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
Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and peninsulas and a strip bordering Belgium, its capital is Middelburg. Its area is about 2,930 square kilometres, of which 1,140 square kilometres is water, it has a population of about 380,000. Large parts of Zeeland are below sea level; the last great flooding of the area was in 1953. Tourism is an important economic activity. In the summer, its beaches make it a popular destination for tourists German tourists. In some areas, the population can be two to four times higher during the high summer season; the coat of arms of Zeeland shows a lion half-emerged from water, the text luctor et emergo. The country of New Zealand was named after Zeeland after it was sighted by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. Nehalennia is a mythological goddess of an ancient religion known around the province of Zeeland, her worship dates back at least to the 2nd century BC, flourished in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
She was a regional god, either Celtic or pre-Germanic – but sources differ on the culture that first worshipped her. During the Roman era, her main function appeared to be the protection of travelers seagoing travelers crossing the North Sea. Most of what is known about her mythology comes from the remains of carved stone offerings which have been dredged up from the Oosterschelde since 1970. Two more Nehalennia offering stones have been found in Cologne, Germany. Zeeland was a contested area between the counts of Holland and Flanders until 1299, when the last count of Holland died, the Counts of Hainaut gained control of the countship of Zeeland, followed by the counts of Bavaria and Habsburg. After 1585 Zeeland followed, as one of the 7 independent provinces, the fate of the Northern part of The Netherlands. In 1432 it became part of the Low Countries possessions of Philip the Good of Burgundy, the Seventeen Provinces. Through marriage, the Seventeen Provinces became the property of the Habsburgs in 1477.
In the Eighty Years' War, Zeeland was on the side of the Union of Utrecht, became one of the United Provinces. The area now called Zeeuws-Vlaanderen was not part of Zeeland, but a part of the county of Flanders, conquered by the United Provinces, hence called Staats-Vlaanderen. After the French occupation and the formation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815, the present province Zeeland was formed. During World War II, Zeeland was occupied by Nazi Germany between June 1940 and November 1944. In 1944, Zeeland was devastated by the Battle of the Scheldt and the Walcheren Landings, which brought about the Inundation of Walcheren, between British and Canadian forces, the occupying Germans; the catastrophic North Sea flood of 1953, which killed over 1800 people in Zeeland, led to the construction of the protective Delta Works. The province of Zeeland is a large river delta situated at the mouth of several major rivers, namely Scheldt and Meuse. Most of the province was reclaimed from the sea by inhabitants over time.
What used to be a muddy landscape, flooding at high tide and reappearing at low tide, became a series of small man-made hills that stayed dry at all times. The people of the province would connect the hills by creating dikes, which led to a chain of dry land that grew into bigger islands and gave the province its current shape; the shape of the islands has changed over time at the hands of both nature. The North Sea flood of 1953 inundated vast amounts of land that were only reclaimed; the subsequent construction of the Delta Works changed the face of the province. The infrastructure, although distinct by the number of bridges and dams, has not shaped the geography of the province so much as the geography of the province has shaped its infrastructure; the dams and bridges that are a vital part of the province's road system were constructed over the span of decades and came to replace old ferry lines. The final touch to this process came in 2003, it was the first solid connection between both banks of the Western Scheldt and ended the era of water separating the islands and peninsulas of Zeeland.
