The Kingdom of the Netherlands, [...] is a Benelux country and a founding member of the European Union. The Netherlands border Germany to the east and Belgium to the south. To the west, the country faces the North Sea and the United Kingdom. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to as "Dutch"
The Netherlands follows a policy of separating the market for illicit drugs. Cannabis is primarily purchased through coffee shops. Coffee shops offer no or few possibilities for purchasing illicit drugs other than cannabis. Thus The Netherlands achieve a separation of the soft drug market from the hard drugs market - and separation of the 'acceptable risk' drug user from the 'unacceptable risk' drug user.
In many countries, The Netherlands is often referred to as "Holland". This usage is technically incorrect, as "Holland" is actually a region in the central-western part of The Netherlands, divided into two provinces.
The country is host to the International Court of Justice; Amsterdam is the official capital as stated by the constitution, but The Hague (Den Haag) is the seat of government, the home of the monarch and the location for most foreign embassies.
The Dutch economy benefits from a traditional emphasis on the rule of law and an efficient legal framework. The judicial system, independent and free of corruption, provides strong protection for property rights. Openness to global trade and investment is well established, and the overall regulatory and entrepreneurial environment remains transparent and efficient. Sensible banking regulations facilitate robust entrepreneurial activity, and lending practices are prudent. Monetary stability is well maintained, and inflationary pressures have been under control.
Now a constitutional monarchy, the country began its independent life as a republic in the 16th century, when the foundations were laid for it to become one of the world's foremost maritime trading nations.
When asked, 91% of people in the Netherlands said they were satisfied with their life, much higher than the OECD average of 59%.
The greatest threat of flooding in the Netherlands has traditionally come from the sea. The Dutch have created vast sea defences and have successfully reclaimed land from the sea, reducing the risk from floods. More recently, rivers have been responsible for flooding in the Netherlands as people have increasingly built upon floodplain beside the river.
After centuries of foreign rules by the Romans, Franks, Burgunds, Habsburgs, and Spaniards in 1648 the Dutch Republic became a free and sovereign state. During the 17th century, also called the 'Golden Age', the Republic became increasingly prosperous and a major colonial power, thanks largely to the Dutch East India Company. [...] Today the Netherlands is a modern, industrialized nation and the third largest exporter of food. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EU, and participated in the introduction of the Euro in 1999.
It is a small country having the maximum dimensions of ~ 360 by 258 km, low and flat except for the Limburg provence, in South-East, where the highest hills reaches 322m. It has never been a secret that about 30 percent of the Netherlands is actually below sea level, making the Dutch dikes famous all around the world.
In the past the Dutch controlled a colonial empire smaller only than that of France and Britain, and today the gross national product of the Netherlands os among the highest in the world.
Active euthanasia is considered a criminal offense in the most countries o the world. The Netherlands exhibits the most permissive attitude in this sphere. Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been practiced and tolerated in the Netherlands over the past twenty years, even though it remained until the passing of the euthanasia law an illegal act...
The geographical location of the Netherlands had been the decisive factor in shaping its development, the character of its people, and its culture. The country is dominated by water, having three great rivers and its eastern coastline facing the North Sea. […] A large percentage of the land was created by the Dutch. At the same time, the sea and rivers have presented the Dutch with trading opportunities […] Through diligent trade abroad and careful management at home, this small country has achieved a world influence out of all proportion to its size and population.