed as " Mevrouw " Dutch for "Mrs.

She also began riding a bicycle for exercise and fresh air. Although the bicycle and the down-to-earth manners suggest a simple life style, the Dutch royal court of the s and s was still a splendid affair with chamberlains in magnificent uniforms, gilded state coaches, visits to towns in open carriages and lavish entertaining in the huge palaces.

At the same time the queen began visiting the citizens of the nearby towns and, unannounced, would drop in on social institutions and schools.

Her refreshingly straightforward manner and talk made her a powerful public speaker. On the international stage, Queen Juliana was particularly interested in the problems of developing countries, the refugee problem, [ which?

On the night of 31 January , the Netherlands was hit by the most destructive storm in more than five hundred years.

Thirty breaches of dunes and dikes occurred and many towns were swept away by twelve-foot storm surges. More than two thousand people drowned and tens of thousands were trapped by the floodwaters.

Dressed in boots and an old coat, Queen Juliana waded through water and slopped through deep mud all over the devastated areas to bring desperate people food and clothing.

Showing compassion and concern, reassuring the people, her tireless efforts would permanently endear her to the citizens of the Netherlands. Prime Minister Willem Drees resolved the crisis.

However, Juliana lost out to her powerful husband and his friends. Prince Bernhard planned to divorce his wife but decided against it when he, as he told an American journalist, "found out that the woman still loved him".

She survived, however, thanks to the underlying devotion she had earned over the years. Another crisis developed as a result of the announcement in July of the engagement of Princess Beatrix, heir to the throne, to German diplomat Claus von Amsberg.

The future husband of the future queen had been a member of the Nazi Wehrmacht and the Hitler Youth movement. Many angry Dutch citizens demonstrated in the streets, and held rallies and marches against the "traitorous" affair.

After attempting to have the marriage cancelled, Queen Juliana acquiesced and the marriage took place under a continued storm of protest; an almost certain attitude pervaded the country that Princess Beatrix might be the last member of the House of Orange to ever reign in the Netherlands.

The queen was noted for her courtesy and kindness. According to Time magazine, Amsterdam newspaper de Volkskrant said: An event in April , helped by an improving Dutch economy, brought an overnight revitalization of the royal family; the first male heir to the Dutch throne in years, Willem-Alexander , was born to Princess Beatrix.

This time, the demonstrations in the street were of love and enthusiasm. In the spring of , a group of South Moluccans were caught conspiring to steal a heavy truck and ram the gates of Soestdijk Palace to kidnap the queen.

Ten members of the group were apprehended by the police in a vehicle full of firearms; [8] ten people were arrested. On 25 November , Suriname seceded from the Dutch Kingdom and became independent.

Representing the Queen at the independence ceremony in the Surinamese capital, Paramaribo , were the heir presumptive Princess Beatrix, and her husband Prince Claus.

The prince resigned his various high-profile positions as a lieutenant admiral , a general, and an Inspector General of the Armed Forces.

He resigned from his positions on the boards of many businesses, charities, the World Wildlife Fund , and other institutions.

The prince also accepted that he would have to give up wearing his beloved uniforms. In return, the States-General accepted that there was to be no criminal prosecution.

On her Silver Jubilee in , Queen Juliana donated all of the money that had been raised by the National Silver Jubilee Committee to organizations for children in need throughout the world.

She donated the gift from the nation which she received on her seventieth birthday to the " International Year of the Child ".

As a reigning European monarch, she was given supernumerary membership of the Order of the Garter as the nd inductee, with the rank of Stranger Lady, in On 30 April , her 71st birthday, Queen Juliana abdicated and her eldest daughter succeeded her.

Juliana did not appear in public after this time. Juliana died in her sleep on 20 March , several weeks before her 95th birthday, at Soestdijk Palace in Baarn from complications of pneumonia , seventy years to the day after her grandmother, Queen Emma.

The memorial service made her ecumenical and often highly personal views on matters of religion public. The late Princess, a vicar said in her sermon, was interested in all religions and in reincarnation.

In , an exhibition of portraits of Juliana, and objects from her life, was held at the Het Loo Palace to mark the centenary of her birth.

Upon her abdication, she resumed her pre-regnal marital title and style. Azure , billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the airport, see Princess Juliana International Airport.

Nieuwe Kerk , Delft , Netherlands. Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld m. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus. Ancestors of Juliana of the Netherlands Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia 4.

Princess Alexandrine of Prussia Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz 2. Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Prince Carl of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Prince Adolph of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Landgravine Ulrike of Hesse-Homburg 5.

Princess Marie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Princess Mathilde of Schonburg-Waldenburg Princess Thekla of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt 1.

