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The Netherlands is the largest of the four countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Large parts of the land and the majority of the people are well below sea-level.
The country spends serious money to keep everything dry and safe. Today the dikes and dunes are designed to withstand an extreme 1 in 10.000 years flood.  
Government and Parliament are located in Den Haag, Amsterdam is the country's capital and Rotterdam is Europe's largest seaport.
Sea level and river-flows continuously changed the lower-lying lands so prehistoric finds come mainly from the higher grounds, like the hunebeds in Drenthe province.
Hunter-gatheres arrived 10.000 years ago and by 2000 BC most people had changed over to agriculture.
The  Frisian Kingdom with Dorestad as center  was a lose alliance of several smaller entities and soon disappeared around 750 AD.
The Dutch Republic was created in 1581 after declaring independence from Spain. The ensuing war dragged on for 80 years but in the end the Dutch won.
The 17th century was the Dutch Golden Age. The ships of the VOC gathered huge wealth from its colonies and harbors in Asia, making the Republic a superpower.
Since 1815 the Netherlands is a parliamentary constituional monarchy under the House of Oranje-Nassau.
As one of the founding fathers of the EU and the Euro zone the Netherlands today is a very prosperous and liberal country.
Den Haag
Den Bosch
Zaanse Schans
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