The Netherlands

Languages spoken in The Netherlands: Dutch.

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland and Frisian; Nederlân, singular) is one of the four autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Located mainly in northern Western Europe, the country is bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, the seat of government is The Hague.

The territory of the Netherlands includes, in addition to the twelve provinces of the European part, the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (including their respective tributary islands), which are special municipalities of the country. This construction has been in place since the dissolution of the country of Netherlands Antilles in 2010. Other Dutch Caribbean territories are not part of the country of the Netherlands, but are autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These are the countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

In German and English-speaking areas, as well as in the Netherlands itself, the name Holland is often used colloquially for the entire national territory instead of the official and correct name Netherlands. This name comes from the old county of Holland and actually refers only to the current provinces of North and South Holland. The Dutch tourist industry and other business consistently market the country as Holland (in both English and standard German). Dutch people who are not from the Holland region usually have a certain aversion to the term Holland for the Netherlands and Hollander for the Dutchman.

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Around a quarter of the country lies below sea level and is protected by around 3,000 km of dikes. The highest point in the Netherlands, at 877 metres, is Mount Scenery on the Caribbean island of Saba. The highest point of the mainland, the Vaalserberg (322.4m) in the extreme south, in the province of Limburg in the border triangle with Germany and Belgium,. Parts of the Netherlands, such as almost the entire province of Flevoland, were reclaimed from the sea by land reclamation.

In the Netherlands, bicycles (fiets) are widely used. Cyclists often have their own traffic lanes or a separate network of cycle paths at their disposal. With an average of 43 road deaths per million inhabitants per year, traffic in the Netherlands is the safest in the EU.

Together with Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands form the Benelux Union. The Netherlands is a founding member of the Coal and Steel Community of 1951, which evolved into several successors and the European Union (EU) in 1992.

Origin of the country’s name    

The country name "Netherlands" (in plural) results from history. For a long time, the Netherlands were part of the dominion of the Princely House of Habsburg, which had dominions on both the Upper and Lower Rhine. The former was called "the upper Rhineland" (Sundgau, Breisgau, Vorderösterreich), the latter "the lower Rhineland" (Holland, Flanders, Zeeland, etc.).

Over the centuries, the river designation was dropped, especially because the Habsburgs lost their Upper Rhine territories and so only the designation "Netherlands" remained, while linguistically there have been no Oberlande since then.

Translation agency for Dutch

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