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Dutch speaking
Language Dutch
Capital Amsterdam
Other main city The Hague
Area (km2) 41,526
Population 15,892,000
Currency Euro
History of Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is part of the Benelux or 'Low Countries' (about half of the country's area is below sea level), along with Luxembourg and Belgium.

It is also unofficially known as Holland and comprises the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean as well as it's European homeland. Most of the inhabitants are descendants of Franks and Saxons and speak Dutch, but the Frisians retain a distinct culture and language.

Historically, the region was dominated by Charlemagne, Burgundy, the Hapsburgs and Spain. Dutch independence in the form of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was recognised by Spain in 1648.

The colonial expansion of the Netherlands was lead by the actions of the Dutch East India company in the 17th Century. In 1688 the Netherlands and England were united under a single royal family, William of Orange and Mary Stuart, and both nations waged war on France.

The state came into being in 1815 as a composite of what are now Belgium and the Netherlands when their ruler Napoleon was defeated. Belgium became a separate nation in 1830. Though a neutral power in both World Wars, this did not stop invasion by the Nazis in 1940.

Loss of Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) to Japan, another Axis power, marked the start of a decline in Dutch colonial possessions. Immigration from the Mediterranean and former Dutch dependencies and colonies was high in the latter half of the 20th Century.

The process of reclamation of land through dykes has continued in recent years.

Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Dutch History
Dutch Speaking
» Netherlands
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