The Netherlands is on the North Sea coast of Western Europe and bordering Germany and Belgium. It was formed in 1579 when independence from Spanish control was declared. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815 by which time it had become a major trading country with numerous overseas colonies.
A large part of the country has been reclaimed from the sea with around 20% being below sea level and having rivers and canals.
The Netherlands is the most heavily populated European country and whilst there are many conurbations few of them are large with most cities having a population below 100,000. The capital Amsterdam is the largest urban centre but it only has a population of approximately 750,000. It is the main tourist destination. Other cities include The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven. The Dutch countryside has many windmills and tulip fields.
Western ex-patriots choose the Netherlands because of the high standard of living and stable economy. It has one of the most beneficial European Social Welfare systems. Crime rate is low and most Dutch people speak English. The Netherlands is a popular choice for working ex-patriots, retirees are rare, due to the cost of living. Immigration has been elevated in recent years generally from other European countries.
Despite its small geographic size the Netherlands is highly prosperous with a very strong economy and high living standard. Its economy is largely due to foreign trade and its geographic location as a transportation hub. Rotterdam is the largest sea port in the world.
The Netherlands is a very attractive location for large multinational companies. e.g. Shell, Unilever, and Heineken.
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