Netherlands
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Netherlands profile
located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde)
Netherlands history
The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU) and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In October 2010, the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and the three smallest islands - Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba - became special municipalities in the Netherlands administrative structure. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands and Aruba as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
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Conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Conventional short form: Netherlands
Local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
Local short form: Nederland
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Netherlands's capital city is Amsterdam
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Netherlands Constitution:

adopted 1815; amended many times
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Netherlands population growth rate: 0.44%
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Netherlands highest point: Mount Scenery 862 m (on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, now considered an integral part of the Netherlands following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles)
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Netherlands lowest point: Zuidplaspolder -7 m
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About 25% of Netherlands's land is arable.
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Rijn (Rhine River) is the Longest River in Netherlands
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Netherlands birth rate is 11 births/1,000 population
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Netherlands infant mortality rate is 4 deaths/1,000 live births
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Netherlands fertility rate is 1.78 children born/woman
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Netherlands climate:

temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters
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Top 10 cities of Netherlands with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Amsterdam: 798,164
2. Rotterdam: 615,752
3. The Hague: 504,260
4. Utrecht: 321,583
5. Eindhoven: 218,559
6. Tilburg: 208,429
7. Groningen: 195,511
8. Almere: 195,019
9. Breda: 178,366
10. Nijmegen: 166,492
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Netherlands ethnic groups:

Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Caribbean 0.8%, other 4.8%
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Netherlands Exports:

machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels; foodstuffs
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Netherlands Imports:

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
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bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils to serve four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve at most four-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie):
1. Drenthe
2. Flevoland
3. Fryslan (Friesland)
4. Gelderland
5. Groningen
6. Limburg
7. Noord-Brabant (North Brabant)
8. Noord-Holland (North Holland)
9. Overijssel
10. Utrecht
11. Zeeland (Zealand)
12. Zuid-Holland (South Holland)
Political parties and leaders:
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) - Sybrand VAN HAERSMA BUMA

Christian Union (CU) - Arie SLOB

Democrats 66 (D66) - Alexander PECHTOLD

Green Left (GL) - Bram VAN OJIK

Labor Party (PvdA) - Diederik SAMSOM

Party for Freedom (PVV) - Geert WILDERS

Party for the Animals (PvdD) - Marianne THIEME

People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) - Halbe ZIJLSTRA

Reformed Political Party of SGP - Kees VAN DER STAAIJ

Socialist Party of SP - Emile ROEMER

plus a few minor parties