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
2008 European Aquatics Championships
The 2008 LEN European Aquatics Championships were held in Eindhoven, from 13–24 March 2008. They were the European championships for swimming and synchronised swimming for 2008. Two new events were contested: the 800 m freestyle men and the 1500 m freestyle women; this is the first time that women's swimming programs are identical. * Host nation LEN European Aquatics Championships Ligue Européenne de Natation Tournament's official site Swim Rankings Results
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
2006 European Aquatics Championships
The 2006 European Swimming Championships were held in Budapest, from 26 July – 6 August 2006. Disciplines include swimming, synchronised swimming and open water swimming. European Water Polo Championships for 2006 were organized by LEN, but held separately. Competition dates by discipline were: Swimming: 31 July – 6 August Diving: 1–6 August Synchro: 26–30 July Open Water: 26–30 July * Host nation Competition dates for Swimming were: 31 July – 6 August. All swimming events contested in a long-course pool. Event format was: 200m and under: prelims/semifinals/finals—preliminary heats and semifinals were held on the same day, with finals of the event on the next evening. 400m and longer: prelims/finals. In the 400m, the 4 × 100 m and 4 × 200 m relays and finals were held on the same day. In the women's 800m and men's 1500m events, prelims were held in the morning of day 1 of the event, with finals of the event in the evening session of day 2. Event order for evening sessions was: WR= World Record.
Competition dates for Synchro were 26–30 July 2006. Competition dates for Open Water were 26–30 July 2006. Ligue Européenne de Natation – LEN: the European Swimming League Official Budapest 2006 Website Swim Rankings Results
Swimming at the 2004 Summer Olympics
The swimming competitions at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens took place from 14 to 21 August 2004 at the Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre in Marousi. It featured 32 events, a total of 937 swimmers from 152 nations, the program's changes instituted in the previous Games, including notably the three-phase format for all short-distance races. Swimmers from the United States continued to dominate the medal tally with a total of 28, earning twelve golds, nine silver, seven bronze. Australia still maintained the second spot from Sydney in 2000, but produced a total of 15 more medals to its historical hardware in swimming. Meanwhile, Japan moved from behind to third overall in the medal board with eight medals after a sterling breaststroke double from Kosuke Kitajima. A total of eight world records and twenty-five Olympic records were set during the competition. Swimming events at the 2004 Summer Olympics were held at the Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre known as the Olympic Aquatic Centre of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex during the games.
Built for the 1991 Mediterranean Games, it was refurbished to host swimming, synchronised swimming, water polo events. Swimming events were held at the main outdoor pool of the complex, which held 10,893 spectators, was interchangeably used for swimming and water polo events throughout the duration of the games. A plastic-coated tarpaulin roof covering the two outdoor pools of the complex, designed to protect spectators and swimmers from being exposed to the summer heat, was planned to be built as part of the renovations. However, due to cost overruns and delays in construction, planners decided to scrap the roof in March 2004, criticised by FINA, the governing body of water sports; the venue would be approved by FINA weeks before the opening of the games in August. The following events were contested: Freestyle: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500. M = Morning session, E = Evening session A total of 937 swimmers from 152 nations would compete in swimming events at these Olympic Games. Antigua and Barbuda, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands and Turkmenistan made their official debut in swimming.
Meanwhile, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Norway returned to the sport after long years of absence. Nations with swimmers at the Games are: * Swimmers who participated in the heats only and received medals. * Swimmers who participated in the heats only and received medals. Official result book – Swimming
Limburg is the southernmost of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. It is in the southeastern part of the country, stretched out from the north, where it touches the province of Gelderland, to the south, where it internationally borders Belgium, its northern part has the North Brabant province to its west. Its long eastern boundary is the international border with the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Much of the west border runs along the River Maas, bordering the Flemish province of Limburg, a small part of the Walloon province of Liège. On the south end, it has borders with the Flemish exclave of Voeren and its surrounding part of Liège, Wallonia; the Vaalserberg is on the extreme south-eastern point, marking the tripoint of Netherlands and Belgium. Limburg's major cities are the provincial capital Maastricht, as well as Heerlen, Sittard-Geleen in the south, Venlo in the north and Roermond and Weert in the middle. More than half of the population 620,000 people, live in the south of Limburg, which corresponds to one-third of the province's area proper.
In South Limburg, most people live in the urban agglomerations of Maastricht and Sittard-Geleen. Limburg has a distinctive character; the social and economic trends that have affected the province in recent decades have generated a process of change and renewal which has enabled Limburg to transform its peripheral location into a globalized regional nexus, linking the Netherlands to the Ruhr metro area and the southern part of the Benelux region. A less appreciated consequence of this international gateway location is rising international crime drug-related in the southernmost part of the province. Limburg's name derives from the fortified town of the same name, situated on the river Vesdre near the High Fens, now in the nearby Belgian province of Liège, its name is derived from the Germanic elements *lindo, "lime tree," and burg, "fortification." Limburg town was the seat of the medieval Duchy of Limburg. None of present-day Limburg was part of this duchy, which had its northern border along what is the modern southern border of South Limburg.
South Limburg in the Middle Ages was made up of the lands of Valkenburg and Herzogenrath, which under the rule of the Duchy of Brabant came to be known collectively as the Lands of Overmaas. The Duchy of Limburg and its dependencies first came under Brabantian control in 1288, as a result of the Battle of Worringen in the 15th century under the Duchy of Burgundy. By 1473, the Lands of Overmaas and the Duchy of Limburg formed one unified delegation to the States General of the Burgundian Netherlands. Both the terms Overmaas and Limburg came to be used loosely to refer to this sparsely populated province of the so-called Seventeen Provinces. Maastricht was never part of this polity; the central and northern part of present-day Limburg belonged to different political entities, notably the Duchy of Jülich and the Duchy of Guelders. After 1794, the French unified the region, along with Belgian Limburg, removed all ties to the old feudal society; the new name, as with all the names of the départements, was based on natural features, in this case Meuse-Inférieure or Neder-Maas.
