Portal:Netherlands

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Welcome to the Netherlands Portal!
Welkom bij het Nederlandportaal!

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Location of the Netherlands within Europe

The Netherlands is one of four constituent countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch, located in northwestern Europe. It borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east.
Since 2010, the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius have become part of the country of the Netherlands, whereas Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are considered separate countries within the Kingdom, however only the Kingdom functions internationally as a sovereign state.

Although the Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, this use is strictly incorrect, as Holland is a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands, consisting of only two of the country's twelve provinces. The country's constitutional capital is Amsterdam, but the seat of government is in The Hague. The Hague also locates most international embassies, as well as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

The Netherlands is a very densely populated and geographically one of the most low-lying countries in the world (its name literally means "Low lands") that is popularly famous for, among other things, its dikes and canals, windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, bicycles and social tolerance. Its liberal policies, for instance regarding drugs, homosexuality or prostitution receive international attention.
As of 2014 the country ranks fourth in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index, or third on the inequality-adjusted H.D.I.. The Netherlands also ranked as the fourth happiest country in the world in the U.N.'s 2013 World Happiness Report, reflecting its high quality of life.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights
The Garden of Earthly Delights (or The Millennium) is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating from 1503 and 1504, when Bosch was about 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work. Bosch's masterpiece reveals the artist at the height of his powers; in no other painting does he achieve such complexity of meaning or such vivid imagery. The triptych depicts several biblical and heretical scenes on a grand scale and as a "true triptych", as defined by Hans Belting, was probably intended to illustrate the history of mankind according to medieval Christian doctrine.

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A dance troupe in the 2010 Rotterdam Summer Carnival parade.
Credit: Flickr user FaceMePLS

The Summer Carnival (Dutch: Zomercarnaval) is a yearly festivity in the cities Rotterdam, Bentelo and Arnhem that mimics the Carnaval of Latin America and the Cape Verde Islands. The Arnhem Rio on the Rhine attracts more than 150.000 visitors, while the Rotterdam event attracts nearly a million visitors yearly.

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Jan Peter Balkenende
Jan Pieter "Jan Peter" Balkenende, Jr. (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɑn ˈpeːtər ˈbɑlkənˌɛndə]; born 7 May 1956) is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 until 14 October 2010. Balkenende, a jurist by occupation, worked for the Academic Council and the Christian Democratic Appeal Think tank from 1982 until 1998. Balkenende became a professor of Christian theology at the VU University Amsterdam in 1993. He was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the Dutch general election of 1998, serving from 19 May 1998 until 22 July 2002. After the then Leader of the CDA and Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stepped down, Balkenende was selected to succeed him in both positions, and became the top candidate for the Dutch general election of 2002. The CDA became the surprising winner of the election, gaining 14 seats becoming the largest party in the House of Representatives.

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