The Netherlands


Constitutional monarchy in northwestern Europe, bordered by the North Sea to the west and north, Germany to the east, and Belgium to the south. Amsterdam is the constitutional capital, and The Hague is the seat of the government. The Netherlands are also popularly known as Holland, after a region of the country.

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notes for The Netherlands

Half of the country lies below sea level. Much of this land has been reclaimed from the North Sea and is protected by dikes and irrigated by an intricate system of canals.

notes for The Netherlands

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, The Netherlands established a powerful commercial and colonial empire. The Dutch Empire included the settlement of New Amsterdam, which later became New York, and the conquest of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

notes for The Netherlands

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries also saw a flowering of Dutch painting by masters such as Rembrandt.

notes for The Netherlands

During World War II, Germany invaded and occupied The Netherlands, exterminating most Dutch Jews (see also Jews). (See Anne Frank.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.