Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.

The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland) is a charming small country in the low-lying river delta of northwestern Europe. Its landscape of famously flat lands, much of it reclaimed from the sea, is dotted with windmills, blooming tulip fields and picturesque villages. With over 17 million people living in a relatively small area, this is a densely populated modern European country. Still, even the largest of its cities have retained a rather laid-back small-town atmosphere and many are packed with historic heritage.
The country is commonly referred to as Holland, but this name refers only to two of its twelve provinces and is unpopular among Dutch people who aren't from North or South Holland.
After the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648) that led to the country's de facto independence from Spain in 1581, the Netherlands became a great naval power and one of the world's most powerful nations in a period known as the Dutch Golden Age. Because of its naval and trading history, this small nation boasts a wealth of cultural heritage visible in many towns across the country. This period also constituted a cultural peak that produced renowned painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer. Their works and many others fill the top-class Dutch museums that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Over the course of centuries, the Netherlands has gained a reputation for tolerance and progressivism: the country was the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and Dutch people generally have an open attitude to cannabis and prostitution. As a founding member of the EU and NATO and host to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands is at the heart of international cooperation.
With its international airport Schiphol and its advanced network of motorways and international high speed train lines, the Netherlands is easy to reach from anywhere. Its small size, welcoming attitude and interesting sights make it a unique and easy to discover destination and a great addition to any European trip.



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