Juliana of the Netherlands William I of the Netherlands William II of the Netherlands Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia 6. William III of the Netherlands Paul I of Russia Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia Wilhelmina of the Netherlands George Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont Princess Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont William, Duke of Nassau Princess Helena of Nassau The New York Times.

Retrieved 27 September Retrieved 28 January Retrieved 4 April

The project started in and was largely completed in with the completion of the Maeslantkering. New projects have been periodically started since to renovate and renew the Delta Works.

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

New risk assessments occasionally show problems requiring additional Delta project dike reinforcements. The Delta project is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

It is anticipated that global warming in the 21st century will result in a rise in sea level. The Netherlands is actively preparing for a sea level rise.

A politically neutral Delta Commission has formulated an action plan to cope with a sea level rise of 1. The plan encompasses the reinforcement of the existing coastal defences like dikes and dunes with 1.

Climate change will not only threaten the Netherlands from the sea side, but could also alter rainfall patterns and river run-off. To protect the country from river flooding, another program is already being executed.

The Room for the River plan grants more flow space to rivers, protects the major populated areas and allows for periodic flooding of indefensible lands.

The few residents who lived in these so-called "overflow areas" have been moved to higher ground, with some of that ground having been raised above anticipated flood levels.

The predominant wind direction in the European Netherlands is southwest, which causes a mild maritime climate , with moderately warm summers and cool winters, and typically high humidity.

This is especially true close to the Dutch coastline, where the difference in temperature between summer and winter, as well as between day and night is noticeably smaller than it is in the southeast of the country.

On average, snow can occur from November to April, but sometimes occurs in May or October too. Precipitation throughout the year is distributed relatively equally each month.

Summer and autumn months tend to gather a little more precipitation than the other months, mainly because of the intensity of the rainfall rather than the frequency of rain days this is especially the case in summer, when lightning is also much more frequent.

The number of sunshine hours is affected by the fact that because of the geographical latitude, the length of the days varies between barely eight hours in December and nearly 17 hours in June.

The Netherlands has 20 national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves, that include lakes , heathland , woods , dunes and other habitats.

It consists primarily of the salt waters of the Oosterschelde, but also includes mud flats, meadows, and shoals.

Because of the large variety of sea life, including unique regional species, the park is popular with Scuba divers. Other activities include sailing, fishing, cycling, and bird watching.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature , the European territory of the Netherlands belongs to the ecoregion of Atlantic mixed forests. In , the last old original natural woods were cut down, and most woods today are planted monocultures of trees like Scots pine and trees that are not native to the Netherlands.

The islands of the Caribbean Netherlands enjoy a tropical climate with warm weather all year round. The Leeward Antilles are warmer and drier than the Windward islands.

In summer, the Windward Islands can be subject to hurricanes. The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since , and due to the efforts of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke , [96] a parliamentary democracy since The Netherlands is described as a consociational state.

Dutch politics and governance are characterised by an effort to achieve broad consensus on important issues, within both the political community and society as a whole.

In , The Economist ranked the Netherlands as the 11th most democratic country in the world. The monarch is the head of state , at present King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

Constitutionally, the position is equipped with limited powers. By law, the King has the right to be periodically briefed and consulted on government affairs.

Depending on the personalities and relationships of the King and the ministers, the monarch might have influence beyond the power granted by the Constitution of the Netherlands.

The executive power is formed by the Council of Ministers , the deliberative organ of the Dutch cabinet. The cabinet usually consists of 13 to 16 ministers and a varying number of state secretaries.

One to three ministers are ministers without portfolio. The head of government is the Prime Minister of the Netherlands , who often is the leader of the largest party of the coalition.

The Prime Minister is a primus inter pares , with no explicit powers beyond those of the other ministers. Mark Rutte has been Prime Minister since October ; the Prime Minister had been the leader of the largest party continuously since The cabinet is responsible to the bicameral parliament , the States General , which also has legislative powers.

The members of the House of Representatives , the lower house , are elected in direct elections on the basis of party-list proportional representation.

These are held every four years, or sooner in case the cabinet falls for example: The States-Provincial are directly elected every four years as well.

The members of the provincial assemblies elect the 75 members of the Senate , the upper house , which has the power to reject laws, but not propose or amend them.

Both houses send members to the Benelux Parliament , a consultative council. Both trade unions and employers organisations are consulted beforehand in policymaking in the financial, economic and social areas.

They meet regularly with the government in the Social-Economic Council. This body advises government and its advice cannot be put aside easily.

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

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

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

Since suffrage became universal in , the Dutch political system has been dominated by three families of political parties: These parties co-operated in coalition cabinets in which the Christian Democrats had always been a partner: In the s, the party system became more volatile: In the election , the CDA lost its dominant position.