Zeeland consists of several peninsulas. These are, from north to south, Schouwen-Duiveland, Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland, it includes a strip of land bordering the Belgian region of Flanders, the Zeelandic Flanders. The province of Zeeland has 13 municipalities: The largest cities are: Middelburg: 41.000, Vlissingen: 34.000, Goes: 27.000 and Terneuzen: 25.000 inhabitants. As of 1 January 2014, Zeeland has a population of 380,621 and a population density of 210/km2, it is the 12th most populous or least populous province and the 2nd least densely populated province of the Netherlands. Zeeland is a Protestant region. There are adherents of the Roman Catholic Church. After being long part of the vast Franco-Flemish Roman Catholic Diocese of Cambrai, Zeeland got its own bishopric, the Diocese of Middelburg, on 5 December 1559, suppressed in 1603, its territory being merged into the Apostolic Vicariate of Batavia, only to be'restored' on March 22, 1803 as the Apostolic Vicariate of Breda, prom
Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands; this usage is accepted in other countries, sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves. However, some in the Netherlands those from regions outside Holland, may find it undesirable or misrepresentative to use the term for the whole country. From the 10th to the 16th century, Holland proper was a unified political region within the Holy Roman Empire as a county ruled by the Counts of Holland. By the 17th century, the province of Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the newly independent Dutch Republic; the area of the former County of Holland coincides with the two current Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland in which it was divided, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities: the de jure capital city of Amsterdam. The name Holland first appeared in sources for the region around Haarlem, by 1064 was being used as the name of the entire county.
By the early twelfth century, the inhabitants of Holland were called Hollandi in a Latin text. Holland is derived from the Old Dutch term holtlant; this spelling variation remained in use until around the 14th century, at which time the name stabilised as Holland. A popular but erroneous folk etymology holds that Holland is derived from hol land purportedly inspired by the low-lying geography of the land."Holland" is informally used in English and other languages, including sometimes the Dutch language itself, to mean the whole of the modern country of the Netherlands. This example of pars pro toto or synecdoche is similar to the tendency to refer to the United Kingdom as "England", developed due to Holland's becoming the dominant province and thus having the majority of political and economic interactions with other countries. On one occasion "Holland" became the legal name for the whole country, when in 1806 by suggestion of Napoleon this usage was made official and the puppet kingdom ruled by his brother Louis Bonaparte was given the name Kingdom of Holland.
This was dropped after the retreat of the French troops in 1813, Dutch dignitaries proclaiming the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands. The people of Holland are referred to as "Hollanders" in both Dutch and English, though in English this is now unusual and nearly-archaic. Today this refers to people from the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland. Speaking, the term "Hollanders" does not refer to people from the other provinces in the Netherlands, but colloquially "Hollanders" is sometimes used in this wider sense. In Flanders it is quite common to speak of "Hollanders" when speaking of people from the Netherlands. In Dutch, the Dutch word "Hollands" is the adjectival form for "Holland"; the Dutch word "Hollands" is colloquially and used by some Dutch people in the sense of "Nederlands", but with the intention of contrasting with other types of Dutch people or language, for example Limburgish, the Belgian varieties of the Dutch language, or any southern variety of Dutch within the Netherlands itself.
In English, "Dutch" refers to the Netherlands as a whole, but there is no used adjective for "Holland". The word "Hollandish" is no longer in common use. "Hollandic" is the name linguists give to the dialect spoken in Holland, is also used by historians and when referring to pre-Napoleonic Holland. Holland was a remote corner of the Holy Roman Empire, its regional importance increased until it began to have a decisive, dominant, influence on the History of the Netherlands. Until the start of the 12th century, the inhabitants of the area that became Holland were known as Frisians; the area was part of Frisia. At the end of the 9th century, West-Frisia became a separate county in the Holy Roman Empire; the first Count known about with certainty was Dirk I, who ruled from 896 to 931. He was succeeded by a long line of counts in the House of Holland; when John I, Count of Holland, died childless in 1299, the county was inherited by John II of Avesnes, count of Hainaut. By the time of William V the count of Holland was the count of Hainaut and Zealand.
After the St. Lucia's flood in 1287 the part of Frisia west of the Zuiderzee, West Friesland, was conquered; as a result, most provincial institutions, including the States of Holland and West Frisia, would for more than five centuries refer to "Holland and West Frisia" as a unit. The Hook and Cod wars started around this time and ended when the countess of Holland, Jacoba or Jacqueline was forced to cede Holland to the Burgundian Philip III, known as Philip the Good, in 1432. In 1432, Holland became part of the Burgundian Netherlands and since 1477 of the Habsburg Seventeen Provinces. In the 16th century the county became the most densely urbanised region in Europe, with the majority of the population living in cities. Within the Burgundian Netherlands, Holland was the dominant province in the north; the last count of Holland was Philip III, better known as king of Spain. He was deposed in 1581 by the Act of Abjuration, although the kings of Spain continued to carry the titular appellation of Count of Holland until the Peace of Münster signed in 1648.
