The Netherlands is a nation in Western Europe. It borders Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. The Netherlands are a member of the European Union and the United Nations. Its capital and largest city is Amsterdam. The Dutch language is widely spoken, and Protestantism is the dominant religion.


The Netherlands were incorporated into the Roman Empire along with Gaul. After its fall, they became part of the Frankish kingdom. When Francia was split at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, it became part of Middle Francia.

In the medieval period, the Netherlands were one of the wealthiest regions of Europe, along with northern Italy. Most of the Netherlands' wealth derived from trade. The Netherlands were controlled by various small kingdoms and city-states, the most notable being the County of Holland.

In the sixteenth century, the Netherlands were conquered by the Kingdom of Spain. The Protestant Dutch launched the Eighty Years' War against Catholic Spain. The Spanish were unable to fully put down the revolt, and eventually the Dutch Republic was created.

The Dutch Republic had a golden age in the seventeenth century. It won several wars against the Kingdom of England, and became a trading superpower. However, its power waned after several defeats.

The Dutch participated in the Napoleonic Wars, and were annexed by France early in the wars. The Netherlands regained their independence after the Battle of Waterloo.

In 1830, the Netherlands were forced to grant Belgium, the southern part of the country, independence. In the nineteenth century, the Netherlands fully colonized Indonesia as the Dutch East Indies. It became a major rubber producing colony.

The Netherlands was invaded by Nazi Germany during World War II, and the Dutch East Indies were taken over by the Japanese. The Netherlands was liberated by the Allies in 1944.

In the 1940s, the Dutch East Indies fought a war of independence and gained independence as Indonesia. The Dutch aligned with the United States in the Cold War.

In the 1970s, oil was discovered in the North Sea and the Dutch economy boomed.

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