NAC Breda simply known as NAC, is a Dutch professional football club, based in Breda, Netherlands. NAC Breda play in the Rat Verlegh Stadium, named after their most important player, Antoon'Rat' Verlegh, they are known by the fierce and fanatic support of their fans. In their history, NAC won one national title in 1921 and won one Cup in 1973. NAC was founded on 19 September 1912, when the two clubs NOAD merged to one club. NOAD is a Dutch abbreviation for Nooit Opgeven, Altijd Doorzetten, while ADVENDO is a Dutch abbreviation for Aangenaam Door Vermaak En Nuttig Door Ontspanning, the C stands for Combinatie; the full name of NAC Breda expands to Nooit opgeven altijd doorzetten, Aangenaam door vermaak en nuttig door ontspanning, Combinatie Breda. Early in 2003 NAC added, as a symbol of gratitude, Breda to their club name, after the City of Breda bought NAC's Rat Verleghstadium to help the club to cope with financial problems. In 2012 Stefaan Eskes succeeded Ed Busselaar and in August 2012 NAC Breda reinstated their first logo as the new club logo for the 2012–13 season.
NAC Breda was founded on September 1912 when the two clubs ADVENDO and NOAD merged to one club. During the new club's foundation meeting the atmosphere became tense, since NOAD wanted to name the new club NOAD; this name was not acceptable to ADVENDO and Frans Konert proposed to call the club NAC, accepted by the meeting's attendants. At first, the NVB refused to let NAC play association football, but on October 28 1912 allowed NAC to play in the 2nd Southern Division; the first years weren't that well for NAC, but when NAC moved to a new stadium ‘t Ploegske the results improved. NAC became one of the topteams in the highest Southern Division. In 1919 NAC became champion of this competition and was allowed to play the Dutch Champions’ Competition. During this competition NAC finished in the last place. In 1920, NAC was one of the first clubs to play international matches. NAC played a couple of friendly matches, including a match against Real Madrid CF. NAC won this match with 0–4 and the Spanish newspapers called NAC ‘Los muchacos del Breda, maestros del futbol’.
In 1921, NAC celebrated one of its greatest achievements. In the Dutch Championship competition, NAC defeated Be Quick 1887 and Go Ahead. NAC continued to play soccer on a high level and in the twenties and thirties NAC was considered to be one of the best clubs in Dutch football. During this period NAC won 6 Southern Division titles and the football was deemed technically perfect by press and public; because of this view, the NAC board decided to hire a professional trainer. Englishman Ben Affleck was hired as a coach and was a couple of months succeeded by James Moore; when Moore resigned, the NAC board issued a committee, who would select the best 11 NAC players to play a match. In 1931 Antoon Verlegh retired from football. Verlegh, nowadays a club icon for NAC, played for NAC since its foundation. In this year, NAC had a dispute with the City of Breda; the stadium's terrain ‘t Ploegske was zoned as a residential area and NAC had to leave these grounds. Because no other option was available in Breda, NAC were forced to move to the town Princenhage.
Within two months a complete new stadium, with a capacity of 5,500 people, was built and NAC left Breda. In 1935 NAC was the first club in the Netherlands to travel by airplane to an away match against GVAV. In 1939, NAC and the City of Breda reopened discussions; the city's council zoned a large piece of land at the Beatrixstraat as stadium area and NAC returned to Breda in 1940. Because of the breakout of the Second World War, NAC decided to play an important social function in Breda's community. In order to divert the people's attention from war, NAC organized sport events, theatre and horsing games. Although NAC remained to play football, several players were employed by the Germans in Germany. During the Second World War, youngster Kees Rijvers made his debut for NAC. After the Second World War, NAC played in the highest level. In 1949 Chairman of Honour C. J. Asselbergs died. Asselbergs was one of the people. In 1954 professional football was introduced in the Netherlands; the running competitions were postponed and new competitions were created.
