Portal:Netherlands


Welcome to the Netherlands Portal!
Welkom bij het Nederlandportaal!

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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An Amsterdammertje is the typical red-brown steel bollard that is used to separate the sidewalk from the street in Amsterdam. Amsterdammertje means literally 'little one from Amsterdam' in Dutch. The bollards have the three Saint Andrew's Crosses from the coat of arms of Amsterdam.

Around 1800, more and more individual people in Amsterdam started to use bollards to protect the sidewalk in front of their houses. These bollards were made of metal (of old cannons), stone, or wood. In the late 19th century the first cast iron bollards were made. From 1915 onwards there was a standard bollard of 70 kg cast iron with three Saint Andrew's Crosses from the coat of arms of Amsterdam. This bollard already looked like the modern Amsterdammertje, although, amongst other differences, it was thinner and heavier.

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Credit: Rembrandt

The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq, commonly referred to as The Night Watch, is a 1642 oil painting by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Selected biography

Adriaen Cornelissen van der Donck was a lawyer and landowner in New Netherland after whose honorific Jonkheer the city of Yonkers, New York is named. In addition to being the first lawyer in the Dutch colony, he was a leader in the political life of New Amsterdam (modern New York City), and an activist for Dutch-style republican government in the Dutch West India Company-run trading post.

Enchanted by his new homeland of New Netherland, Van der Donck made detailed accounts of the land, vegetation, animals, waterways, topography, and climate. Van der Donck used this knowledge to actively promote immigration to the colony, publishing several tracts, including his influential Description of New Netherland. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Project, has called it "the fullest account of the province, its geography, the Indians who inhabited it, and its prospects…It has been said that had it not been written in Dutch, it would have gone down as one of the great works of American colonial literature."

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