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

The cabinet initiated an ambitious programme of reforming the welfare state , the healthcare system , and immigration policy.

In these elections, the CDA remained the largest party and the Socialist Party made the largest gains. The big winner of the elections was Geert Wilders , whose right wing PVV , [99] [] the ideological successor to the LPF , more than doubled its number of seats.

On 5 November they formed the second Rutte cabinet. All provinces are divided into municipalities gemeenten , of which there are The country is also subdivided into 24 water districts, governed by a water board waterschap or hoogheemraadschap , each having authority in matters concerning water management.

The Dutch water boards are among the oldest democratic entities in the world still in existence. Direct elections of the water boards take place every 4 years.

The administrative structure on the 3 BES islands, collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands , is different. These islands have the status of openbare lichamen public bodies rather than municipalities and as administrative units are generally referred to as special municipalities.

They are not part of a province. The Netherlands has several Belgian exclaves [] and within those even several enclaves which are still part of the province of North Brabant.

Because the Netherlands and Belgium are both in the Schengen Area , citizens of respective countries can travel through these enclaves. The history of Dutch foreign policy has been characterised by its neutrality.

The Dutch economy is very open and relies strongly on international trade. The foreign policy of the Netherlands is based on four basic commitments: One of the more controversial international issues surrounding the Netherlands is its liberal policy towards soft drugs.

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

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

Suriname became independent in The historical ties inherited from its colonial past still influence the foreign relations of the Netherlands.

In addition, many people from these countries are living permanently in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has one of the oldest standing armies in Europe; it was first established as such by Maurice of Nassau in the late s.

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

Since the s the Dutch army has been involved in the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War , it held a province in Iraq after the defeat of Saddam Hussein , and it was engaged in Afghanistan.

The military is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke Royal:. The submarine service is open to women as of 1 January The Korps Commandotroepen , the Special Operations Force of the Netherlands Army, is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical demands for initial training, it is almost impossible for a woman to become a commando.

The Netherlands has a developed economy and has been playing a special role in the European economy for many centuries. Since the 16th century, shipping, fishing, agriculture, trade, and banking have been leading sectors of the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands has a high level of economic freedom. The Netherlands is one of the top countries in the Global Enabling Trade Report 2nd in , and was ranked the fifth most competitive economy in the world by the Swiss International Institute for Management Development in Foodstuffs form the largest industrial sector.

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

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

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

Actual euro coins and banknotes followed on 1 January One euro was equivalent to 2. In the Caribbean Netherlands , the United States dollar is used instead of the euro.

The Dutch location gives it prime access to markets in the UK and Germany, with the Port of Rotterdam being the largest port in Europe. Other important parts of the economy are international trade Dutch colonialism started with co-operative private enterprises such as the Dutch East India Company , banking and transport.

The Netherlands successfully addressed the issue of public finances and stagnating job growth long before its European partners. Amsterdam is the 5th-busiest tourist destination in Europe with more than 4.

BrabantStad is the fastest growing economic region in the Netherlands, with the Brabantse Stedenrij polycentric city region as one of the national top regions, behind the Randstad megalopolis Amsterdam , Rotterdam , The Hague and Utrecht.

With a total of 1. Of all the money that goes to research and development in the Netherlands, one third is spent in Eindhoven.

A quarter of the jobs in the region are in technology and ICT. Of all European patent applications in the field of physics and electronics about eight per cent is from North Brabant.

This economic cooperation agreement between three cities in three countries has created one of the most innovative regions in the European Union measured in terms of money invested in technology and knowledge economy.

The Netherlands continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment and is one of the five largest investors in the United States.

The economy experienced a slowdown in , but in recovered to the fastest pace in six years on the back of increased exports and strong investment.

The pace of job growth reached year highs in Beginning in the s, the Netherlands discovered huge natural gas resources. Apart from coal and gas, the country has no mining resources.

The last coal mine was closed in The Groningen gas field , one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren.

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

Around 35, homes are said to be affected. The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports.

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

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

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

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

The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road.

In , the Betuweroute , a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed. Schiphol Airport , just southwest of Amsterdam, is the main international airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.

In , the Royal Schiphol Group airports handled 70 million passengers. The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and Dutch startup Fastned, and will aim to provide at least one station within a kilometre radius 30 miles from every home in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,, as of January It is the 63rd most populous country in the world. From to , the population further increased, to The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.

Life expectancy is high in the Netherlands: According to a estimate, the population was The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, [] with an average height of 1.

According to Eurostat , in there were 1. The Netherlands is the 24th most densely populated country in the world, with According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in , 28 percent of Dutch population had a spendable income above 40, euros which does not include spendings on health care or education.