In the Dutch Rebellion agains
Prince of Orange
Prince of Orange is a title associated with the sovereign Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, Frederick William I of Prussia ceded the Principality of Orange to King Louis XIV of France. After William III of England died without children, a dispute arose between Johan Willem Friso and Frederick I of Prussia, settled in the Treaty of Partition; the title is traditionally borne by the heir apparent of the Dutch monarch. The title descends via absolute primogeniture since 1983, meaning that its holder can be either Prince or Princess of Orange; the Dutch royal dynasty, the House of Orange-Nassau, is not the only family to claim the dynastical title. Rival claims to the title have been made by German emperors and kings of the House of Hohenzollern and by the head of the French noble family of Mailly; the current users of the title are Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, Guy, Marquis de Mailly-Nesle.
The title referred to Orange in the Vaucluse department in the Rhone valley of southern France, a property of the House of Orange of the House of Baux and the House of Châlon-Arlay before passing in 1544 to the House of Orange-Nassau. The Principality originated as the County of Orange, a fief in the Holy Roman Empire, in the Empire's constituent Kingdom of Burgundy, it was awarded to William of Gellone, a grandson of Charles Martel and therefore a cousin of Charlemagne, around the year 800 for his services in the wars against the Moors and in the reconquest of southern France and the Spanish March. His Occitan name is Guilhem. William ruled as count of Toulouse, duke of Aquitaine, marquis of Septimania; the horn that came to symbolize Orange when heraldry came in vogue much in the 12th century represented a pun on William of Gellone's name in French, from the character his deeds inspired in the chanson de geste, the Chanson de Guillaume: "Guillaume au Court-nez" or its homophone "Guillaume au Cornet".
The chanson appears to incorporate material relating to William of Gellone's battle at the Orbieu or Orbiel river near Carcassonne in 793 as well as to his seizure of the town of Orange. As the kingdom of Burgundy fragmented in the early Middle Ages, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa elevated the lordship of Orange to a principality in 1163 to shore up his supporters in Burgundy against the Pope and the King of France; as the Empire's boundaries retreated from those of the principality, the prince acceded to the sovereign rights that the Emperor exercised. As William the Silent wrote in his marriage proposal to the uncle of his second wife, the Elector August of Saxony, he held Orange as "my own free property", not as a fief of any suzerain; that historical position of honor and reputation would drive William the Silent forward, as much as it fueled the opposition of his great grandson William III to Louis XIV, when that king invaded and occupied Orange. The last descendant of the original princes, René of Châlon, left the principality to his cousin William the Silent, not a descendant of the original Orange family but the heir to the principality of Orange by testament, however in violation against the inheritance pattern enacted by the last will of Marie des Baux, the Princess of Orange through kinship to whom Prince René derived his own right thereto.
In 1673, Louis XIV of France annexed all territory of the principality to France and to the royal domain, as part of the war actions against the stadtholder William III of Orange — who became King William III of Great Britain. Orange ceased to exist as a sovereign realm, de facto. In 1673, Louis XIV bestowed the titular princedom on Louis Charles de Mailly, Marquis de Nesle, whose wife was a direct descendant, heiress-general by primogeniture, of the original princes of Orange. After the marquis, the next holder was Louis of Mailly-Nesle, marquis de Nesle. Although no longer descended from Louis-Charles, a branch of the Mailly family still claim the title today. In 1714 Louis XIV bestowed the usufruct of the principality on his kinsman, Louis Armand of Bourbon, Prince de Conti. After his death in 1727 the principality was deemed merged in the Crown by 1731; because William III died without legitimate children, the principality was regarded as having been inherited by his closest cognate relative on the basis of the testament of Frederic-Henry, Frederick I of Prussia, who ceded the principality — at least the lands, but not the formal title — to France in 1713.
