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
Muslims are people who follow or practice Islam, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion. Muslims consider the Quran, their holy book, to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet and messenger Muhammad; the majority of Muslims follow the teachings and practices of Muhammad as recorded in traditional accounts. "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "submitter". The largest denomination of Islam are Sunni Muslims who constitute 85-90% of the total Muslim population, followed by the Shia who make up most of the remainder of Muslims; the beliefs of Muslims include: that God is eternal and one. The religious practices of Muslims are enumerated in the Five Pillars of Islam: the declaration of faith, daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. To become a Muslim and to convert to Islam, it is essential to utter the Shahada, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, a declaration of faith and trust that professes that there is only one God and that Muhammad is God's messenger.
It is a set statement recited in Arabic: lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāhu muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh "There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of God."In Sunni Islam, the shahada has two parts: la ilaha illa'llah, Muhammadun rasul Allah, which are sometimes referred to as the first shahada and the second shahada. The first statement of the shahada is known as the tahlīl. In Shia Islam, the shahada has a third part, a phrase concerning Ali, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam: وعليٌ وليُّ الله, which translates to "Ali is the wali of God; the word muslim is the active participle of the same verb of which islām is a verbal noun, based on the triliteral S-L-M "to be whole, intact". A female adherent is a muslima; the plural form in Arabic is muslimūn or muslimīn, its feminine equivalent is muslimāt. The ordinary word in English is "Muslim", it is sometimes transliterated as "Moslem", an older spelling. The word Mosalman is a common equivalent for Muslim used in South Asia.
Until at least the mid-1960s, many English-language writers used the term Mahometans. Although such terms were not intended to be pejorative, Muslims argue that the terms are offensive because they imply that Muslims worship Muhammad rather than God. Other obsolete terms include Muslimist. Musulmán/Mosalmán is modified from Arabic, it is the origin of the Spanish word musulmán, the German Muselmann, the French word musulman, the Polish words muzułmanin and muzułmański, the Portuguese word muçulmano, the Italian word mussulmano or musulmano, the Romanian word musulman and the Greek word μουσουλμάνος. In English it has become archaic in usage. Apart from Persian, Polish, Portuguese and Greek, the term could be found, with obvious local differences, in Armenian, Pashto, Hindi, Marathi, Turkish, Uzbek, Azeri, Hungarian, Bosnian, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian and Sanskrit; the Muslim philosopher Ibn Arabi said: A Muslim is a person who has dedicated his worship to God... Islam means making one's religion and faith God's alone.
The Qur'an describes many prophets and messengers within Judaism and Christianity, their respective followers, as Muslim: Adam, Abraham, Jacob and Jesus and his apostles are all considered to be Muslims in the Qur'an. The Qur'an states that these men were Muslims because they submitted to God, preached His message and upheld His values, which included praying, charity and pilgrimage. Thus, in Surah 3:52 of the Qur'an, Jesus' disciples tell him, "We believe in God. In Muslim belief, before the Qur'an, God had given the Tawrat to Moses, the Zabur to David and the Injil to Jesus, who are all considered important Muslim prophets; the most populous Muslim-majority country is Indonesia, home to 12.7% of the world's Muslims, followed by Pakistan and Egypt. About 20 % of the world's Muslims lives in the Middle North Africa. Sizable minorities are found in India, Russia, the Americas and parts of Europe; the country with the highest proportion of self-described Muslims as a proportion of its total population is Morocco.
Converts and immigrant communities are found in every part of the world. Over 75–90% of Muslims are Sunni; the second and third largest sects and Ahmadiyya, make up 10–20%, 1% respectively. With about 1.8 billion followers a quarter of earth's population, Islam is the second-largest and the fastest-growing religion in the world. Due to the young age and high fertilit
Espresso is coffee of Italian origin, brewed by expressing or forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Espresso is thicker than coffee brewed by other methods, has a higher concentration of suspended and dissolved solids, has crema on top; as a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a typical cup of espresso are concentrated. Espresso is the base for other drinks such as a caffè latte, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white, or caffè Americano. Espresso has more caffeine per unit volume than most coffee beverages, but because the usual serving size is much smaller, the total caffeine content is less than a mug of standard brewed coffee, contrary to a common belief. Although the actual caffeine content of any coffee drink varies by size, bean origin, roast method and other factors, a typical serving of espresso contains 120 to 170 milligrams of caffeine whereas a typical serving of drip coffee contains 150 to 200mg.
Espresso is made by forcing hot water under high pressure through finely ground compacted coffee. Tamping down the coffee promotes the water's penetration through the grounds; this process produces an syrupy beverage by extracting both solid and dissolved components. The crema is produced by emulsifying the oils in the ground coffee into a colloid, which does not occur in other brewing methods. There is no universal standard defining the process of extracting espresso, but there are several published definitions which attempt to place constraints on the amount and type of ground coffee used, the temperature and pressure of the water, the rate of extraction. One uses an espresso machine to make espresso; the act of producing a shot of espresso is termed "pulling" a shot, originating from lever espresso machines, which require pulling down a handle attached to a spring-loaded piston, forcing hot water through the coffee at high pressure. Today, however, it is more common for the pressure to be generated by an electric pump.