The official language is Dutch , which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. In the European part of the kingdom two other regional languages are recognised under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The first of these recognised regional languages is Low Saxon Nedersaksisch in Dutch. Low Saxon consists of several dialects spoken in the north and east, like Twents in the region of Twente , and Drents in the province of Drenthe.

Secondly, Limburgish is also recognised as a regional language. It consists of Dutch varieties of Meuse-Rhenish Franconian languages and is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg.

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

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

It is widely spoken on these islands. Papiamento has a formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire. Yiddish and the Romani language were recognised in as non-territorial languages.

Only during the last three years in VWO one foreign language is mandatory. Besides English, the standard modern languages are French and German , although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Chinese , Spanish , Russian , Italian , Turkish or Arabic.

Religious identification in the Netherlands [6]. The Dutch are one of the least religious people in the world. Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity until late into the 20th century.

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

Christians comprised the Islam comprised the 4. The Constitution of the Netherlands guarantees freedom of education, which means that all schools that adhere to general quality criteria receive the same government funding.

This includes schools based on religious principles by religious groups especially Roman Catholic and various Protestant.

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

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

The Dutch royal family has been traditionally associated with Calvinism , specifically the disestablished and now non-existent Dutch Reformed Church.

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

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

Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. Several orthodox Reformed and liberal churches did not merge into the PKN.

Although in the Netherlands as a whole Christianity has become a minority, the Netherlands contains a Bible Belt from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel , in which Protestant particularly Reformed beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.

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

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

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

Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from on average ages 4 to It comprises eight grades, the first of which is facultative.

After completing a particular stream, a pupil may still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream.

The VMBO has 4 grades and is subdivided over several levels. Successfully completing the vmbo results in a low-level vocational degree that grants access to the MBO.

The MBO middle-level applied education is a form of education primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree.

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

Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are generally non-tenured employees of a university. All Dutch schools and universities are publicly funded and managed with the exception of religious schools that are publicly funded but not managed by the state even though requirements are necessary for the funding to be authorised.

Dutch universities have a tuition fee of about 2, euros a year for students from the Netherlands and the European Union.

The amount is about 10, euros for non-EU students. In , the Netherlands has maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index EHCI , which compares healthcare systems in Europe, scoring of a maximum 1, points.

The Netherlands has been in the top three countries in each report published since On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 37 European countries for the sixth year in a row.

Ever since a major reform of the health care system in , the Dutch system received more points in the Index each year. The difference between the Netherlands and other countries is that the chaos is managed.

Healthcare decisions are being made in a dialogue between the patients and healthcare professionals. Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory.

Healthcare in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance:. In contrast to many other European systems, the Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare system in the Netherlands, but not in charge of its management.

Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: Home doctors huisartsen , comparable to general practitioners form the largest part of the first echelon.

Being referenced by a member of the first echelon is mandatory for access to the second and third echelon. Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January Long-term treatments, especially those that involve semi-permanent hospitalisation, and also disability costs such as wheelchairs, are covered by a state-controlled mandatory insurance.

For all regular short-term medical treatment, there is a system of obligatory health insurance , with private health insurance companies.

These insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a defined set of insured treatments. A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums may not be related to health status or age.

Risk variances between private health insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through risk equalisation and a common risk pool.

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

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

The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms with a microscope.

Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dutch manners are open and direct with a no-nonsense attitude; informality combined with adherence to basic behaviour. According to a humorous source on Dutch culture, "Their directness gives many the impression that they are rude and crude — attributes they prefer to call openness.

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

The Netherlands has the reputation of the leader country in environmental and population management. Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch.

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

The government is investing billions of euros in energy efficiency , sustainable energy and CO 2 reduction. The Netherlands has multiple music traditions.

Traditional Dutch music is a genre known as " Levenslied ", meaning Song of life , to an extent comparable to a French Chanson or a German Schlager.

These songs typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward structure of couplets and refrains. Themes can be light, but are often sentimental and include love , death and loneliness.

Traditional musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also use synthesisers and guitars.

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

In the s and s the lyrics were mostly in English, and some tracks were instrumental. As of the s, more and more pop musicians started working in the Dutch language, partly inspired by the huge success of the band Doe Maar.

Today Dutch rock and pop music thrives in both languages, with some artists recording in both. Early s Dutch and Belgian house music came together in Eurodance project 2 Unlimited.

Selling 18 million records, [] the two singers in the band are the most successful Dutch music artists to this day.

Tracks like " Get Ready for This " are still popular themes of U. In the mid s Dutch language rap and hip hop Nederhop also came to fruition and has become popular in the Netherlands and Belgium.

