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Flag of the Netherlands
National Anthem of the Netherlands (Het Wilhelmus)
Location of the European part of the Netherlands

The Netherlands, informally Holland, is a country located in Western Europe with territories in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, the Netherlands consists of twelve provinces and in the Caribbean, it consists of three special municipalities: the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.


  • There will never be a revolution in the Netherlands, because you are not allowed to walk on the grass there.
    • Full quote with translation help from Google: "A few weeks ago I wrote an article in NRC Handelsblad in which I quoted Karl Marx. There will never be a revolution in the Netherlands, because you are not allowed to walk on the grass there, and the Dutch do not do that. Some 150 years ago this would have been the absolute national truth, except for Multatuli, whose hero Woutertje Pieterse expresses a completely different view in his Robber Song..."
  • But 'the' Dutch identity? No, I have not found it. The Netherlands is: large windows without curtains so everyone can look in; but also adherence to privacy and coziness. The Netherlands is: one biscuit at tea; but also great hospitality and warmth. The Netherlands is: sobriety, control and pragmatism; but also the experience of intense emotions together. The Netherlands is far too diverse to summarize in one cliché. 'The' Dutchman does not exist. As a consolation I can tell you that 'the' Argentinian also does not exist. I therefore find it very interesting that the title of the report of the Scientific Council for Government Policy is not 'the Dutch identity'. But: Identification with the Netherlands. That leaves room for development and diversity.
  • But arguably the greatest achievement of the Dutch lay in creating a republic free from aristocratic or clerical domination, as the expulsion of the feudally inclined Spanish overlords empowered the bourgeoisie. The Dutch expanded human rights, including those of religious minorities and women, and cultivated a keen interest in children and the nuclear family. Dutch culture was family-centered, inventive, sober, frugal, and tolerant. A separation of science and philosophy from religion was exemplified in the writings of Baruch Spinoza, among others. Although majority Calvinist, the country boasted large colonies of Catholics, Jews, and other outsiders, including Muslims; roughly a third of Amsterdam's population in 1650 were foreign-born. Some immigrants came as merchants or artisans, but even the poorest, observed one Dutchman in 1692, "cannot die of hunger if he works hard." As late as the eighteenth century, the Dutch Republic was regarded as a poor country, and the British viewed it as "the indigested vomit of the sea." But the reclaimed land helped raise a substantial class of small landowners at a time when most property in Europe was owned by the aristocracy or the church. The growing ranks of proprietors were the heart of Dutch dynamism, and they set down "the geographical roots of republican liberty," notes the historian Simon Schama.
    • Joel Kotkin, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: The Rise and Decline of Upward Mobility (2020), p. 76

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