After the defeat of Napoleon the newly-created United Kingdom of the Netherlands desired a new name for this province. It was decided that the historic connection to the town and duchy of Limburg was to be restored, albeit only in name, it is important to note that the history given below is that of the region, the current province Limburg of the Netherlands. There existed no polity or other entity going by that name covering this territory until 1815. For centuries, the strategic location of the current province made it a much-coveted region among Europe's major powers. Romans, Habsburg Spaniards, Habsburg Austrians and French have all ruled parts of Limburg. For long periods of history the region was not united under the same rule; the first inhabitants of whom traces have been found were Neanderthals. In Neolithic times flint was mined in underground mines, including one at Rijckholt, open to visitors. Just after the Roman conquest the Eburones, the inhabitants of most of the area of current Limburg, were annihilated by the legions of Julius Caesar with help of neighbour tribes, this as a punishment for a successful ambush set by their leader Ambiorix.
After this genocide the area was repopulated with a diverse set of peoples that under Roman rules, amalgated in the Tungri. The southern part of current Limburg, along the Via Belgica was Romanized and a few still existing towns and cities were founded in this period, including Mosa Trajectum and Coriovallum. Bishop Servatius introduced Christianity in Roman Maastricht, where he died in 384; as Roman authority in the area weakened, Franks took over from the Romans, the area, now called Austrasia, flourished under their rule. The middle and southern part of the current province formed an important part of the heartland of Austrasia. In 714 Susteren Abbey was founded, as far as is known the first proprietary abbey in the current Netherlands. Main benefactor was the consort of Pepin of Herstal. Charles Martel was born in nearby Herstal and Charlemagne had close links with the area, he made Aachen the capital of the Frankish empire. In 870 the treaty of Meerssen, the third partition
Swimming is an individual or team sport that requires the use of one's entire body to move through water. The sport takes place in open water. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with varied distance events in butterfly, breaststroke and individual medley. In addition to these individual events, four swimmers can take part in either a freestyle or medley relay. A medley relay consists of four swimmers; the order for a medley relay is: backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Swimming each stroke requires a set of specific techniques. There are regulations on what types of swimsuits, caps and injury tape that are allowed at competitions. Although it is possible for competitive swimmers to incur several injuries from the sport, such as tendinitis in the shoulders or knees, there are multiple health benefits associated with the sport. Evidence of recreational swimming in prehistoric times has been found, with the earliest evidence dating to Stone Age paintings from around 10,000 years ago.
Written references date from 2000 BC, with some of the earliest references to swimming including the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible, the Quran and others. In 1538, Nikolaus Wynmann, a Swiss professor of languages, wrote the first book about swimming, The Swimmer or A Dialogue on the Art of Swimming. Swimming emerged as a competitive recreational activity in the 1830s in England. In 1828, the first indoor swimming pool, St George's Baths was opened to the public. By 1837, the National Swimming Society was holding regular swimming competitions in six artificial swimming pools, built around London; the recreational activity grew in popularity and by 1880, when the first national governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association was formed, there were over 300 regional clubs in operation across the country. In 1844 two Native American participants at a swimming competition in London introduced the front crawl to a European audience. Sir John Arthur Trudgen picked up the hand-over stroke from some South American natives and debuted the new stroke in 1873, winning a local competition in England.
His stroke is still regarded as the most powerful to use today. Captain Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English Channel, in 1875. Using the breaststroke technique, he swam the channel 21.26 miles in 45 minutes. His feat was not replicated or surpassed for the next 36 years, until T. W. Burgess made the crossing in 1911. Other European countries established swimming federations; the first European amateur swimming competitions were in 1889 in Vienna. The world's first women's swimming championship was held in Scotland in 1892. Men's swimming became part of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. In 1902, the Australian Richmond Cavill introduced freestyle to the Western world. In 1908, the world swimming association, Fédération Internationale de Natation, was formed. Women's swimming was introduced into the Olympics in 1912. Butterfly was developed in the 1930s and was at first a variant of breaststroke, until it was accepted as a separate style in 1952. Competitive swimming became popular in the 19th century.
The goal of high level competitive swimming is to break personal or world records while beating competitors in any given event. Swimming in competition should create the least resistance in order to obtain maximum speed. However, some professional swimmers who do not hold a national or world ranking are considered the best in regard to their technical skills. An athlete goes through a cycle of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle, the workload is decreased in the final stage as the swimmer approaches competition; the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition is called tapering. Tapering is used to give the swimmer's body some rest without stopping exercise completely. A final stage is referred to as "shave and taper": the swimmer shaves off all exposed hair for the sake of reducing drag and having a sleeker and more hydrodynamic feel in the water. Additionally, the "shave and taper" method refers to the removal of the top layer of "dead skin", which exposes the newer and richer skin underneath.
This helps to "shave" off mere milliseconds on your time. Swimming is an event at the Summer Olympic Games, where male and female athletes compete in 16 of the recognized events each. Olympic events are held in a 50-meter pool, called a long course pool. There are forty recognized individual swimming events in the pool; the international governing body for competitive swimming is the Fédération Internationale de Natation, better known as FINA. In open water swimming, where the events are swum in a body of open water, there are 5 km, 10 km and 25 km events for men and women. However, only the 10 km event is included in the Olympic schedule, again for both women. Open-water competitions are separate to other swimming competitions with the exception of the World Championships and the Olympics. In competitive swimming, four major styles have been established; these have been stable over the last 30–40 years with minor improvements. They are: Butterfly Backstroke