The technical parameters outlined by the Italian Espresso National Institute for making a "certified Italian espresso" are: Espresso is both a coffee beverage and a brewing method. It is not bean blend, or roast level. Any bean or roasting level can be used to produce authentic espresso. For example, in southern Italy, a darker roast is preferred. Farther north, the trend moves toward lighter roasts, while outside Italy a wide range is popular. Angelo Moriondo, from Turin, patented a steam-driven "instantaneous" coffee beverage making device in 1884; the device is "almost the first Italian bar machine that controlled the supply of steam and water separately through the coffee" and Moriondo is "certainly one of the earliest discoverers of the expresso machine, if not the earliest". Unlike true espresso machines, it brewed in bulk, not as individual servings. Seventeen years in 1901, Luigi Bezzera, from Milan, came up with a number of improvements to the espresso machine, he patented a number of these, the first of, applied for on 19 December 1901.
It was titled "Innovations in the machinery to prepare and serve coffee beverage". In 1903, the patent was bought by Desiderio Pavoni, who founded the La Pavoni company and began to produce the machine industrially in a small workshop in Via Parini in Milan; the popularity of espresso developed in various ways. In Italy, the rise of espresso consumption was associated with urbanization, espresso bars providing a place for socializing. Further, coffee prices were controlled by local authorities, provided the coffee was consumed standing up, encouraging the "stand at a bar" culture. In the English-speaking world, espresso became popular in the form of cappuccino, owing to the tradition of drinking coffee with milk and the exotic appeal of the foam; the latte is claimed to have been invented in the 1950s by Italian American Lino Meiorin of Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California, as a long cappuccino, was popularized in Seattle, nationally and internationally by Seattle-based Starbucks in the late 1980s and 1990s.
In the United Kingdom, espresso grew in popularity among youth in the 1950s, who felt more welcome in the coffee shops than in public houses. Espresso was popular within the Italian diaspora, growing in popularity with tourism to Italy exposing others to espresso, as developed by Eiscafès established by Italians in Germany. Expatriate Italian espresso bars were downmarket venues, serving the working-class Italian diaspora and thus providing appeal to the alternative subculture; as specialty coffee developed in the 1980s, an indigenous artisanal coffee culture developed, with espresso instead positioned as an upmarket drink. In the 2010s, coffee culture commentators distinguish large-chain mid-market coffee as "Second Wave Coffee", upmarket artisanal coffee as "Third Wave Coffee". In the Middle East and Asia, espresso is growing in popularity, with the opening of Western coffee-shop chains. Home espresso machines have increased in popularity with the general rise of interest in espresso. Today, a wide range
Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language and history, sometimes involving neighbouring countries; the demonym associated with Flanders is Fleming. The official capital of Flanders is Brussels, although the Brussels Capital Region has an independent regional government, the government of Flanders only oversees the community aspects of Flanders life in Brussels such as culture and education. Flanders, despite not being the biggest part of Belgium by area, is the area with the largest population. 7,876,873 out of 11,491,346 Belgian inhabitants live in the bilingual city of Brussels. Not including Brussels, there are five modern Flemish provinces. In medieval contexts, the original "County of Flanders" stretched around AD 900 from the Strait of Dover to the Scheldt estuary and expanded from there; this county still corresponds with the modern-day Belgian provinces of West Flanders and East Flanders, along with neighbouring parts of France and the Netherlands.
Although this original meaning is still relevant, during the 19th and 20th centuries it became commonplace to use the term "Flanders" to refer to the entire Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, stretching all the way to the River Meuse, as well as cultural movements such as Flemish art. In accordance with late 20th century Belgian state reforms the Belgian part of this area was made into two political entities: the "Flemish Community" and the "Flemish Region"; these entities were merged, although geographically the Flemish Community, which has a broader cultural mandate, covers Brussels, whereas the Flemish Region does not. Flanders, by every definition, has figured prominently in European history since the Middle Ages. In this period, cities such as Ghent and Antwerp made it one of the richest and most urbanized parts of Europe and weaving the wool of neighbouring lands into cloth for both domestic use and export; as a consequence, a sophisticated culture developed, with impressive achievements in the arts and architecture, rivaling those of northern Italy.