NAC entered the 1A League and became champions of this league in 1955. In the championship competition NAC finished second place, behind their rivals Willem II Tilburg. On March 14, 1960 Breda was shocked to hear the death of Antoon ‘De Rat’ Verlegh. Verlegh, considered to be one of the important persons in Dutch football, died in a car accident on March 12. From NAC's foundation in 1912, Verlegh was involved in the club at numerous positions and played an important role with the Royal Dutch Football Association. In November 1961 NAC lost another important person. A year in August 1962, chairman Le Fevre died; the beginning of the sixties were not bright for NAC. In 1964–1965 NAC relegated for the first time in its exist
Football Club Groningen is a Dutch professional football club based in Groningen. The club plays in the highest football league of the Netherlands; the club was founded in 1971. Their home stadium was the Oosterpark Stadion from 1971 to 2005, while they play at the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadion; the stadium is more referred to with its former name, Euroborg. Their best result in the Eredivisie was third place in 1991 and 2006, their worst result in the Eredivisie was relegation to the Eerste Divisie in 1974 and 1998; the club won the KNVB Cup in the 2014–15 season. The origins of football in Groningen date back to 1887, when students of the city's gymnasium established the cricket and football club Be Quick. In 1895, Be Quick became a founder member of the first football league in the northern Netherlands; the league was named Tweede Klasse Noord. There was no First Northern Division, but the Dutch Football Association regarded the level of play in the northern league to be too low to be rewarded with First Division status.
This meant that the northern champion could not participate in the nationwide championship play-offs with the other Dutch regional champions. In 1897, the city of Groningen got its second football club with the foundation of Velocitas 1897, which became the labour-class rival of the elitist Be Quick. Be Quick and Velocitas remained the most successful football clubs in the city of Groningen until the mid-twentieth century, winning 26 northern championships between them. Football in Groningen received a boost during World War I, in which the Netherlands remained neutral. In 1914, about 1,400 soldiers from the British 63rd Division who were involved in the Siege of Antwerp were forced to flee across the border into the Netherlands when Antwerp was overrun by German troops; because of the neutral status of the Netherlands, the troops were disarmed and interned in an encampment in the city of Groningen for the duration of the war. The British military men baptized their encampment "Timbertown," which developed into a lively little city of its own.
Football was an important pastime for the British soldiers, who organized a league amongst themselves, but played numerous exhibition matches against local Dutch opposition and participated in Groningen's cup competitions, in which the British demonstrated a superior level of play. Local interest for these matches was high and aroused much enthusiasm for the game of football in Groningen. Several English military men went on to coach and play for Be Quick, most notably Arnold Birch and Harry Waites, which helped to raise the standard of the game in Groningen. In 1916, the northern league was rewarded with First Division status, in 1920 Be Quick went on to win the national title. In 1915, a couple of locals inspired by the English players established football club Unitas; when in 1917 Unitas joined the Groningen Football Association, the club was demanded to alter its name because there existed several other clubs in the country named Unitas. The team changed its name into GVAV. In 1921, GVAV merged with athletic club Rapiditas.
The new official club name became GVAV-Rapiditas, but the football team was just referred to as "GVAV." In 1926, GVAV promoted to the First Northern Division for the first time in its existence, remained at the highest northern level until the abolishment of the regional leagues in 1950. GVAV succeeded in winning the northern championship only once, in 1940. In 1935, GVAV moved from the "Stadspark" in the south side of the city, where it shared its accommodation with Velocitas, to the Oosterpark stadium in the newly built Oosterparkwijk, constructed to provide housing for the working class; the Oosterpark stadium would remain the home of GVAV, FC Groningen, until 2005. The regional leagues ceased to exist in 1950. A new professional nationwide league structure, consisting of three tiers was planned to commence in 1956. Results in the intervening seasons determined the make-up of these new divisions. In 1951, four Groningen clubs were active at First Division level. Five years GVAV was in the Eredivisie among the 18 best teams in the country, while Be Quick and Oosterparkers were ranked two tiers below in the 1956-57 Tweede Divisie.
