Portal:Netherlands

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Welcome to the Netherlands Portal!
Welkom bij het Nederlandportaal!

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Location of the Netherlands within Europe

The Netherlands is one of four constituent countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch, located in northwestern Europe. It borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east.
Since 2010, the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius have become part of the country of the Netherlands, whereas Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are considered separate countries within the Kingdom, however only the Kingdom functions internationally as a sovereign state.

Although the Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, this use is strictly incorrect, as Holland is a region in the central-western part of the Netherlands, consisting of only two of the country's twelve provinces. The country's constitutional capital is Amsterdam, but the seat of government is in The Hague. The Hague also locates most international embassies, as well as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

The Netherlands is a very densely populated and geographically one of the most low-lying countries in the world (its name literally means "Low lands") that is popularly famous for, among other things, its dikes and canals, windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, bicycles and social tolerance. Its liberal policies, for instance regarding drugs, homosexuality or prostitution receive international attention.
As of 2014 the country ranks fourth in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index, or third on the inequality-adjusted H.D.I.. The Netherlands also ranked as the fourth happiest country in the world in the U.N.'s 2013 World Happiness Report, reflecting its high quality of life.

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Treaty of Butre
The Treaty of Butre was concluded between the Netherlands and Ahanta and signed at Butre, Gold Coast on 27 August 1656. The treaty regulated the jurisdiction of the Netherlands and the Dutch West India Company over the town of Butre and the surrounding country of Upper Ahanta, factually creating a Dutch protectorate over the area, which would last until the Dutch departure from the Gold Coast in April 1872.

The country of Ahanta, in what is now the Western Region of the Republic of Ghana, constituted a regional power in the form of a confederacy of chiefdoms which had come in early contact with the European nations settling on the Gold Coast for the purpose of trade.

In the middle of the seventeenth century the two European competitors in the area were the Dutch West India Company and the Swedish Africa Company. The European powers allied themselves with African states and chiefs in order to gain a sustainable upper hand. In this case the African allies were the Ahanta chiefdoms on the one hand and the state of Encasser, a political entity of which little is known, on the other.

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The bend in the Herengracht, Amsterdam
Credit: Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde, 1685

The bend in the Herengracht, Amsterdam, by Dutch artist Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde, depicts life in the Dutch Golden Age, a highly prosperous period of Dutch history. The period lasted roughly the whole of the seventeenth century and saw Dutch trade, science, and art being among the most acclaimed in the world.

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Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller
Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller, GON, RNL, FRGS was a Dutch businessman, diplomat, world traveller, publicist, and philanthropist. He was a son of Hendrik Muller Sz., a Rotterdam-based Dutch businessman and politician, and Marie Cornelie van Rijckevorsel, member of another prominent Rotterdam based business family.

Muller started his career as a businessman, trading with East and West Africa. In his mid-twenties he travelled to Zanzibar, Mozambique, and South Africa for business purposes, but showed himself a keen ethnographer as well, collecting ethnographic artifacts and writing reports about the societies and people he encountered on his way. In 1890, Muller retired from business for personal reasons, and went to Germany to study ethnography and geography. He graduated with a Ph.D. dissertation four years later.

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