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
Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area, segmented into four concentric circles. It is related to bowls and shuffleboard. Two teams, each with four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones called rocks, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice; each team has eight stones, with each player throwing two. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game. A game consists of eight or ten ends; the curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to turn as it slides, the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms, who accompany it as it slides down the sheet and sweep the ice in front of the stone. "Sweeping a rock" decreases the friction, which makes the stone travel a straighter path and a longer distance. A great deal of strategy and teamwork go into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, the skills of the curlers determine the degree to which the stone will achieve the desired result.
This gives curling its nickname of "chess on ice". Evidence that curling existed in Scotland in the early 16th century includes a curling stone inscribed with the date 1511 uncovered when an old pond was drained at Dunblane, Scotland; the world's oldest curling stone and the world's oldest football are now kept in the same museum in Stirling. The first written reference to a contest using stones on ice coming from the records of Paisley Abbey, Renfrewshire, in February 1541. Two paintings, "Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap" and "The Hunters in the Snow" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder depict Flemish peasants curling, albeit without brooms; the word curling first appears in print in 1620 in Perth, Scotland, in the preface and the verses of a poem by Henry Adamson. The sport was known as "the roaring game" because of the sound the stones make while traveling over the pebble; the verbal noun curling is formed from the Scots verb curl. Kilsyth Curling Club claims to be the first club in the world, having been formally constituted in 1716.
Kilsyth claims the oldest purpose-built curling pond in the world at Colzium, in the form of a low dam creating a shallow pool some 100 by 250 metres in size. The International Olympic Committee recognises the Royal Caledonian Curling Club as developing the first official rules for the sport. In the early history of curling, the playing stones were flat-bottomed stones from rivers or fields, which lacked a handle and were of inconsistent size and smoothness; some early stones had holes for the thumb, akin to ten-pin bowling balls. Unlike today, the thrower had little control over the'curl' or velocity and relied more on luck than on precision and strategy; the sport was played on frozen rivers although purpose-built ponds were created in many Scottish towns. For example, the Scottish poet David Gray describes whisky-drinking curlers on the Luggie Water at Kirkintilloch. In Darvel, East Ayrshire, the weavers relaxed by playing curling matches using the heavy stone weights from the looms' warp beams, fitted with a detachable handle for the purpose.
Many a wife would keep her husband's brass curling stone handle on the mantelpiece, brightly polished until the next time it was needed. Central Canadian curlers used'irons' rather than stones until the early 1900s. Outdoor curling was popular in Scotland between the 16th and 19th centuries because the climate provided good ice conditions every winter. Scotland is home to the international governing body for curling, the World Curling Federation in Perth, which originated as a committee of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, the mother club of curling. Today, the sport is most established in Canada, having been taken there by Scottish emigrants; the Royal Montreal Curling Club, the oldest established sports club still active in North America, was established in 1807. The first curling club in the United States was established in 1830, the sport was introduced to Switzerland and Sweden before the end of the 19th century by Scots. Today, curling is played all over Europe and has spread to Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Korea.
The first world championship for curling was limited to men and was known as the Scotch Cup, held in Falkirk and Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1959. The first world title was won by the Canadian team from Regina, skipped by Ernie Richardson. Curling was one of the first sports, popular with women and girls. Curling has been a medal sport in the Winter Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Olympics, it includes men's, women's and mixed doubles tournaments. In February 2002, the International Olympic Committee retroactively decided that the curling competition from the 1924 Winter Olympics (originally called Semaine des Sports d'Hiver, or Int
Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area; the city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of 8.1 million. Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, as a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for trade. In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built.
The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since the annexation of the municipality of Sloten in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, the oldest historic part of the city lies in Sloten, dating to the 9th century; as the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha- world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. The city is the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, including Philips, AkzoNobel, TomTom and ING. Many of the world's largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as leading technology companies Uber and Tesla. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer; the city was ranked 4th place globally as top tech hub in the Savills Tech Cities 2019 report, 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009.
The Port of Amsterdam to this day remains the second in the country, the fifth largest seaport in Europe. Famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, philosopher Baruch Spinoza; the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre. Amsterdam's main attractions include its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the Scheepvaartmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Natura Artis Magistra, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NEMO, the red-light district and many cannabis coffee shops, they draw more than 5 million international visitors annually. The city is well known for its nightlife and festival activity, it is one of the world's most multicultural cities, with at least 177 nationalities represented. After the floods of 1170 and 1173, locals near the river Amstel built a bridge over the river and a dam across it, giving its name to the village: "Aemstelredamme".
The earliest recorded use of that name is in a document dated 27 October 1275, which exempted inhabitants of the village from paying bridge tolls to Count Floris V. This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges and dams; the certificate describes the inhabitants. By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam. Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen and Utrecht. In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century; this does not mean that there was a settlement since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, for use as fuel. Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306. From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished from trade with the Hanseatic League. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith.
The Miracle devotion was kept alive. In the 19th century after the jubilee of 1845, the devotion was revitalized and became an important national point of reference for Dutch Catholics; the Stille Omgang—a silent walk or procession in civil attire—is the expression of the pilgrimage within the Protestant Netherlands since the late 19th century. In the heyday of the Silent Walk, up to 90,000 pilgrims came to Amsterdam. In the 21st century this has reduced to about 5000. In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of his successors; the main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, the religious persecution of Protestants by the newly introduced Inquisition. The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which led to Dutch independence. Pushed by Dutch Revolt leader William the Silent, the Dutch Republic became known for its relative religious tolerance. Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, economic and religious refugees
Zaanstad is a Dutch municipality in the province of North Holland, situated northwest of Amsterdam. Its main city is Zaandam, it is metropolitan area of Amsterdam. It had a population of 154,442 in 2017; the municipality of Zaanstad is mainly a conurbation itself and consists of the following cities, villages and/or districts: Assendelft, Koog aan de Zaan, Westzaan, Zaandam, Zaandijk. However, being surrounded by countryside and due to its protracted shape that follows the river Zaan, a rural atmosphere is always nearby. Koog aan de Zaan railway station Krommenie-Assendelft railway station Wormerveer railway station Zaandam railway station Zaandam Kogerveld railway station Zaandijk Zaanse Schans railway station The municipal council of Zaanstad consists of 39 seats, which are divided as follows:PvdA, VVD, ZOG, SP, GroenLinks, D66, CDA, TROTS, ROSA, ChristenUnie, Democratisch Zaanstad, POV, PvdIJ, Dissels. Zaans Museum Zaanse Schans Czar Peter House Ali B, Dutch rap musician Han Bennink, jazz drummer and percussionist Emine Bozkurt, politician Hanneke Ippisch, member of the Dutch resistance in World War II Floris Takens, mathematician Piet Zwart, graphic designer, industrial designer and typographer Zaanstad is twinned with: Marino, Italy Pančevo, Serbia Zwickau, Germany Media related to Zaanstad at Wikimedia Commons Official website