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

In classical music , Jan Sweelinck ranks as the Dutch most famous composer, with Louis Andriessen amongst the best known living Dutch classical composers.

Ton Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

The most famous Dutch classical composition is " Canto Ostinato " by Simeon ten Holt , a minimalistic composition for multiple instruments.

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

The Netherlands has a well developed television market, with both multiple commercial and public broadcasters. Imported TV programmes, as well as interviews with responses in a foreign language, are virtually always shown with the original sound and subtitled.

Only foreign shows for children are translated. TV exports from the Netherlands mostly take the form of specific formats and franchises, most notably through internationally active TV production conglomerate Endemol , founded by Dutch media tycoons John de Mol and Joop van den Ende.

Headquartered in Amsterdam , Endemol has around 90 companies in over 30 countries. Endemol and its subsidiaries create and run reality, talent, and game show franchises worldwide, including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

John de Mol later started his own company Talpa which created show franchises like The Voice and Utopia. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly.

Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual sports. Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

Federations for sports were established such as the speed skating federation in , rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence. A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in Thus far, the nation has won medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another medals at the Winter Olympic Games.

In international competition, Dutch national teams and athletes are dominant in several fields of sport. The Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times out of 32 events.

Motorcycle racing at the TT Assen Circuit has a long history. Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in The circuit was purpose built for the Dutch TT in , with previous events having been held on public roads.

The coastal resort of Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from to Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, and contains many dairy products.

Breakfast and lunch are typically bread with toppings, with cereal for breakfast as an alternative. Traditionally, dinner consists of potatoes, a portion of meat, and seasonal vegetables.

The Dutch diet was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the labourers whose culture moulded the country.

Without many refinements, it is best described as rustic, though many holidays are still celebrated with special foods. In the course of the twentieth century this diet changed and became much more cosmopolitan , with most global cuisines being represented in the major cities.

Modern culinary writers distinguish between three general regional forms of Dutch cuisine. The regions in the northeast of the Netherlands, roughly the provinces of Groningen , Friesland , Drenthe , Overijssel and Gelderland north of the great rivers are the least populated area of the Netherlands.

The late 18th century introduction of large scale agriculture means that the cuisine is generally known for its many kinds of meats. The relative lack of farms allowed for an abundance of game and husbandry , though dishes near the coastal regions of Friesland, Groningen and the parts of Overijssel bordering the IJsselmeer also include a large amount of fish.

The various dried sausages, belonging to the metworst -family of Dutch sausages are found throughout this region and are highly prized for their often very strong taste.

Also smoked sausages are common, of which Gelderse rookworst is the most renowned. The sausage contains a lot of fat and is very juicy.

Larger sausages are often eaten alongside stamppot , hutspot or zuurkool sauerkraut ; whereas smaller ones are often eaten as a street food.

The provinces are also home to hard textured rye bread , pastries and cookies, the latter heavily spiced with ginger or succade or contain small bits of meat.

Notable characteristics of Fries roggebrood Frisian rye bread is its long baking time up to 20 hours , resulting in a sweet taste and a deep dark colour.

As a coastal region, Friesland is home to low-lying grasslands, and thus has a cheese production in common with the Western cuisine.

Friese Nagelkaas Friesian Clove is a notable example. The provinces of North Holland , South Holland , Zeeland , Utrecht and the Gelderlandic region of Betuwe are the parts of the Netherlands which make up the region in which western Dutch cuisine is found.

Because of the abundance of water and flat grass lands that are found here, the area is known for its many dairy products, which includes prominent cheeses such as Gouda , Leyden spiced cheese with cumin , Edam traditionally in small spheres as well as Leerdammer and Beemster , while the adjacent Zaanstreek in North Holland is since the 16th century known for its mayonnaise , typical whole-grain mustards [] and chocolate industry.

Zeeland and South Holland produce a lot of butter, which contains a larger amount of milkfat than most other European butter varieties.

A by-product of the butter-making process, karnemelk buttermilk , is also considered typical for this region. Kibbeling , once a local delicacy consisting of small chunks of battered white fish , has become a national fast food , just as lekkerbek.

Pastries in this area tend to be quite doughy, and often contain large amounts of sugar; either caramelised, powdered or crystallised.

The oliebol in its modern form and Zeeuwse bolus are good examples. Cookies are also produced in great number and tend to contain a lot of butter and sugar, like stroopwafel , as well as a filling of some kind, mostly almond, like gevulde koek.

The traditional alcoholic beverages of this region are beer strong pale lager and Jenever , a high proof juniper -flavored spirit, that came to be known in England as gin.

