The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland [ˈneːdərlɑnt] (listen)), 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, bordering Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. In the Caribbean, it consists of three special municipalities: the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The country's official language is Dutch, with West Frisian as a secondary official language in the province of Friesland, and English and Papiamento as secondary official languages in the Caribbean Netherlands. Dutch Low Saxon and Limburgish are recognised regional languages (spoken in the east and southeast respectively), while Dutch Sign Language, Sinte Romani, and Yiddish are recognised non-territorial languages.
The four largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Amsterdam is the country's most populous city and nominal capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General, Cabinet and Supreme Court. The Port of Rotterdam is the busiest seaport in Europe. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the busiest airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest in Europe. The country is a founding member of the European Union, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD, and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centred in The Hague, which is consequently dubbed 'the world's legal capital'.
Netherlands literally means "lower countries" in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 m (3.3 ft) above sea level, and nearly 26% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 14th century. Colloquially or informally the Netherlands is occasionally referred to by the pars pro toto Holland. In the Republican period, which began in 1588, the Netherlands entered a unique era of political, economic, and cultural greatness, ranked among the most powerful and influential in Europe and the world; this period is known as the Dutch Golden Age. During this time, its trading companies, the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, established colonies and trading posts all over the world.
With a population of 17.5 million people, all living within a total area of roughly 41,800 km2 (16,100 sq mi)—of which the land area is 33,500 km2 (12,900 sq mi)—the Netherlands is the 16th most densely populated country in the world and the second-most densely populated country in the European Union, with a density of 523 people per square kilometre (1,350 people/sq mi). Nevertheless, it is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products by value, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture, and inventiveness.
The Netherlands has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848. The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion, prostitution and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a liberal drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in Civil Law in 1870, though it was not completely removed until a new constitution was approved in 1983. The Netherlands allowed women's suffrage in 1919, before becoming the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. Its mixed-market advanced economy had the eleventh-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indices of press freedom, economic freedom, human development and quality of life, as well as happiness. In 2020, it ranked eighth on the human development index and fifth on the 2021 World Happiness Index.
Biodiversity[edit | edit source]
In the 1980s, the Dutch government began introducing proxy species in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve, an area covering over 56 square kilometres (22 sq mi), in order to recreate a grassland ecology. Though not explicitly referred to as rewilding, nevertheless many of the goals and intentions of the project were in line with those of rewilding. The reserve is considered somewhat controversial due to the lack of predators and other native megafauna such as wolves, bears, lynx, elk, boar, and wisent. Between 800 and 1150 wild koniks live in the Oostvaardersplassen. The horses were reintroduced together with heck cattle and red deer to keep the landscape open by natural grazing. This provided habitat for geese who are key species in the wetlands of the area. The grazing of geese Made it possible for reetlands to remain and therefore conserved many protected birds species. This is a prime example how water and land ecosystems are connected and how reintroducing keystone species can conserve other protected species.
Community energy[edit | edit source]
Hoofdpagina - WindParken, Wiki used in the Netherlands to plan windturbines, to realise a CO2 cut of 20 to 30%. (in Dutch)
Cycling activism[edit | edit source]
More video: Cycling for everyone
How the Dutch got their cycle paths on youtube
Cycling and social inclusion
Food activism[edit | edit source]
Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle[edit | edit source]
Road safety[edit | edit source]
A woonerf (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋoːnɛr(ə)f]) is a living street, as originally implemented in the Netherlands and in Flanders (Belgium). Techniques include shared space, traffic calming, and low speed limits.
The term "woonerf" has been adopted directly by some English-language publications. In the UK, these areas are called home zones.
Sharing[edit | edit source]
Towards sustainable economies[edit | edit source]
Basic income[edit | edit source]
In the Netherlands, municipal-level basic income experiments have faced setbacks and changes in the quest to meet compliance with federal law; however, as of October (2017), several cities have now launched experiments with the removal of conditions on social assistance benefits. 
Other initiatives[edit | edit source]
Resources[edit | edit source]
Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]
Research[edit | edit source]
- International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS)
- Working Group on Development Techniques
Video[edit | edit source]
Other resources[edit | edit source]
News and comment[edit | edit source]
see separate article: Netherlands news
Events[edit | edit source]
November 29 Buy Nothing Day (in Dutch)
Near you[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia: Netherlands
- Hivos international, Dutch organization for development. Hivos provides financial support to organizations in Africa, Latin America and Asia, it provides advocacy and it supports knowledge sharing in particular in the field of social change, digital activism and rural innovations. W