Alkmaar is a city and municipality in the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination; the earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th-century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254; the oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from inundation during medieval times. So, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence. Older spellings include Alckmar. In 1573 the city underwent a siege by Spanish forces under the leadership of Don Fadrique, son of the Duke of Alva; the citizens sent urgent messages for help to the Prince of Orange. Some of his dispatches fell into the hands of Don Fadrique, with the waters beginning to rise, the Spaniards raised the siege and fled, it was a turning point in the Eighty Years War and gave rise to the expression Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie.
The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on 8 October, the day. In 1799, during the French Revolutionary Wars, an Anglo-Russian expeditionary force captured the city but was defeated in the Battle of Castricum. After that battle, on 18 October 1799, the two opposing sides held the Convention of Alkmaar which met to determine the fate of the defeated Anglo-Russian force; the French victory was commemorated on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as "Alkmaer". The North Holland Canal, opened in 1824, was dug through Alkmaar. In 1865 and 1867 the railways between Alkmaar and Den Helder and between Alkmaar and Haarlem were built respectively. In the second half of the 20th century, Alkmaar expanded with development of new neighbourhoods. On 1 October 1972, the town of Oudorp and the southern portions of Koedijk and Sint Pancras were added to the municipality of Alkmaar; the municipality of Alkmaar consists of the following cities, towns and districts: Alkmaar, Daalmeer, De Hoef, De Horn, De Nollen, Het Rak, Koedijk, Overdie and Omval.
On 1 January 2015 the municipalities of Graft-De Schermer were merged into Alkmaar. The historical village of De Rijp is thus since a part of Alkmaar; these once separate villages are now all linked together by the suburban sprawl of buildings that arose between the late 1970s and early 1990s. During this time, the population of Alkmaar doubled; the municipal council of Alkmaar consists of 39 seats, which are divided as follows after the 2018 elections: PvdA – 4 seats OPA – 6 seats CDA – 4 seats VVD – 6 seats GroenLinks – 6 seats Leefbaar Alkmaar – 2 seats D66 – 4 seats BAS – 2 seats Senior's Party of Alkmaar – 2 seats ChristenUnie - 1 seat Partij voor de Dieren - 2 seats The A9 motorway runs from Amsterdam to Alkmaar continues on to Den Helder as the N9. There are direct trains to Den Helder, Zaandam, Utrecht, Arnhem, Nijmegen,'s-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven and Haarlem. For exact details see Alkmaar railway station. Alkmaar has two railway stations: Alkmaar Alkmaar NoordThe waterway Noordhollandsch Kanaal, which opened in 1824, runs through Alkmaar.
As of 2017. It can be crossed Koedijkervlotbrug and Rekervlotbrug. Alkmaar has many medieval buildings that are still intact, most notably the tall tower of the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, where many people from Alkmaar hold their wedding ceremony; the other main attraction in the summer months, is Alkmaar's cheese market at the Waagplein, one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. The cheese market traditionally takes place on the first Friday in April and the last market of the season is the first Friday in September; every Friday morning the Waagplein is the backdrop for this traditional cheese market. After the old-fashioned way of the hand clap and carriers will weigh the cheeses, it is one of only four traditional Dutch cheese markets still in existence. The traditional fare of this cheese market is those cheeses made in the local area, as opposed to the well-known brands of Dutch cheeses, including the Edam and Gouda cheeses, it is not possible to buy cheese at the market itself, only a demonstration of how this merchants' market operated in times gone by.
However, the demonstration, which takes place in front of the medieval weighing house, is surrounded by many specialized stalls where it is possible to buy all kinds of cheese related products. The Waag is home to the local tourist office and a cheese museum. Alkmaar has 399 registered rijksmonuments. Alkmaar has a big cinema. A red light district is situated at the Achterdam, Alkmaar has a nightlife scene as well which takes place in the pubs in front of the cheesemarket; every year, at the end of May Alkmaar hosts the four-day event Alkmaar Pride, which has a canal pride parade on Saturday. Beatles Museum – dedicated to The Beatles, as John Lennon's first guitar was made in Alkmaar Holland Cheese Museum – located in the historic weigh house National Beer Museum "De Boom" Op ArtMuseum City Museum Alkmaar – for history of the city Alkmaar is home to the professional football team AZ. In 2006, the club moved to a new 17,000 capacity stadium, the DSB Stadion, now named the AFAS St
The Olympic Oval in Calgary, Canada, is a covered speed skating oval. Located on the University of Calgary campus, it is the official designated training center for Speed Skate Canada and the Canadian National Speed Skating team. In 2012, it commemorated its 25th year of public service with a number of exciting activities and celebrations; the Olympic Oval was designed as the first covered speed skating oval in North America, was the first at a Winter Olympics. The indoor facility offered the ability to control climate conditions to produce the highest quality ice. Construction of The Oval began in 1985, nearly four years after Calgary had been designated host of the XV Olympic Winter Games. Like the Olympic Saddledome, most of the Oval's structure was built using precast, prestressed concrete. Twenty eight beams were laid along the outside of the perimeter of the building to support 84 additional beams used to construct a lattice frame for the arched roof; the interior scaffolding used to hoist these 84 beams had to be lowered a centimetre at a time in a predetermined sequence in order to distribute the load of the roof to each of the 28 exterior support beams.