France supported his claim. In this way, the territory of the principality lost its feudal and secular privileges and became a part of France; the Treaty of Utrecht allowed the King of Prussia to erect part of the duchy of Gelderland into a new Principality of Orange. The kings of Prussia and the German emperors styled themselves Princes of Orange till 1918. An agnatic relative of William III, John William Friso of Nassau, cognatically desc
William the Silent
William I, Prince of Orange known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn, or more known as William of Orange, was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, he became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands he is known as Father of the Fatherland. A wealthy nobleman, William served the Habsburgs as a member of the court of Margaret of Parma, governor of the Spanish Netherlands. Unhappy with the centralisation of political power away from the local estates and with the Spanish persecution of Dutch Protestants, William joined the Dutch uprising and turned against his former masters; the most influential and politically capable of the rebels, he led the Dutch to several successes in the fight against the Spanish.
Declared an outlaw by the Spanish king in 1580, he was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard in Delft in 1584. William was born on 24 April 1533 at Dillenburg castle in the County of Nassau-Dillenburg, in the Holy Roman Empire, he was the eldest son of William, Count of Nassau by his second wife Juliana of Stolberg-Wernigerode. William's father had one surviving daughter by his previous marriage, his mother had four surviving children by her previous marriage, his parents had twelve children together, of. The family was religiously devout and William was raised a Lutheran. In 1544, William's agnatic first cousin, René of Châlon, Prince of Orange, died childless. In his testament, René of Chalon named William the heir to all his estates and titles, including that of Prince of Orange, on the condition that he receive a Roman Catholic education. William's father acquiesced to this condition on behalf of his 11-year-old son, this was the founding of the house of Orange-Nassau. Besides the principality of Orange and significant lands in Germany, William inherited vast estates in the Low Countries from his cousin.
Because of his young age, Emperor Charles V, the overlord of most of these estates, served as regent until William was old enough to rule them himself. William was sent to the Netherlands to receive the required Roman Catholic education, first at the family's estate in Breda and in Brussels, under the supervision of Mary of Hungary, governor of the Habsburg Netherlands. In Brussels, he was taught foreign languages and received a military and diplomatic education under the direction of Champagney, brother of Granvelle. On 6 July 1551, William married Anna van Egmond en Buren and heiress of Maximiliaan van Egmond, an important Dutch nobleman. Anna's father had died in 1548, therefore William became Lord of Egmond and Count of Buren upon his wedding day; the marriage was a happy one and produced three children. Anna died on 24 March 1558, aged 25. Being a ward of Charles V and having received his education under the tutelage of the Emperor's sister Mary, William came under the particular attention of the imperial family, became a favorite.
He was appointed captain in the cavalry in 1551 and received rapid promotion thereafter, becoming commander of one of the Emperor's armies at the age of 22. This was in 1555, when Charles V sent him to Bayonne with an army to take the city in a siege from the French. William was made a member of the Raad van State, the highest political advisory council in the Netherlands, it was in November of the same year that the gout-afflicted Emperor Charles V leaned on William's shoulder during the ceremony when he abdicated his Spanish possessions in favour of his son, Philip II of Spain. In 1559, Phillip appointed William stadtholder of the provinces of Holland and Utrecht, thereby increasing his political power. A stadtholdership over Franche-Comté followed in 1561. Although he never directly opposed the Spanish king, William soon became one of the most prominent members of the opposition in the Council of State, together with Philip de Montmorency, Count of Hoorn, Lamoral, Count of Egmont, they were seeking more political power for themselves against the de facto government of Count Berlaymont and Viglius of Aytta, but for the Dutch nobility and, for the Estates, complained that too many Spaniards were involved in governing the Netherlands.