At the introduction of professional football in the Dutch football leagues in 1954, Be Quick had suffered from internal division. Be Quick's long history and respected stature led to the club containing numerous outspoken and conservative factions. In addition, resistance against professionalism in general tended to be bigger at elitists clubs. Many Be Quick members opposed the plans of their club joining the professional leagues, among which most notably several players from the title winning squad of 1920. Be Quick did become professional, but because of internal strife it was not able to develop its full potential as a professional football club. No such obstacles existed at GVAV, were chairman Jan Hekman faced no internal resistance in his ambition to make GVAV the city's number one professional football team. Labour class teams Velocitas and Oosterparkers, at their turn, had insufficient financial backing to compete with GVAV in the professional leagues. Oosterparkers remained professional for three seasons, after which they voluntarily left the professional leagues and went back to amateurism.
RKC Waalwijk is a football club playing in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. Its name is derived from'Rooms Katholieke Combinatie' and was established as a merger of HEC, WVB and Hercules; the club was used to play its home games at Sportpark Olympia. Its new stadium, the 7500 seater Mandemakers Stadion was opened in 1996 and featured the home match against Roda JC. While considered one of the Eredivisie's smaller clubs, it maintained its top flight status for many years, its home colors are blue. At the end of the 2006–07 season, RKC Waalwijk were relegated from the Eredivisie after a defeat in play-offs against VVV-Venlo. On 3 June 2009 they were promoted to the Eredivisie division after a win in the play-offs against De Graafschap. Though, their spell didn't last long ending in the last place with only 15 points. In the season followed they would finish first in the Eerste Divisie promoting back in the top flight of Dutch football. After another relegation at the end of the 2013-14 season, RKC Waalwijk finished 20th in the 2014-15 season of Eerste Divisie.
However, they didn't relegate to Topklasse because both of the two Topklasse champions declined promotion into professionalism. In 2016-17, they made the Eerste Divisie playoffs. Below is a table with RKC's domestic results since the introduction of professional football in 1984. Group = group game 1R = first round 2R = second round 3R = third round 1/8 = 1/8 final As of 1 February 2019Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Eerste Divisie: 1987-88, 2010-11 Dutch football league teams Official website
SBV Vitesse known as Vitesse Arnhem, or as Vitesse, is a Dutch professional football club based in Arnhem. Established on 14 May 1892, Vitesse is the oldest professional football club in the Eredivisie; the club has enjoyed some success in the competition, has featured in the UEFA Cup competition and became the first Dutch football club to be owned by a foreigner when it was taken over by Georgian businessman Merab Zjordania in 2010. Since 1998, the club has played its home games at the GelreDome, their best result in the Eredivisie was third place in 1997–98. The club won the KNVB Cup in 2016–17. Throughout the years, Vitesse established itself as a stepping stone for future world class players like Willem Hesselink, Just Göbel, Roy Makaay, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Mahamadou Diarra, Philip Cocu, Nikos Machlas, Sander Westerveld, Raimond van der Gouw, Wilfried Bony, Marco van Ginkel and Nemanja Matić. Vitesse, founded in 1892, are the 2nd oldest professional football club still in existence in the Netherlands, after Sparta Rotterdam who were formed in 1888.
The roots of Vitesse pre-dated Sparta by a year as in 1887, a club with the name "Arnhemsche cricket- en voetbalvereeniging Vitesse" was formed by a group of high school students who played their sport on the Rijnkade, overlooking the River Rhine in the city centre. Reluctant to choose a Latin or English name for the club as they felt those languages were too elitist, they picked the French word Vitesse, meaning "speed". In 1891 the club disbanded as they were no longer able to find anywhere suitable to play cricket after a Velodrome was built on their usual playing field in the Klarenbeek Park; the following year a group of wealthy students resurrected the sports club, this time with the name AVC Vitesse. In the summer they in the winter football. In the end of 1892, Vitesse played its first real football match, in 1894 Vitesse disbanded the cricket branch. In 1895 and 1896 Vitesse became champions of the Gelderland competition. From the foundation of the Dutch national football championship in 1898 until 1954, the title was decided through play-offs by a handful of clubs who had won their regional league.
