THE NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces which are: Drenthe; Flevoland; Friesland; Gelderland;Groningen; Limburg; North Brabant; North Holland; Overjssel; Utrecht; Zeeland and South Holland. The Netherlands is often called Holland because of the role North and South Holland played in its history. The Netherlands contains the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other well-known Dutch cities such as Delft, Leiden and Haarlem. However, officially it is the Kingdom of the Netherlands and consists of three parts: the Netherlands itself in Western Europe, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean. It is geographically a low country with about a quarter of its land lying below sea level. The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe and one of the most densely populated countries in the world but it is quite small in size being only 41,528 square kilometres. For historical reasons the government and parliament are in The Hague, but Amsterdam is the capital. Dutch is the national language of Holland but English is spoken by almost everyone.