William was dissatisfied with the increasing persecution of Protestants in the Netherlands. Brought up as a Lutheran and a Catholic, William was religious but was still a proponent of freedom of religion for all people; the activity of the Inquisition in the Netherlands, directed by Cardinal Granvelle, prime minister to the new governor Margaret of Parma, increased opposition to Spanish rule among the mostly Catholic population of the Netherlands. Lastly, the opposition wished to see an end to the presence of Spanish troops. According to the Apology, William's letter of justification, published and read to the States General in December 1580, his resolve to expel the Spaniards from the Netherlands had originated when, in the summer of 1559, he and the Duke of Alva had been sent to France as hostages for the proper fulfillment o
Eighty Years' War
The Eighty Years' War or Dutch War of Independence was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands and Luxembourg against Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces. Under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance, they were able to oust the Habsburg armies, in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The war continued in other areas; the Dutch Republic was recognized by Spain and the major European powers in 1609 at the start of the Twelve Years' Truce. Hostilities broke out again as part of the broader Thirty Years' War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, when the Dutch Republic was definitively recognised as an independent country no longer part of the Holy Roman Empire; the Peace of Münster is sometimes considered the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.
There are numerous causes that led to the Eighty Years' War but the primary reasons could be classified into two: resentment towards the Spanish authority and religious tension. The first was articulated by the Dutch nobility who wanted to regain power and privileges lost in favor of the King, so they settled the thought that Phillip II was surrounded by evil advisors; this developed into an overarching discontent against the absolutist Spanish regime. Religious resistance, on the other hand, came with the imposition of an ecclesiastical hierarchy for all of the Spanish territories; this created resistance in the Dutch provinces, which embraced the Reformation. In the decades preceding the war, the Dutch became discontented with Spanish rule. A major concern involved the heavy taxation imposed on the population, while support and guidance from the government was hampered by the size of the Spanish empire. At that time, the Seventeen Provinces were known in the empire as De landen van herwaarts over and in French as Les pays de par deça – "those lands around there".
The Dutch provinces were continually criticised for acting without permission from the throne, while it was impractical for them to gain permission for actions, as requests sent to the throne would take at least four weeks for a response to return. The presence of Spanish troops under the command of the Duke of Alba, brought in to oversee order, further amplified this unrest. Spain attempted a policy of strict religious uniformity for the Catholic Church within its domains, enforced it with the Inquisition; the Reformation meanwhile produced a number of Protestant denominations, which gained followers in the Seventeen Provinces. These included the Lutheran movement of Martin Luther, the Anabaptist movement of the Dutch reformer Menno Simons, the Reformed teachings of John Calvin; this growth led to the 1566 Beeldenstorm, the "Iconoclastic Fury", in which many churches in northern Europe were stripped of their Catholic statuary and religious decoration. In October 1555, Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire began the gradual abdication of his several crowns.
His son Philip II took over as sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands, which at the time was a personal union of seventeen provinces with little in common beyond their sovereign and a constitutional framework. This framework, assembled during the preceding reigns of Burgundian and Habsburg rulers, divided power between city governments, local nobility, provincial States, royal stadtholders, the States General of the Netherlands, the central government assisted by three councils: the Council of State, the Privy Council and the Council of Finances; the balance of power was weighted toward the local and regional governments. Philip did not govern in person but appointed Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy as governor-general to lead the central government. In 1559 he appointed his half-sister Margaret of Parma as the first Regent, who governed in close co-operation with Dutch nobles like William, Prince of Orange, Philip de Montmorency, Count of Hoorn, Lamoral, Count of Egmont. Philip introduced a number of councillors in the Council of State, foremost among these Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, a French-born cardinal who gained considerable influence in the Council, much to the chagrin of the Dutch council members.