Vitesse lost the final of the national championship six times. In 1912, Vitesse reached the final of the Dutch Cup Tournament for the first time. Vitesse lost the final with 0–2 from HFC Haarlem. In this period Vitesse had top players, likes Willem Hesselink and Just Göbel; this players were active in the Dutch national team. In 1914 John William Sutcliffe became the first foreign trainer. During World War II, Vitesse didn't play-official matches because playing football in the open air was forbidden. During the Battle of Arnhem, the residents of the city were forcibly evicted from their homes, allowing the Germans to turn the north bank of the Rhine into a defended line. Residents were not allowed to return home without a permit and most did not return until after the war; the football field and clubhouse was destroyed. The damage was repaired in the years after the liberation. In 1984 it was decided to divide the amateur sections of the club; the professional section was renamed SBV Vitesse whilst the amateur section became "Vitesse 1892", which lasted until they disbanded in 2009.
From 1984, Karel Aalbers was the president of SBV Vitesse. Aalbers' goal was to bring Vitesse from the bottom of the Second League, the league in which the club originated, to the top 40 soccer clubs of Europe, he developed the basic idea for the'Gelredome', a stadium with a sliding pitch that can be moved out of the building. The same system was applied in Gelsenkirchen and in Japan. Events such as pop concerts can be held without damaging the grass. Gelredome opened in 1998, it has a roof that can be closed. It is climate controlled as well. In the first season after the opening, Gelredome's attendance rose to 20,000. Vitesse made their debut in European competition in 1990; the club won their first match in the first round 1–0 over Derry City. The club remained financially sound through making notable profits on the transfer market. Players such as Roy Makaay, Sander Westerveld, Nikos Machlas, Glenn Helder and Philip Cocu were sold for large sums of money. Others came to occupy empty player positions, such as Pierre van Hooijdonk.
Vitesse finished in top 4 positions, made profits and showed a solid balance sheet in the final years of Aalbers' presidency. The club became regular competitors in the UEFA Cup and in 1997–1998 finished third in the Eredivise, its record highest finish to date. Herbert Neumann was Vitesse's manager over most of these years, while star players included: Nikos Machlas, the first Vitesse player to win the European Golden Boot in 1998 when he scored 34 goals in a season. Additional stars included Dejan Čurović, who spent six years at Vitesse playing 109 matches as a striker, scoring 41 goals including the first goal in GelreDome. Meanwhile, Dutch forward Roy Makaay spent four years at Vitesse, scoring 42 goals in 109 matches between 1993 and 1997. Aalbers resigned on 15 February 2000, after the main sponsor, threatened to pull the plug if he did not. Nuon, as a public utility company owne
PEC Zwolle is a Dutch football club based in Zwolle playing in the Eredivisie, the country's highest level of professional club football. They have played in the Eredivisie for a total of 16 seasons, reaching sixth place in 2015, they won the KNVB Cup in 2014 and reached the final in 1928, 1977 and 2015. This is the second incarnation of the club; the current club was founded afterwards as FC Zwolle before renaming back to PEC Zwolle in 2012. PEC was founded on 12 June 1910, the name being an abbreviation of PH EDN Combinatie; the club was formed by a merger of Ende Desespereert Nimmer. PEC has been a professional football club since 23 February 1955; the club name was changed to PEC Zwolle in 1971 and to PEC Zwolle'82 in 1982. After the bankruptcy a new name was chosen for the new club: FC Zwolle. On 14 April 2012, after the promotion, the club name was changed back to PEC Zwolle. PEC was one of Zwolle's three top football clubs, along with Zwolsche Boys. ZAC was associated with the local high society, Zwolsche Boys were associated with the working class, while PEC was the club of the local middle class.
