About: the Netherlands
The Netherlands or Holland is a Parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch located mainly in North-West Europe and with parts in the Caribbean. Its monarch is King Willem-Alexander of Orange-Nassau.
Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as Holland, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces.
The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union (EU), NATO, OECD and WTO.
With Belgium and Luxembourg it forms the Benelux economic union.
The Netherlands has a capitalist market-based economy, ranking 15th of 157 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom.
The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 25% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one metre above sea level.
The BES islands, or Caribbean Netherlands, became part of the Netherlands proper after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010.
The Netherlands is divided into twelve administrative regions, called provinces, each under a Governor, who is called 'Commissioner of the Queen'. All provinces are divided into municipalities (gemeenten), 430 in total (13 March 2010). The administrative structure on the 3 BES islands is different. The islands have the status of 'Public Bodies' and are generally referred to as special municipalities. They are not part of a province.
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