A noted exception within the traditional Dutch alcoholic landscape, Advocaat , a rich and creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy, is also native to this region.

It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetable dishes and is often called Burgundian which is a Dutch idiom invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages, renowned for its splendor and great feasts.

It is the only Dutch culinary region that developed an haute cuisine. Pastries are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits.

Savoury pastries also occur, with the worstenbroodje a roll with a sausage of ground beef , literally translates into sausage bread being the most popular.

The traditional alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands, ranging from Trappist to Kriek. Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is also used in cooking; often in stews.

In early , Oxfam ranked the Netherlands as the country with the most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food, in a comparison of countries. From the exploitations of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century, to the colonisations in the 19th century, Dutch imperial possessions continued to expand, reaching their greatest extent by establishing a hegemony of the Dutch East Indies in the early 20th century.

The Dutch East Indies, which later formed modern-day Indonesia, was one of the most valuable European colonies in the world and the most important one for the Netherlands.

In the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, the Netherlands urbanised considerably, mostly financed by corporate revenue from the Asian trade monopolies.

When the Dutch royal family was established in , much of its wealth came from Colonial trade. Afterward, they established ports in Dutch occupied Malabar , leading to Dutch settlements and trading posts in India.

However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore , during the Travancore-Dutch War.

The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India. Universities such as the Royal Leiden University , founded in the 16th century, have developed into leading knowledge centres for Southeast Asian and Indonesian studies.

Leiden University and in particular KITLV are educational and scientific institutions that to this day share both an intellectual and historical interest in Indonesian studies.

Other scientific institutions in the Netherlands include the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum , an anthropological museum with massive collections of Indonesian art, culture, ethnography and anthropology.

A specific segment of Dutch literature called Dutch Indies literature still exists and includes established authors, such as Louis Couperus , the writer of "The Hidden Force", taking the colonial era as an important source of inspiration.

The majority of Dutchmen that repatriated to the Netherlands after and during the Indonesian revolution are Indo Eurasian , native to the islands of the Dutch East Indies.

This relatively large Eurasian population had developed over a period of years and were classified by colonial law as belonging to the European legal community.

Including their second generation descendants, Indos are currently the largest foreign-born group in the Netherlands. Many Indonesian dishes and foodstuffs have become commonplace in the Netherlands.

Rijsttafel , a colonial culinary concept, and dishes such as Nasi goreng and satay are very popular in the Netherlands.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the constituent country. For the sovereign state, see Kingdom of the Netherlands.

For other uses, see Netherlands disambiguation. Not to be confused with the region of Holland , or the Low Countries. Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe.

West Frisian Papiamento English [d]. Limburgish Dutch Low Saxon [d]. Sikhism , Hinduism , Buddhism , Judaism. Terminology of the Low Countries. History of the Netherlands.

Bronze Age cultures in the Netherlands. Diachronic distribution of Celtic people from BC. Expansion into the southern Low Countries by BC.

Frankish Kingdom and Frisian Kingdom. History of urban centers in the Low Countries. The Low Countries in the late 14th century.

Dutch Republic and Evolution of the Dutch Empire. Geography of the Netherlands. Delta Works and Flood control in the Netherlands. Lisse , South Holland.

List of national parks of the Netherlands and List of extinct animals of the Netherlands. Bonaire , Saba , and Sint Eustatius.

Willem-Alexander King of the Netherlands since 30 April Political parties of the Netherlands and Politics of the Netherlands.

Government of the Netherlands. Foreign relations of the Netherlands and List of diplomatic missions of the Netherlands.

Armed forces of the Netherlands. Economy of the Netherlands. Transport in the Netherlands. Demographics of the Netherlands. Largest municipalities in the Netherlands Statistics Netherlands [].

Languages of the Netherlands. Religion in the Netherlands. Protestant Church in the Netherlands [l] Other Christian [m] 4. Education in the Netherlands and Universities in the Netherlands.

Healthcare in the Netherlands. Culture of the Netherlands. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh. Dutch art , Architecture of the Netherlands , and Dutch literature.

Dutch customs and etiquette. Music of the Netherlands and Music of the former Netherlands Antilles. Cinema of the Netherlands and Television in the Netherlands.

Sports in the Netherlands. Stroopwafels syrup waffles are a treat consisting of waffles with caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. Poffertjes are made in a special, so-called, poffertjespan.

The Gouda cheese market. Hutspot with klapstuk beef. Bitterballen are usually served with mustard. However, many people still tend to give their older affiliation even after the merger.

People who declared themselves simply as belonging to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands did not give an information about belonging to an older affiliation.

Retrieved 27 December Retrieved on 4 July Retrieved 17 October Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek. Retrieved 6 December Retrieved 4 December United Nations Development Programme.