There was considerable rivalry between these three clubs between Zwolsche Boys and PEC. Not only were their stadiums on walking distance from each other, the clubs met each other in league matches. Despite this rivalry, PEC and Zwolsche Boys merged in 1969, taking the name PEC. In 1971, this became PEC Zwolle, in an attempt to promote the image of the city of Zwolle. In 1977, PEC Zwolle reached the finals of the KNVB Cup, losing to Twente in extra time, missed out on promotion to the Eredivisie by one point. In 1978, the club won the Dutch first division title and was promoted to the Eredivisie for the first time in its history. In its first season in the Eredivisie, the club finished eighth, which remained PEC Zwolle's highest league position until finishing sixth in 2014–15, their most impressive result that season was a 0–1 away victory at PSV. These results were achieved by a talented group of players bought from other clubs, such as Rinus Israël; the money for this came from the Slavenburg's bank, led by FC Zwolle chairman Jan Willem van der Wal.
By 1982, the club was on the verge of bankruptcy. Real estate developer Marten Eibrink took over power in PEC Zwolle in 1982, he managed to end the debt and restructured the club, epitomized by a change in the name: PEC Zwolle'82. He had the club's stadium renovated and decided to name the stadium's main stand the Johan Cruyff Stand, because Johan Cruyff had played his last official match against PEC Zwolle'82 on 13 May 1984. Eibrink brought legendary players like Johnny Rep and Cees van Kooten to the club; the club managed to revive. In 1985, PEC Zwolle'82 were relegated to the Dutch first division due to an injury-ridden main squad, they managed having finished in second place. That team was led by the player Foeke Booy. Eibrink, grew disappointed in sponsors and local authorities, accusing them of not loving the club in the way that he did, he left the club in 1988. Despite a promising start to the 1988–89 season, the club finished in 16th place, which meant that it was relegated to the First Division.
The financial crisis worsened. The players' wages could not be paid, a debt to the Slavenburg's bank appeared, overseen by the board for around ten years; this led to the club's bankruptcy in March 1990. After the bankruptcy, it was decided that the club had to sever all ties with the troubled finances of the past and make a fresh start; the club got a new name, a new organisational structure, new sponsors, new club colours and a new crest. The first years of the'new' club were hard, but after 1992–93, a new team filled with talents such as Jaap Stam, Bert Konterman, Johan Hansma and Henri van der Vegt played attractive and successful football. In 1992–93, FC Zwolle narrowly missed promotion to the Eredivisie. In the KNVB Cup, FC Zwolle reached the quarter-finals. After many failed attempts in the play-offs, FC Zwolle managed to secure a return to the Eredivisie by winning the First Division in 2002. In the 2002–03 Eredivisie season, the club finished in 16th place and escaped relegation via the play-offs.
A year they made a miserable start to the season, had scored only seven points halfway through the season. An impressive run, with victories over the likes of SC Heerenveen and AZ, proved in vain, as FC Zwolle dropped from a 16th place to the 18th place on the last day of the season, they lost 7–1 away at Feyenoord, while their rivals Vitesse and Volendam managed to beat their opponents Utrecht and RBC Roosendaal. At the beginning of the 2004–05 season, FC Zwolle was considered one of the favourites for the title in the First Division, along with Sparta Rotterdam. However, it was another club from the province of Heracles Almelo, that won the title. FC Zwolle finished the season in fourth place, had to play play-off matches against the second- and sixth-placed teams of the First Division and the 17th-placed team of
Feyenoord Rotterdam is a Dutch professional football club based in Rotterdam, that plays in the Eredivisie, the top tier in Dutch football. Founded as Wilhelmina in 1908, the club changed its name to SC Feijenoord in 1912, SC Feyenoord in 1974, Feyenoord Rotterdam in 1978, when SC Feyenoord became a separate amateur team. Since 1937, Feyenoord's home ground has been Stadion Feijenoord, nicknamed De Kuip. Feyenoord is one of the most successful clubs in the Netherlands, winning 15 Eredivisie titles, 13 KNVB Cups, 4 Johan Cruyff Shields. Internationally, it has won one European Cup, two UEFA Cups, one Intercontinental Cup; the club has played continuously in the top tier of the Dutch football system since gaining promotion to Eerste Klasse in 1921, more times than any other club in the country, including the likes of Ajax and PSV Eindhoven. Feyenoord is known as a people's club with a huge international support; the club's most successful period in history was the 1960s and'70s, when Coen Moulijn and Ove Kindvall led the club to six league titles, two European trophies, an Intercontinental Cup, thereby becoming the first Dutch club in history to win both the European Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.
