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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.

Selected article

Design 1047 was a series of plans for a class of Dutch battlecruisers prior to the Second World War. The ships were intended to counter a perceived threat posed by Imperial Japanese aggression to the Dutch's colonies in the East Indies. Dutch intelligence believed that the Imperial Japanese Navy would deploy its capital ships (aircraft carriers and battleships) against their counterparts of the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy, leaving heavy and light cruisers as the largest ships available for an advance into the East Indies. As such, the 1047s were shaped by the need to be able to fight their way though an escort screen composed of cruisers and destroyers. It was hoped that they would be able to act as a fleet in being capable of delaying, altering, or ending plans for an invasion of the East Indies because they would be able to deal a severe blow to an assembled invasion force.

After a recommendation from high-ranking Dutch naval officers that the Koninklijke Marine be bolstered so any attacker would have to "use such a large part of his military potential that there would be an unacceptable weakening of his capabilities in other theaters", the Minister of Defense ordered the Navy to prepare designs for a two or three-member class of battlecruisers. A preliminary plan by Dutch designers was completed on 11 July 1939, but as they had not previously designed a modern capital ship the design was missing many of the post-First World War advances in warship technology; in particular, the armor protection was totally outmoded. As the only information available on modern designs came from public literature and editions of Jane's Fighting Ships, the Dutch turned to Germany, which agreed to release plans and drawings based upon their Scharnhorst class in return for a guarantee that all needed equipment would be ordered from German firms. With this assistance a final design was completed by February 1940, but a visit to Italy prompted a rethink of the internal subdivision within the ships to incorporate a rough Pugliese system. This led to a set of drawings dated 19 April 1940, which are the last known design produced prior to Germany's invasion and occupation of the Netherlands.

Selected picture

Lights along the fire line of Rotterdam
Credit: Commons user Trebaxus

Lights were lit along the fire line of Rotterdam on May 14, 2007 to commemorate the Rotterdam Blitz, where Nazi Germany bombed the city as part of Case Yellow. Over ninety tonnes of bombs were dropped over the city, mainly in the heart, and around 1 square mile (2.6 km2) of the city was razed, killing over eight hundred people.

Selected biography

Portrait of William III wearing the Great George
William III was the Prince of Orange from his birth, Stadtholder of the main provinces of the Dutch Republic from 28 June 1672, King of England and King of Ireland from 13 February 1689, and King of Scots (under the name William II) from 11 April 1689, until his death.

Born a member of the House of Orange-Nassau, William III won the English, Scottish and Irish Crowns following the Glorious Revolution, during which his uncle and father-in-law, the Catholic James II (VII in Scotland)), was deposed. In England, Scotland and Ireland, William ruled jointly with his wife, Mary II, until her death on 28 December 1694. He reigned as 'William II' in Scotland, but 'William III' in England and Ireland. Often he is referred to as William of Orange, a name he shared with many other historical figures. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, he is often informally known as "King Billy".

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