Retrieved 11 January Archived from the original on 19 August Retrieved 15 August Chapter 2, Article Retrieved 3 July Wilhelmina had suffered two miscarriages and one stillbirth, raising the prospect of a succession crisis.

According to several sources Juliana was happy to be an only child because that meant she did not have to fight for attention.

A small school class was formed at Noordeinde Palace on the advice of the educator Jan Ligthart so that, from the age of six, the Princess could receive her primary education with children of her own age.

As the Dutch constitution specified that Princess Juliana should be ready to succeed to the throne by the age of eighteen, her education proceeded at a faster pace than that of most children.

After five years of primary education, the Princess received her secondary education to pre-university level from private tutors. On 30 April , Princess Juliana celebrated her eighteenth birthday.

Under the constitution, she had officially come of age and was entitled to assume the royal prerogative, if necessary. Two days later her mother installed her in the "Raad van State" "Council of State".

In the same year, the Princess enrolled as a student at the University of Leiden. In her first years at university, she attended lectures in sociology , jurisprudence , economics , history of religion , parliamentary history, and constitutional law.

In the course of her studies she also attended lectures on the cultures of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles , international affairs , international law , history, and European law.

In the s, Queen Wilhelmina began a search for a suitable husband for her daughter. At the time, the House of Orange-Nassau was one of the most strictly religious royal families in the world, and it was very difficult to find a Protestant prince who suited their standards.

Princes from the United Kingdom and Sweden were "vetted" but either declined or were rejected by the princess. The astute Queen Wilhelmina, by then the richest woman in the world, left nothing to chance.

Wilhelmina had her lawyers draw up a prenuptial agreement that specified exactly what the German-born prince could and could not do, and what money he would receive from the royal estate.

The wedding announcement divided a country that mistrusted Germany under Adolf Hitler. Prior to the wedding, on 24 November , Prince Bernhard was granted Dutch citizenship and changed the spelling of his names from German to Dutch.

Jacobskerk , likewise in The Hague. The young couple moved into Soestdijk Palace in Baarn. Their first child, Princess Beatrix , was born on 31 January , and their second, Princess Irene , on 5 August The princess remained there for a month before taking the children to Ottawa , the capital of Canada , where she resided at Stornoway in the suburb of Rockcliffe Park.

Her mother and husband remained in Britain with the Dutch government-in-exile. She returned with Queen Wilhelmina by a military transport plane to the liberated part of the Netherlands on 2 May , rushing to Breda to set up a temporary Dutch government.

Once home, she expressed her gratitude to Canada by sending the city of Ottawa , tulip bulbs. Princess Juliana of the Netherlands erected a wooden lectern and brass plaque which is dedicated in thanks to the St.

The following year , Juliana donated another 20, bulbs, with the request that a portion of these be planted at the grounds of the Ottawa Civic Hospital where she had given birth to Margriet.

Each year Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival in celebration of this gift. On 2 May , Princess Juliana was returned with her mother to Dutch soil.

Initially they lived in temporary quarters at Anneville just south of Breda. Juliana took part in the post-war relief operation for the people in the northern part of the country who had suffered through starvation during the Hunger Winter of —, which had taken the lives of many of her countrymen.

She was very active as the president of the Dutch Red Cross and worked closely with the National Reconstruction organization. Her down-to-earth manner endeared her to her people so much that a majority of the Dutch people would soon want Queen Wilhelmina to abdicate in favour of her daughter.

In the spring of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard visited the countries that had helped the Netherlands during the occupation. During her pregnancy with her last child, Marijke Christina , Princess Juliana contracted measles.

The girl was born in with cataracts in both eyes and was soon diagnosed as almost totally blind in one eye and severely limited in the other.

Despite her blindness, Christina, as she was called, was a happy and gifted child with a talent for languages and an ear for music. Over time, and with advances in medical technology, her eyesight did improve such that with thick glasses, she could attend school and even ride a bicycle.

However, before that happened, her mother, the Princess, clinging to any thread that offered some hope for a cure, came under the strong influence of Greet Hofmans , a faith healer with heterodox beliefs, who was considered by "her many detractors" to be a sham.

Juliana was forced to take over as regent from 14 October to 1 December Wilhelmina seriously considered abdicating in favour of Juliana at the end of , but Juliana urged her mother to stay on the throne so she could celebrate her diamond jubilee in However, Wilhelmina was forced to relinquish her royal duties to Juliana once again on 4 May The independence of Indonesia , which saw more than , Dutch troops stationed there as decolonization force, was regarded as an economic disaster for the Netherlands.

