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The Republic of the Netherlands is a republic located in Europe.
Republiek der Nederlanden
OTL equivalent: Netherlands, Flanders
|Other cities||Amsterdam, Brussel, Brugge, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Gent|
Dutch Republic (1581–1795)
Main articles: Dutch Republic, Dutch Golden Age and Evolution of the Dutch Empire
After declaring their independence, the provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Groningen, Friesland, Utrecht, Overijssel, and Gelderland formed a confederation. All these duchies, lordships and counties were autonomous and had their own government, the States-Provincial. The States General, the confederal government, were seated in The Hague and consisted of representatives from each of the seven provinces. The sparsely populated region of Drenthe was part of the republic too, although it was not considered one of the provinces. Moreover, the Republic had come to occupy during the Eighty Years' War a number of so-called Generality Lands in Flanders, Brabantand Limburg. Their population was mainly Roman Catholic, and these areas did not have a governmental structure of their own, and were used as a buffer zone between the Republic and the Spanish-controlled Southern Netherlands.
In the Dutch Golden Age, spanning much of the 17th century, the Dutch Empire grew to become one of the major seafaring and economic powers. Science, military, and art (especially painting) were among the most acclaimed in the world. By 1650, the Dutch owned 16,000 merchant ships. The Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company established colonies and trading posts all over the world. The Dutch settlement in North America) began with the founding of New Amsterdam on the southern part of Manhattan in 1614. In South Africa, the Dutch settled the Cape Colony in 1652. Dutch colonies in South America were established along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana plains, among them Colony of Surinam (now Suriname). In Asia, the Dutch established the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and the only western trading post in Japan, Dejima.
Many economic historians regard the Netherlands as the first thoroughly capitalist country in the world. In early modern Europe it had the wealthiest trading city (Amsterdam) and the first full-time stock exchange. The inventiveness of the traders led to insurance and retirement funds as well as phenomena such as the boom-bust cycle, the world's first asset-inflation bubble, the tulip mania of 1636–1637, and the world's first bear raider, Isaac le Maire, who forced prices down by dumping stock and then buying it back at a discount. The republic went into a state of general decline in the later 18th century, with economic competition from England and long standing rivalries between the two main factions in Dutch society, the republican Staatsgezinden and the supporters of the stadtholder the Prinsgezinden, as main factors.
Batavian Republic and kingdom (1795–1890)
Main articles: Batavian Republic, Kingdom of Holland, United Kingdom of the Netherlands and Kingdom of the Netherlands
With the armed support of the revolutionary France, Dutch republicans proclaimed the Batavian Republic, modelled after the French Republic and rendering the Netherlands a unitary state in 19 January 1795. The stadtholder William V of Orange had fled to England. But from 1806 to 1810, Kingdom of Holland was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom governed by his brother Louis Bonaparte to control the Netherlands more effectively. However, King Louis Bonaparte tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's, and he was forced to abdicate on 1 July 1810. The Emperor sent in an army and the Netherlands became part of the French Empire until the autumn of 1813, when Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Leipzig.
A map of the Dutch colonial empire. Light green: territories administered by or originating from territories administered by the Dutch East India Company; dark green: the Dutch West India Company. In yellow the territories occupied later, during the 19th century.
William Frederick, son of the last stadtholder, returned to the Netherlands in 1813 and proclaimed himself Sovereign Prince of the Netherlands. Two years later, the Congress of Vienna added the southern Netherlands to the north to create a strong country on the northern border of France. William Frederick raised this United Netherlands to the status of a kingdom and proclaimed himself King William I. In addition, William became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg in exchange for his German possessions. However, the Southern Netherlands had been culturally separate from the north since 1581, and rebelled. The south gained independence in 1830 as Belgium, while the personal union between Luxembourg and the Netherlands was severed in 1890, when William III died with no surviving male heirs. Ascendancy laws prevented his daughter Queen Wilhelmina from becoming the next Grand Duchess.
The submission of Diponegoro to General De Kock at the end of the Java War in 1830; painting by Nicolaas Pieneman
The Belgian Revolution at home and the Java War in the Dutch East Indies brought the Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy. However, the Cultivation System was introduced in 1830; in the Dutch East Indies, 20% of village land had to be devoted to government crops for export. The policy brought the Dutch enormous wealth and made the colony self-sufficient. On the other hand, the colonies in the West Indies (Dutch Guiana and Curaçao and Dependencies), relied heavily on African slaves in which the Dutch part is estimated at 5-7 percent, or more than half a billion Africans. The Netherlands was one of the last countries to abolish slavery, in 1863. Furthermore, slaves in Suriname would be fully free only in 1873, since the law stipulated that there was to be a mandatory 10-year transition. The Dutch were also one of the last European countries to industrialise, in the second half of the 19th century.
World Wars and beyond (1890–2013)
Main articles: History of the Netherlands (1900–present) and Netherlands in World War II
Rotterdam after German air raids in 1940.
The Netherlands were able to remain neutral during World War I. In part, because Dutch neutrality - and the import of goods through the Netherlands - proved essential to German survival, until the blockade by the British Royal Navy in 1916. That changed in World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. The Rotterdam Blitz forced the main element of the Dutch army to surrender 4 days later. During the occupation, over 100,000 Dutch Jews were rounded up and transported to Nazi German extermination camps of whom only a few survived. Dutch workers were conscripted for forced labour in German factories, civilians who resisted were killed in reprisal for attacks on German soldiers, and the countryside was plundered for food for German soldiers. Although there were thousands of Dutch who risked their lives by hiding Jews from the Germans, local fascists joined the Waffen SS, fighting on the Eastern Front. Political collaborators were members of the fascistNSB, the only legal political party in the occupied Netherlands. On 8 December 1941, the Dutch government-in-exile in London declared war on Japan, but could not prevent the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). In 1944–45, the First Canadian Army, which included Canadian, British and Polish troops, was responsible for liberating much of the Netherlands. But soon after VE day, the Dutch fought a colonial war against the new republic of Indonesia.
The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union.
In 1954, the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands reformed the political structure of the Netherlands, and was a result of international pressure to carry out decolonisation. The Dutch colonies of Suriname and Curaçao and Dependencies and the European country known until then as the Kingdom of the Netherlands became all equal constituent countries within the now expanded Kingdom, on a basis of equality. Before the reform was completed, Indonesia declared its independence in August 1945, which was recognised in 1949, and thus has never been part of the Kingdom. After the war the Netherlands left behind also an era of neutrality and gained closer ties with neighboring states. The Netherlands was one of the founding members of the Benelux, the NATO, and the European Coal and Steel Community, which would evolve into the EEC (Common Market) and later the European Union.
Government-encouraged emigration efforts to reduce population density prompted some 500,000 Dutch people to leave the country after the war. The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great social and cultural change, such as rapid ontzuiling (literally: depillarisation), a term that describes the decay of the old divisions along political and religious lines. Youths, and students in particular, rejected traditional mores and pushed for change in matters such as women's rights, sexuality, disarmament and environmental issues. On 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Referendums were held on each island of the Netherlands Antilles between June 2000 and April 2005 to determine their future status. As a result the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the BES islands) were to obtain closer ties with the Netherlands. This led to the incorporation of these three islands into the country of the Netherlands as special municipalities upon the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. The special municipalities are collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands.
The Netherlands has a unique form of government, the Dutch Republic. It is only in use in the Netherlands.
The president is elected every 6 years. Reelection is possible, and a president can have 3 terms, after which he has to wait one term to possibly become president again. Any person can create a party. Currently, there are 7 main parties:
NRP(Dutch Republican Party)
NNP(Dutch Nationalist Party)