Construction was completed by the end of the summer of 1987 opening in September 1987, five months before the Olympics. It was during the speed skating events of the Olympic Winter Games in 1988 that The Oval became known as "the fastest ice on Earth," as world records were set in seven events, Olympic records were set in the other three events; the combination of the climate-controlled facility and the effects of high altitude have been credited for the fast ice surface. Throughout the following 14 years the vast majority of speed skating world records were set at The Oval. By 2013, at celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the 1988 Winter Games, the former CEO of the Winter Games said that the Olympic Oval had produced over "150 world record skating times". Along with the 400 m long-track speed skating oval, the Olympic Oval includes two international-sized ice rinks for short-track speed skating and ice hockey, a 450 m running track surrounding the main oval, an eight-lane 110 m sprint track for year-round athletics training.
By 2013, hundred of Canadian athletes were training in the Oval year round. Saskatoon-native Catriona Le May Doan, who won the gold medal in speedskating at the 1998 Winter Olympics and in the 2002 Winter Olympics began training at the Oval soon after its construction; the Oval continues to be regarded as a premier speed skating venue, a preferred training facility for speed skating teams across the globe. When not hosting hockey games and speed skating competitions, The Oval is open to public skating, family day events, the Calgary Science Fair. Official website XVth Olympic Winter Games - Venues to Match the Events Calgary Speed Skating Association - CSSA
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is a major American daily newspaper published in Washington, D. C. with a particular emphasis on national politics and the federal government. It has the largest circulation in the Washington metropolitan area, its slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" began appearing on its masthead in 2017. Daily broadsheet editions are printed for the District of Columbia and Virginia; the newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. This includes six separate Pulitzers awarded in 2008, second only to The New York Times' seven awards in 2002 for the highest number awarded to a single newspaper in one year. Post journalists have received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards. In the early 1970s, in the best-known episode in the newspaper's history, reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the American press' investigation into what became known as the Watergate scandal, their reporting in The Washington Post contributed to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
In years since, the Post's investigations have led to increased review of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In October 2013, the paper's longtime controlling family, the Graham family, sold the newspaper to Nash Holdings, a holding company established by Jeff Bezos, for $250 million in cash; the Washington Post is regarded as one of the leading daily American newspapers, along with The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal. The Post has distinguished itself through its political reporting on the workings of the White House and other aspects of the U. S. government. Unlike The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post does not print an edition for distribution away from the East Coast. In 2009, the newspaper ceased publication of its National Weekly Edition, which combined stories from the week's print editions, due to shrinking circulation; the majority of its newsprint readership is in the District of Columbia and its suburbs in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
The newspaper is one of a few U. S. newspapers with foreign bureaus, located in Beirut, Beijing, Bogotá, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, London, Mexico City, Nairobi, New Delhi and Tokyo. In November 2009, it announced the closure of its U. S. regional bureaus—Chicago, Los Angeles and New York—as part of an increased focus on "political stories and local news coverage in Washington." The newspaper has local bureaus in Virginia. As of May 2013, its average weekday circulation was 474,767, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, making it the seventh largest newspaper in the country by circulation, behind USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily News, the New York Post. While its circulation has been slipping, it has one of the highest market-penetration rates of any metropolitan news daily. For many decades, the Post had its main office at 1150 15th Street NW; this real estate remained with Graham Holdings when the newspaper was sold to Jeff Bezos' Nash Holdings in 2013.
