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Europe, Netherlands

Netherlands, The, also known unofficially as Holland, constitutional monarchy of northwestern Europe, bordered on the north and west by the North Sea, on the east by Germany, and on the south by Belgium. With Belgium and Luxembourg, The Netherlands forms the Low, or Benelux, Countries. The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, islands in the Caribbean, are part of The Netherlands. The European portion of The Netherlands has a total area of 41,526 sq km (16,033 sq mi), of which 33,939 sq km (13,104 sq mi) is land surface. The country's capital and largest city is Amsterdam.

In the late 16th century a Dutch revolt against the authority of the king of Spain, at the time ruler of what now constitutes the Low Countries, succeeded in the northern provinces, which later became the Netherlands. The Dutch Republic, officially established in 1648, fell in 1795 when the armies of Revolutionary France imposed a pro-French government. In 1810, France annexed the Netherlands, but with the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 to 1815, the present Dutch state, officially called the Kingdom of the Netherlands, came into being. Originally Belgium was part of this new kingdom, but it seceded in 1830 and formed an independent country. The present boundaries of The Netherlands are essentially those established after the secession of Belgium, although they are similar to the borders of the Dutch Republic.

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