Belgium was one of the centres of the 19th century industrial revolution but Flanders was at first overtaken by French-speaking Wallonia. In the second half of the 20th century, due to massive national investments in port infrastructures, Flanders' economy modernised and today Flanders and Brussels are more wealthy than Wallonia and in general one of the wealthiest regions in Europe and the world. Geographically, Flanders is flat, has a small section of coast on the North Sea. Much of Flanders is agriculturally fertile and densely populated, with a population density of 500 people per square kilometer, it touches France to the west near the coast, borders the Netherlands to the north and east, Wallonia to the south. The Brussels Capital Region is an bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. Flanders has exclaves of its own: Voeren in the east is between Wallonia and the Netherlands and Baarle-Hertog in the north consists of 22 exclaves surrounded by the Netherlands; the term "Flanders" has several main modern meanings: The "Flemish community" or "Flemish nation", i.e. the social and linguistic, scientific and educational and political community of the Flemings.
It comprises 6.5 million Belgians. The political subdivisions of Belgium: the Flemish Region and the Flemish Community; the first does not comprise Brussels, whereas the latter does comprise the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Brussels. The political institutions that govern both subdivisions: the operative body "Flemish Government" and the legislative organ "Flemish Parliament"; the two westernmost provinces of the Flemish Region, West Flanders and East Flanders, forming the central portion of the historic County of Flanders. An ancien régime territory that existed from the 8th century until its absorption by the French First Republic; until the 1600s, this county extended over parts of what are now France and the Netherlands. One of the Flemish regions which are now part of France, in the Nord department; this is referred to as French Flanders, can be divided into two smaller regions: Walloon Flanders and Maritime Flanders. The first region was predominantly French-speaking in the 1600s, the latter became so in the 20th century.
The city of Lille identifies itself as "Flemish", this is reflected, for instance, in the name of its local railway station TGV Lille Flandres. The Flemish region which became part of the Dutch Republic, now part of the Dutch province of Zeeland; the significance of the County of Flanders and its counts eroded through time, but the designation remained in a broad sense. In the Early modern period, the term Flanders was associated with the southern part of the Low Countries: the Southern Netherlands. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it became commonplace to refer to the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium as "Flanders"; the linguistic limit between French and Dutch was recorded in the early'60's, from Kortrijk to Maastricht. Now, Flanders extends over the northern part of Belgium, including Belgian Limburg (corresponding to t
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Rotterdam is the second-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea, its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland. A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest port, it has a population of 633,471. Rotterdam is known for its Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life and maritime heritage; the near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers designed by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel. The Rhine and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the industrialized Ruhr; the extensive distribution system including rail and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".
The settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte dates from at least 900 CE. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams, including Schielands Hoge Zeedijk along the northern banks of the present-day Nieuwe Maas. A dam on the Rotte was located at the present-day Hoogstraat. On 7 July 1340, Count Willem IV of Holland granted city rights to Rotterdam, whose population was only a few thousand. Around the year 1350, a shipping canal, the Rotterdamse Schie was completed, which provided Rotterdam access to the larger towns in the north, allowing it to become a local trans-shipment centre between the Netherlands and Germany, to urbanize; the port of Rotterdam grew but into a port of importance, becoming the seat of one of the six "chambers" of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company. The greatest spurt of growth, both in port activity and population, followed the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg in 1872.
The city and harbor started to expand on the south bank of the river. The Witte Huis or White House skyscraper, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the French Château-style, is evidence of Rotterdam's rapid growth and success; when completed, it was the tallest office building in Europe, with a height of 45 m. During World War I the city was the world's largest spy centre because of Dutch neutrality and its strategic location in between Great-Britain and German-occupied Belgium. Many spies who were arrested and executed in Britain were led by German secret agents operating from Rotterdam. MI6 had its main European office on de Boompjes. From there the British occupied Belgium. During World War I, an average of 25,000 Belgian refugees lived in the city, as well as hundreds of German deserters and escaped Allied prisoners of war. During World War II, the German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Adolf Hitler had hoped to conquer the country in just one day, but his forces met unexpectedly fierce resistance.
The Dutch army was forced to capitulate on 15 May 1940, following the bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May and the threat of bombing of other Dutch cities. The heart of Rotterdam was completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe; some 80,000 civilians were made homeless and 900 were killed. The City Hall survived the bombing. Ossip Zadkine attempted to capture the event with his statue De Verwoeste Stad; the statue stands near the Leuvehaven, not far from the Erasmusbrug in the centre of the city, on the north shore of the river Nieuwe Maas. Rotterdam was rebuilt from the 1950s through to the 1970s, it remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more'livable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre. Rotterdam was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism.
A Guardian profile of Rem Koolhaas begins "If you put the last 50 years of architecture in a blender, spat it out in building-sized chunks across the skyline, you would end up with something that looked a bit like Rotterdam."'Rotterdam' is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river Nieuwe Maas, connected by: the Beneluxtunnel. The former railway lift bridge De Hef is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland and the south of Rotterdam; the city centre is located on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Maas, although recent urban development has extended the centre to parts of southern Rotterdam known as De Kop van Zuid. From its inland core, Rotterdam reaches the North Sea by a swathe of predominantly harbour area. Built behind di