Graham Holdings sold 1150 15th Street for US$159 million in November 2013. The Washington Post continued to lease space at 1150 L Street NW. In May 2014, The Washington Post leased the west tower of One Franklin Square, a high-rise building at 1301 K Street NW in Washington, D. C; the newspaper moved into their new offices December 14, 2015. The Post has its own exclusive zip code, 20071. Arc Publishing is a department of the Post, which provides the publishing system, software for news organizations such as the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times; the newspaper was founded in 1877 by Stilson Hutchins and in 1880 added a Sunday edition, becoming the city's first newspaper to publish seven days a week. In 1889, Hutchins sold the newspaper to Frank Hatton, a former Postmaster General, Beriah Wilkins, a former Democratic congressman from Ohio. To promote the newspaper, the new owners requested the leader of the United States Marine Band, John Philip Sousa, to compose a march for the newspaper's essay contest awards ceremony.
Sousa composed "The Washington Post". It became the standard music to accompany the two-step, a late 19th-century dance craze, remains one of Sousa's best-known works. In 1893, the newspaper moved to a building at 14th and E streets NW, where it would remain until 1950; this building combined all functions of the newspaper into one headquarters – newsroom, advertising and printing – that ran 24 hours per day. In 1898, during the Spanish–American War, the Post printed Clifford K. Berryman's classic illustration Remember the Maine, which became the battle-cry for American sailors during the War. In 1902, Berryman published another famous cartoon in the Post—Drawing the Line in Mississippi; this cartoon depicts President Theodore Roosevelt showing compassion for a small bear cub and inspired New York store owner Morris Michtom to create the teddy bear. Wilkins acquired Hatton's share of the newspaper in 1894 at Hatton's death. After Wilkins' death in 1903, his sons John and Robert ran the Post for two years before selling it in 1905 to John Roll McLean, owner of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
During the Wilson presidency, the Post was credited with the "most famous newspaper typo" in D. C. history according to Reason magazine. When John McLean died in 1916, he put the newspap
The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating; the Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart. Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894, leading to the first modern Games in Athens in 1896; the IOC is the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority. The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games; some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with a disability, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18, the five Continental games, the World Games for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games.
The Deaflympics and Special Olympics are endorsed by the IOC. The IOC has had to adapt to a variety of economic and technological advancements; the abuse of amateur rules by the Eastern Bloc nations prompted the IOC to shift away from pure amateurism, as envisioned by Coubertin, to allowing participation of professional athletes. The growing importance of mass media created the issue of corporate sponsorship and commercialisation of the Games. World wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, 1944 Games. Large boycotts during the Cold War limited participation in the 1980 and 1984 Games; the Olympic Movement consists of international sports federations, National Olympic Committees, organising committees for each specific Olympic Games. As the decision-making body, the IOC is responsible for choosing the host city for each Games, organises and funds the Games according to the Olympic Charter; the IOC determines the Olympic programme, consisting of the sports to be contested at the Games. There are several Olympic rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
Over 13,000 athletes compete at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. The first and third-place finishers in each event receive Olympic medals: gold and bronze, respectively; the Games have grown so much. This growth has created numerous challenges and controversies, including boycotts, bribery, a terrorist attack in 1972; every two years the Olympics and its media exposure provide athletes with the chance to attain national and sometimes international fame. The Games constitute an opportunity for the host city and country to showcase themselves to the world; the Ancient Olympic Games were religious and athletic festivals held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. Competition was among representatives of several kingdoms of Ancient Greece; these Games featured athletic but combat sports such as wrestling and the pankration and chariot racing events. It has been written that during the Games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the Games were finished.
This cessation of hostilities was known as truce. This idea is a modern myth; the truce did allow those religious pilgrims who were travelling to Olympia to pass through warring territories unmolested because they were protected by Zeus. The origin of the Olympics is shrouded in legend. According to legend, it was Heracles who first called the Games "Olympic" and established the custom of holding them every four years; the myth continues that after Heracles completed his twelve labours, he built the Olympic Stadium as an honour to Zeus. Following its completion, he walked in a straight line for 200 steps and called this distance a "stadion", which became a unit of distance; the most accepted inception date for the Ancient Olympics is 776 BC. The Ancient Games featured running events, a pentathlon, wrestling and equestrian events. Tradition has it that a cook from the city of Elis, was the first Olympic champion; the Olympics were of fundamental religious importance, featuring sporting events alongside ritual sacrifices honouring both Zeus and Pelops, divine hero and mythical king of Olympia.