In the 21st century, Feyenoord ended an 18-year league title drought in 2017 and won the 2002 UEFA Cup against Borussia Dortmund in its home stadium. Feyenoord has a longstanding rivalry with Ajax, a clash between two teams from the two biggest cities in the Netherlands, called De Klassieker; the club's anthem is "Hand in Hand". As of 2019, Feyenoord will become a multi-sports club; the football club Wilhelmina was founded in the pub De Vereeniging on 19 July 1908 and played in blue-sleeved red shirts and white shorts. Between 1908, 1910, 1911, 1912, the club underwent a series of changes of name and team colours, becoming Hillesluise Football Club in 1909, RVV Celeritas. Upon earning promotion to the National football association in 1912, the club renamed to SC Feijenoord, changed uniform once again, adopting the red and white shirts, black shorts and black socks that they still wear today. In 1918, Feijenoord were promoted to the highest level of Dutch football and moved to the ground Kromme Zandweg.
After 18 years, the formation of the club and a mere three years after they were promoted to the highest level of Dutch football Feijenoord earned their first honours by capturing the national league championship in 1924. The team enjoyed a string of successes in the latter half of the decade, taking divisional titles in 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929, winning their second national championship in 1928. Feijenoord won their first Dutch Cup in 1930 by scoring the only goal in a derby final against Excelsior, they continued to dominate their division with three consecutive titles, but were winless in subsequent championship finals. Five years after their first cup win, Feijenoord took the prize for a second time in 1935, by beating Helmond Sport. Feijenoord started to attract more fans to their stadium at Kromme Zandweg, in 1933, they decided to build a new facility; the club moved to the Feijenoord Stadion in 1937, playing the first match there on 27 March against Beerschot. During this period Feijenoord won three consecutive division titles from 1936 to 1938, with their third and fourth national championships coming in 1936 and 1938.
During World War II, Feijenoord played their matches at Sparta Rotterdam's Kasteel, as the Nazis had occupied De Kuip. When Het Kasteel was unavailable due to clashes with Sparta fixtures, Feijenoord played at their former ground, the Kromme Zandweg. Feijenoord's again won a division title with a national championship in 1940, their fifth Dutch title. During the German occupation of the Netherlands, play continued in Dutch football leagues, though the 1945 championship was cancelled as the war came to its conclusion. During this period, Feijenoord's only trophy was a divisional championship in 1943. After the war, Feijenoord did not perform as well as they had in previous decades, not challenging in their division and so missing the national playoff rounds. On 30 June 1954, the chairmen of the three biggest Rotterdam teams organised a meeting in Utrecht, attended by several chairmen of other clubs and a delegation of the KNVB to discuss the start of professional football in the Netherlands; the professional era commenced with the first Eredivisie season in 1954/1955.
Feijenoord were one of the clubs participating in the inaugural Eredivisie and have never been relegated. One of the most memorable matches in these first years of professional football was the clash between Feijenoord and the Volewijckers at 2 April 1956, which Feijenoord won 11–4, with nine goals by Henk Schouten. Feijenoord would grow an intense rivalry with Ajax. Matches between the two clubs were dubbed as de Klassieker; the first memorable Klassieker from a Feijenoord point of view took place at 11 November 1956, when Daan den Bleijker scored four times to give Feijenoord a 7–3 win over their archrivals. Feijenoord claimed their first professional Eredivisie Championship and their sixth Dutch Championship in 1961. On the road to the title Ajax was beaten 9–5 in De Kuip, four of Feijenoord's goals were scored by Henk Schouten; the following season, they played their first European Cup match facing IFK Göteborg. The Swedes were beaten 8 -- 2 in Rotterdam. Feijenoord were eliminated by Tottenham Hotspur in the following round.
In 1962, Feijenoord defended their Dutch Championship title and rea
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original