When Philip left for Spain in 1559 political tension was increased by religious policies. Not having the liberal-mindedness of his father Charles V, Philip was a fervent enemy of the Protestant movements of Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Anabaptists. Charles had outlawed heresy in special placards that made it a capital offence, to be prosecuted by a Dutch version of the Inquisition, leading to the executions of over 1,300 people between 1523 and 1566. Towards the end of Charles' reign enforcement had become lax. Philip, insisted on rigorous enforcement, which caused widespread unrest. To support and strengthen the attempts at Counter-Reformation Philip launched a wholesale organisational reform of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands in 1559, which resulted in the inclusion of fourteen dioceses instead of the old three; the new hierarchy was to be headed by Granvelle as archbishop of the new archdiocese of Mechelen. The reform was unpopular with the old church hierarchy, as the new dioceses were to be financed by the transfer of a number of rich abbey
States General of the Netherlands
The States General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both chambers meet at the Binnenhof in The Hague; the States General originated in the 15th century as an assembly of all the provincial states of the Burgundian Netherlands. In 1579, during the Dutch Revolt, the States General split as the northern provinces rebelled against Philip II, the northern States General replaced Philip II as the supreme authority of the Dutch Republic in 1581; the States General were replaced by the National Assembly after the Batavian Revolution of 1795, only to be restored in 1814, when the country had regained its sovereignty. The States General was divided into a Senate and a House of Representatives in 1815, with the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. After the constitutional amendment of 1848, members of the House of Representatives were directly elected, the rights of the States General were vastly extended establishing parliamentary democracy in the Netherlands.
Since 1918, the members of the House of Representatives are elected for four years using party-list proportional representation, while the 75 members of the Senate are elected by the States-Provincial every four years. On exceptional occasions, the two houses form a joint session known as the United Assembly; the President of the Senate serves as President of the States General during a United Assembly. Ankie Broekers-Knol has been President of the Senate since 2013; the archaic Dutch word staten related to the feudal classes in which medieval European societies were stratified. The word came to mean the political body in which the respective estates were represented; each province in the Habsburg Netherlands had its own staten. These representative bodies in turn were represented in the assembly that came to be known as Staten-Generaal, or Algemene Staten; the English word "states" may have a similar meaning as the Dutch word staten, as in e.g. States of Jersey; the English phrases "States General" is a literal translation of the Dutch word.
The same term was used for the name of other national legislatures as, for example, the Catalan and Valencian Generalitat and the Estates General of France during the Ancien Régime. Several geographic place names are derived from the States General. In 1609, Henry Hudson established Dutch trade in Staten Island, New York City and named the island Staaten Eylandt after the States General. Isla de los Estados, now an Argentine island, was named after this institution, the Spanish name being a translation of the Dutch name. Abel Tasman gave the name Staten Landt to what would become New Zealand. Staaten River is a river in Australia; the convocation of the States General consisted of delegates from the States of the several provinces, like the States of Brabant, dated from about the middle of the 15th century, under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy. The first important session was the Estates General of 1464 that met on 9 January 1464 in Bruges, Flanders, on the initiative of the States of Holland, the States of Flanders, the States of Brabant, with the reluctant agreement of Philip the Good.
Regular sessions were held at Coudenberg in Brussels, Brabant. The next important event was the convocation of the States General by the ducal Council for 3 February 1477 after the death of Charles the Bold. In this session the States General forced the grant of the Great Privilege by Mary of Burgundy in which the right of the States General to convene on their own initiative was recognised; the main function of the States General in these early years was to form a platform for the central government to discuss matters of general importance with the States of the provinces the special subsidies known as beden or aides. Legislative and executive functions were still reserved for the Sovereign in these years At the start of the Dutch Revolt the States General remained loyal to the overlord of the Habsburg Netherlands, Philip II of Spain. In 1576 the States General as a whole, however rebelled against the Spanish crown. In 1579 the States General split as a number of southern provinces, united in the Union of Arras returned to obedience, while other provinces, united in the Union of Utrecht continued the rebellion.
After the Act of Abjuration in 1581 the northern States General replaced Philip II as the supreme authority of the northern Netherlands, which became known as the United Provinces. This was a confederation; these delegated representatives to the States General as a kind of ambassadors acting with a mandate limited by instruction and obligatory consultation. The States General, in which the voting was by province, each of the seven provinces having one vote, took on many executive functions after the Council of State of the Netherlands had temporarily come under English influence, due to the Treaty of Nonsuch; the States General for this reason since 1593 remained continually in session until their dissolution in 1795. The presidency rotated weekly among the senior representatives of the provinces. Under the Union of Utrecht treaty the States General formally was the sovereign power, representing the Republic in foreign affa