Pelops was famous for his chariot race with King Oenomaus of Pisatis. The winners of the events were immortalised in poems and statues; the Games were held every four years, this period, known as an Olympiad, was used by Greeks as one of their units of time measurement. The Games were part of a cycle known as the Panhellenic Games, which included the Pythian Games, the Nemean Games, the Isthmian Games; the Olympic Games reached their zenith in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, but gradually declined in importance as the Romans gained power and influence in Gr
Calgary is a city in the Canadian province of Alberta. It is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, about 80 km east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies; the city anchors the south end of what Statistics Canada defines as the "Calgary–Edmonton Corridor". The city had a population of 1,267,344 in 2018, making it Alberta's largest city and Canada's third-largest municipality. In 2016, Calgary had a metropolitan population of 1,392,609, making it the fourth-largest census metropolitan area in Canada; the economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services and television, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, aerospace and wellness, tourism sectors. The Calgary CMA is home to the second-highest number of corporate head offices in Canada among the country's 800 largest corporations. In 2015, Calgary had the highest number of millionaires per capita of any major city in Canada.
In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympic Games. Calgary has been recognized for its high quality of life. In 2018, The Economist magazine ranked Calgary the fourth-most liveable city in the world in their Global Liveability Ranking. Calgary is classed as a Beta global city. Calgary was named after Calgary on the Isle of Scotland. In turn, the name originates from a compound of kald and gart, similar Old Norse words, meaning "cold" and "garden" used when named by the Vikings who inhabited the Inner Hebrides. Alternatively, the name might be Gaelic Cala ghearraidh, meaning "beach of the meadow", or Gaelic for either "clear running water" or "bay farm"; the indigenous peoples of Southern Alberta referred to the Calgary area as "elbow", in reference to the sharp bend made by the Bow River and the Elbow River. In some cases, the area was named after the reeds that grew along the riverbanks, which were used to fashion bows. In the Blackfoot language, the area was known as Mohkínstsis akápiyoyis, meaning "elbow many houses", reflecting its strong settler presence.
The shorter form of the Blackfoot name, Mohkínstsis meaning "elbow", has been the popular Indigenous term for the Calgary area. In the Nakoda language, the area is known as Wincheesh-pah or Wenchi Ispase, both meaning "elbow". In the Nehiyaw Language, the area was known as Otoskwanik meaning "house at the elbow" or Otoskwunee meaning "elbow". In the Tsuut'ina language, the area is known as Kootsisáw meaning "elbow". In the Slavey language, the area was known as Klincho-tinay-indihay meaning "many horse town", referring to the Calgary Stampede and the city's settler heritage. There have been several attempts to revive the indigenous names of Calgary. In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, local post-secondary institutions have adopted "official acknowledgements" of indigenous territory using the Blackfoot name of the City, Mohkínstsis. In 2017, the Stoney Nakoda sent an application to the Government of Alberta, to rename Calgary as Wichispa Oyade meaning "elbow town", however this has been challenged by the Piikani Blackfoot.
The Calgary area was inhabited by pre-Clovis people whose presence has been traced back at least 11,000 years. The area has been inhabited by the Niitsitapi, îyârhe Nakoda, the Tsuut'ina First Nations peoples and Métis Nation, Region 3; as Mayor Naheed Nenshi describes, "There have always been people here. In Biblical times there were people here. For generations beyond number, people have come here to this land, drawn here by the water, they come here to fish. He was the first recorded European to visit the area. John Glenn was the first documented European settler in the Calgary area, in 1873. In 1875, the site became a post of the North-West Mounted Police; the NWMP detachment was assigned to protect the western plains from US whisky traders, to protect the fur trade. Named Fort Brisebois, after NWMP officer Éphrem-A. Brisebois, it was renamed Fort Calgary in 1876 by Colonel James Macleod; when the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the area in 1883, a rail station was constructed, Calgary began to grow into an important commercial and agricultural centre.
Over a century the Canadian Pacific Railway headquarters moved to Calgary from Montreal in 1996. Calgary was incorporated as a town in 1884, elected its first mayor, George Murdoch. In 1894, it was incorporated as "The City of Calgary" in what was the North-West Territories; the Calgary Police Service was established in 1885 and assumed municipal, local duties from the NWMP. The Calgary Fire of 1886 occurred on November 7, 1886. Fourteen buildings were destroyed with losses estimated at $103,200. Although no one was killed or injured, city officials drafted a law requiring all large downtown buildings to be built with Paskapoo sandstone, to prevent this from happening again. After the arrival of the railway, the Dominion Government started leasing grazing land at minimal cost; as a result of this policy, large ranching operations were established in the outlying country near Calgary. A transportation and distribution hub, Calgary became the centre of Canada's cattle marketing and meatpacking industries.
