The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with some islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. It is a parliamentary democracy organised as a unitary state. The country capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as Holland, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces.
The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 25% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one metre above sea level. This distinct feature contributes to the country’s name, its name literally means “(The) Low Countries”. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made, caused by centuries of extensive and poorly controlled peat extraction, lowering the surface by several meters. Even in flooded areas peat extraction continued through turf dredging. As from the late 16th century land reclamation started and large polder areas are now preserved through elaborate drainage systems with dikes, canals and pumping stations. Much of The Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important European rivers, which together with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far south-east and several low-hill ranges in the central parts.
The Netherlands was one of the first countries to have an elected parliament. Among other affiliations, the country is a founding member of the EU, NATO, OECD and WTO. Netherlands has the ninth-highest per capita income in the world. With Belgium and Luxembourg it forms the Benelux economic union. The country is host to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The first four are situated in The Hague as is the EU’s criminal intelligence agency Europol and judicial co-operation agency Eurojust. This has led to the city being dubbed “the world’s legal capital”.
Alkmaar is famous for its traditional cheese market from April until early September. The oldest part of Alkmaar, with 400 monuments, lies on an ancient sand bank that gave some protection from the sea during medieval times. [Mehr dazu]
Almere is one of the youngest cities in the Netherlands. The first house was finished in 1976. It is the largest municipality in Flevoland, and the 8th largest in the Netherlands. In October 2007, the city council of Almere made agreements with the… [Mehr dazu]
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. Its name is derived from Amstellerdam, indicative of the city’s origin: a dam in the Amstel River. Settled as a small fishing village… [Mehr dazu]
Bergen op Zoom is a city located in the south of the Netherlands. It was granted city status probably in 1212. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a… [Mehr dazu]
Delft, in the province of Zuid-Holland, is located in between Rotterdam and The Hague. It is primarily known for its typically Dutch town centre with canals, the painter Vermeer, the Delft Blue Pottery, the Delft University of Technology, and its… [Mehr dazu]
Enkhuizen, in the region of West-Frisia, was one of the harbour-towns of the VOC, just like Hoorn and Amsterdam, from where overseas trade with the East Indies was conducted. It received city rights in 1355. In the mid-17th century, Enkhuizen was… [Mehr dazu]
Gouda is famous for its cheese and cheese market held on the square around the Stadhuis. The cheese is not made in the city itself but in the surrounding region and gets its name from being traded in Gouda where the city council provided a serious… [Mehr dazu]
Groningen is the capital city of the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. With a population of around 188,000, it is by far the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a university city, inhabited on average by about 50,000… [Mehr dazu]
Haarlem, in the past usually Harlem in English, is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Netherlands. Haarlem lies in the northern part of… [Mehr dazu]
The De Haar Castle (Kasteel de Haar) in Haarzuilens was built from 1892 till 1912 largely incorporating the 15th century ruins of the original castle. Founded in the 14th century on sediment deposits along a blind arm of the Rhine River, it was… [Mehr dazu]
The Castle Heeswijk (Kasteel Heeswijk) is a water citadel between s-Hertogenbosch and Eindhoven. It dates back to year 1080 and was gradually replaced by a large castle throughout the Middle Ages. [Mehr dazu]
Hilversum, located in the region called “Het Gooi”, 30 km south-east of Amsterdam and 20 km north of Utrecht, is the largest town in that area. It is surrounded by heathland, woods, meadows, lakes, and smaller villages. Hilversum is part of the… [Mehr dazu]
Castle Hoensbroek or Gebrookhoes (Castle Gebrook) is one of the largest castles in the Netherlands. It is situated in Hoensbroek, a town in the province of Limburg. This imposing water-castle is known as the lordliest stronghold between Rhine and… [Mehr dazu]
Katwijk aan Zee is a seaside resort located on the North Sea at the mouth of the Oude Rijn. The name “Katwijk” probably has its origins in the name of a Germanic tribe called the Chatten (Chatti). The Dutch word “wijk” means “area”, so the name… [Mehr dazu]
Kinderdijk, in the province South Holland, is located about 15 km east of Rotterdam and situated in a polder at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is… [Mehr dazu]
Leiden is a city in the Dutch province of South Holland, located on the Old Rhine, in a distance of some 20 km from The Hague in its south and some 40 km from Amsterdam in its north. A university town since 1575, Leiden houses Leiden University and… [Mehr dazu]