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Portal:Netherlands

Welcome to the Netherlands Portal!
Welkom bij het Nederlandportaal!

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Location of the Netherlands within Europe

The Netherlands is one of four constituent countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch, located in northwestern Europe. It borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east.
Since 2010, the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius have become part of the country of the Netherlands, whereas Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are considered separate countries within the Kingdom, however only the Kingdom functions internationally as a sovereign state.

Although the Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, this use is strictly incorrect, as Holland is a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands, consisting of only two of the country's twelve provinces. The country's constitutional capital is Amsterdam, but the seat of government is in The Hague. The Hague also locates most international embassies, as well as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

The Netherlands is a very densely populated and geographically one of the most low-lying countries in the world (its name literally means "Low lands") that is popularly famous for, among other things, its dikes and canals, windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, bicycles and social tolerance. Its liberal policies, for instance regarding drugs, homosexuality or prostitution receive international attention.
As of 2014 the country ranks fourth in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index, or third on the inequality-adjusted H.D.I.. The Netherlands also ranked as the fourth happiest country in the world in the U.N.'s 2013 World Happiness Report, reflecting its high quality of life.

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

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Oude Rijn canal in Leiden
Credit: Dutch Wikipedia user Erik Zachte

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

Selected biography

Ellen van Dijk
Eleonora "Ellen" van Dijk is a Dutch professional road and track racing cyclist. Van Dijk is a time trial specialist and became 2008 World Track Champion in the scratch race and 2012 Road World Champion in team time trial.

Van Dijk started as a speed skater and undertook cycling as part of cross-training in summer. She excelled at both, competing nationally at junior level. After becoming a national cycling champion for the fifth time in 2007, she quit speed skating and became a full-time cyclist. Along with her world title successes, Van Dijk has also twice been European track champion, twice European time trial champion and has won five world cup races. In 2012 she competed in three disciplines at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she helped Marianne Vos win the gold medal in the road race, finished eighth in the time trial and sixth in the team pursuit.

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