By the late 19th century, the Hud
Lee Kyou-hyuk is a South Korean long track speed skater who specializes in the 500 and 1,000 meters. He was the 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 World Sprint Speed Skating Champion and the 2011 World Champion for 500 m, he is one of four men to have won the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships four times. His first world sprint championship, in 2007, was his first International Championships medal after a 13-year top-level career; as well as his success in the World Sprint Championships, Lee has fourteen wins in individual World Cup races, a gold medal, two silver and one bronze from the World Single Distance Championships and four gold medals from the Asian Winter Games as well as numerous South Korean titles, including 10 successive National Sprint Speed Skating Championships. He has set two world records during his career. Lee made his debut in ISU events in 1992 at age 13, when he competed at the World Junior Championships in Warsaw, he did not qualify for the final distance, but his samalog total ranked him as 21st of 49 competitors and the second best from South Korea.
He returned the following year but again failed to qualify, though he improved two places and was the best Korean after Bong Ju-hyeon got disqualified in the 1,500 meters. In the 1994 season, Lee was sent to the first four World Cup races of the season as warm-up to the 1994 Winter Olympics at age 15, his best place came in Davos, where he was 21st of 36 on the 500 meters, but he earned no World Cup points. At the Olympics, Lee finished 36th at the 500 32nd at the 1,000 meters. At the World Junior Championships in Calgary, Lee qualified for the final distance for the first time and finished fourth overall, 0.098 points behind the bronze medalist. Lee finished fourth at the Junior Championships in 1995 and 1996, losing his lead after the opening three distances to long-distance specialists Bob de Jong and Mark Knoll, he was selected to represent South Korea at the 1995 World Championships all round, where he finished fourth on the 500 meters but still failed to qualify for the final distance, ending as 20th.
In the 1996 championship, however, he lowered the junior world record in the 500 meters to 36.59 seconds, though Jeremy Wotherspoon bettered it by 0.01 seconds two weeks later. His World Cup placings improved little until 1996, when he got his first top ten placing of eighth at a World Cup meet in Medeo, though he still failed to place in the top 20 overall. In his fourth international season as junior, Lee finished 21st in the World Allround after winning the 500 meters, in eight World Cup appearances in 1997, Lee finished in the top ten three times, all on the 1,000 meters, he made the podium 0.15 seconds behind winner Gerard van Velde at a race in Jeonju. This brought him up to 15th place overall in the 1,000 meter World Cup, though he did not skate in World Cup races in Europe or the world junior championships. Over this period of his career, Lee was an out-and-out sprinter who only participated in the 500 and 1,000 meter races. Though he set a world record in the 1,500 meters, he never competed in World Cup races in that distance until 2002.
In the 1997–98 World Cup, Lee improved to 11th in the 1,000 meters and 16th in the 500 and won a World Cup race in Calgary with a world-record time of 1:10.42, his first world record. Over that weekend, the world record was cut 1.15 seconds. The record stood for a month. Lee missed the final two World Cup meets and after the Olympics, but after four of eight sprint events he was placed fifth in the 1,000 meters World Cup and tenth in the 500 meters World Cup. While still a world record holder, he won silver at the Asian Single Distance Championships in Obihiro, only beaten by fellow Korean Kim Yun-Man. Lee finished 12th at the World Sprint Championships in Berlin two weeks before the Olympics, registered 8th and 13th place in his two Olympic appearances; the following season was poor for Lee. He was relegated to the B group in the World Cup following finishes of between 25 and 38 in the opening race in Nagano, did not figure in the top eight of the B group either. At the Asian Winter Games, he won silver on the 1,000 meters, but that tournament lacked the participation of the best Japanese skaters such as Hiroyasu Shimizu, Junichi Inoue and Yukinori Miyabe, who all beat Lee at the World Cup in Nagano.
Lee bounced back in 2000. In the first World Cup race of the season, Lee won the B group in the first 500-meter race, finished third in the second 0.19 seconds behind winner Jeremy Wotherspoon. His B group appearances in the 1,000 meters was good enough for promotion, though he got no further podium places, he finished 11th overall in the 500-meter World Cup, his best placing to date, he qualified for the World Single Distance Championships for the first time, taking 12th place on the 1,000 meters as his best result, went below 1:10 for the first time in a World Cup race. The 2001 season was more consistent. Lee finished on the podium twice in a World Cup race, in Seoul and Calgary, in 20 World Cup starts he never finished out of the top 11, he finished fourth in the overall World Cup standings in the 1,000 meters and sixth in the 500 meters, his best records in the overall World Cup. In the major championships, Lee took part in the World Sprint Championships for the first time in three years, finishing ninth just over a samalog point behind Mike Ireland.
In March, he rounded off the season with fourth and fifth place at the World Single Distance Championships in the Utah Olympic Oval. Times were faster this season, in March Lee registered 34.84 in the 500 meter
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