With the certain loss of the prized colony, the queen announced her intention to abdicate, doing so on 4 September Two days later, with the eyes of the world upon her, Juliana was sworn-in and inaugurated as monarch during a joint session of the States General at a ceremony held in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam , becoming the 12th member of the House of Orange to rule the Netherlands.

Over the next few years, the controversy surrounding the faith healer, at first kept out of the Dutch media, erupted into a national debate over the competency of the queen.

She often appeared in public dressed like any ordinary Dutch woman, and preferred to be addressed as " Mevrouw " Dutch for "Mrs.

She also began riding a bicycle for exercise and fresh air. Although the bicycle and the down-to-earth manners suggest a simple life style, the Dutch royal court of the s and s was still a splendid affair with chamberlains in magnificent uniforms, gilded state coaches, visits to towns in open carriages and lavish entertaining in the huge palaces.

At the same time the queen began visiting the citizens of the nearby towns and, unannounced, would drop in on social institutions and schools.

Her refreshingly straightforward manner and talk made her a powerful public speaker. On the international stage, Queen Juliana was particularly interested in the problems of developing countries, the refugee problem, [ which?

On the night of 31 January , the Netherlands was hit by the most destructive storm in more than five hundred years.

Thirty breaches of dunes and dikes occurred and many towns were swept away by twelve-foot storm surges. More than two thousand people drowned and tens of thousands were trapped by the floodwaters.

Dressed in boots and an old coat, Queen Juliana waded through water and slopped through deep mud all over the devastated areas to bring desperate people food and clothing.

Showing compassion and concern, reassuring the people, her tireless efforts would permanently endear her to the citizens of the Netherlands.

Prime Minister Willem Drees resolved the crisis. However, Juliana lost out to her powerful husband and his friends.

Prince Bernhard planned to divorce his wife but decided against it when he, as he told an American journalist, "found out that the woman still loved him".

She survived, however, thanks to the underlying devotion she had earned over the years. Another crisis developed as a result of the announcement in July of the engagement of Princess Beatrix, heir to the throne, to German diplomat Claus von Amsberg.

The future husband of the future queen had been a member of the Nazi Wehrmacht and the Hitler Youth movement. Many angry Dutch citizens demonstrated in the streets, and held rallies and marches against the "traitorous" affair.

After attempting to have the marriage cancelled, Queen Juliana acquiesced and the marriage took place under a continued storm of protest; an almost certain attitude pervaded the country that Princess Beatrix might be the last member of the House of Orange to ever reign in the Netherlands.

The queen was noted for her courtesy and kindness. According to Time magazine, Amsterdam newspaper de Volkskrant said: An event in April , helped by an improving Dutch economy, brought an overnight revitalization of the royal family; the first male heir to the Dutch throne in years, Willem-Alexander , was born to Princess Beatrix.

This time, the demonstrations in the street were of love and enthusiasm. In the spring of , a group of South Moluccans were caught conspiring to steal a heavy truck and ram the gates of Soestdijk Palace to kidnap the queen.

Ten members of the group were apprehended by the police in a vehicle full of firearms; [8] ten people were arrested. On 25 November , Suriname seceded from the Dutch Kingdom and became independent.

Representing the Queen at the independence ceremony in the Surinamese capital, Paramaribo , were the heir presumptive Princess Beatrix, and her husband Prince Claus.

The prince resigned his various high-profile positions as a lieutenant admiral , a general, and an Inspector General of the Armed Forces.

He resigned from his positions on the boards of many businesses, charities, the World Wildlife Fund , and other institutions.

The prince also accepted that he would have to give up wearing his beloved uniforms. In return, the States-General accepted that there was to be no criminal prosecution.

On her Silver Jubilee in , Queen Juliana donated all of the money that had been raised by the National Silver Jubilee Committee to organizations for children in need throughout the world.

She donated the gift from the nation which she received on her seventieth birthday to the " International Year of the Child ".

As a reigning European monarch, she was given supernumerary membership of the Order of the Garter as the nd inductee, with the rank of Stranger Lady, in On 30 April , her 71st birthday, Queen Juliana abdicated and her eldest daughter succeeded her.

Juliana did not appear in public after this time. Juliana died in her sleep on 20 March , several weeks before her 95th birthday, at Soestdijk Palace in Baarn from complications of pneumonia , seventy years to the day after her grandmother, Queen Emma.

The memorial service made her ecumenical and often highly personal views on matters of religion public. The late Princess, a vicar said in her sermon, was interested in all religions and in reincarnation.

In , an exhibition of portraits of Juliana, and objects from her life, was held at the Het Loo Palace to mark the centenary of her birth. Upon her abdication, she resumed her pre-regnal marital title and style.

Azure , billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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