The Netherlands is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a small, densely populated country, lying mainly in Western Europe. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing with Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany. The largest and most important cities in the Netherlands are the country's capital Amsterdam, the city of the Dutch seat of government The Hague and Rotterdam with it's largest port in Europe.

The Netherlands' name literally means "Low Country", inspired by its low and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made. Since the late 16th century, large areas (polders) have been reclaimed from the sea and from lakes, amounting to nearly 17% of the country's current land mass. With a population density of 406 people per km² – 497 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is a very densely populated country for its size

Towards the end of the 16th century, Dutch ships, like those of other European nations, were heading for the east coast of America. More than 400 years ago, in 1609, Captain Henry Hudson visited present-day New York with his VOC ship the Halve Maen. The area discovered by Hudson was called New Netherland, with its capital being New Amsterdam, the city that grew into New York City.

The Netherlands officially handed over New York to England in 1674. More than a century later, the United States became an independent nation. The Netherlands was the first country to recognize the US as an independent country, after the declaration of independence drawn up by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 was signed by the various American colonies. This 'Declaration of Independence' is even partly based on the Dutch Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration) from 1581, with which the Netherlands declared itself independent from the Spanish king. In 1782, John Adams, the second president of the United States, was received by the States-General in The Hague as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America. On that same day, John Adams bought a house in The Hague, which became the first American Embassy in the world.

In the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), literature flourished with Joost van den Vondel and P. C. Hooft as the two most famous writers. In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in Dutch colonies. Important 20th century authors include Harry Mulisch, Jan Wolkers, Simon Vestdijk, Hella S. Haasse, Cees Nooteboom, Gerard (van het) Reve and Willem Frederik Hermans. Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she died in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.


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The Netherlands has had also many well-known painters. The 17th century, in which the Dutch Republic was prosperous, was the age of the "Dutch Masters", such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruysdael and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th and 20th century were Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. M. C. Escher is a well-known graphics artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in Rotterdam, although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist.

The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. All of Descartes' major work was done in the Netherlands. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) discovered Saturn's moon Titan, argued that light travelled as waves, invented the pendulum clock and was the first physicist to use mathematical formulae. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms with a microscope. Erasmus and Dirck Coornhert are important early representatives of humanism in the Netherlands in the 16th century. In the 17th century, especially Spinoza and Hugo Grotius were important. During the Age of Enlightenment (18th century), the importance of science and research increased sharply. Confidence in human understanding and logical reasoning was given shape in liberalism.

The German philosophers Ludwig Feuerbach and Kant and the evolution theory of Darwin, among other scientific theories in the 19th century, had an exceptionally strong influence and were a major step in the development of humanism in the country. The modern organized humanist movement began in the Netherlands in the mid-nineteenth century with the establishment of freethinkers association De Dageraad (Dawn). The members, including writer Multatuli and later Anton Constandse. Marx' socialism had a significant influence on the Dutch humanism of the 20th century.

Rembrandt, the Midnight Round



Lamoral, Count of Egmont (*), Prince of Gavere (18 November 1522 – 5 June 1568) was a general and statesman in the Spanish Netherlands just before the start of the Eighty Years' War, whose execution helped spark the national uprising that eventually led to the independence of the Netherlands. The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1581 (the Act of Abjuration); during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of food and agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU) and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In October 2010, the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and the three smallest islands - Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba - became special municipalities in the Netherlands administrative structure. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands and Aruba as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


This commemoration was a solemn and significant occasion, where we gathered to remember the victims of the tragic war and honor the heroism of soldiers, all the volunteers and also the unbreakable Ukrainian people. We were deeply moved by the outpouring of compassion and solidarity from all
who were in attendance (
  growth or contraction? what will the economy be in the 21st century?
Technology, innovation and sustainability will play an increasingly important role in our lives. How do we deal with this, what opportunities and dangers do we see, what role does AI play in this, and what does that mean for the choices we have to make as a country?

November 7, 2023, candidates from political parties debated with each other on the questions that determine the opportunities for innovative companies in the Netherlands.

Central questions were: patents, talents, what jobs to be fulfill in future, the role of new technologies, the need for climate transitions and how these will come about, how we will earn our money, and what political parties will do.

Discussed were issues and opportunities in the fields of digitalization (AI, impact on rights / the government is not open to give much space out of fear), energy (hydrogen), construction, food, innovation, investment and business climate. But as little regulation as possible for companies.


President Zelensky met with students  



President Zelensky met with students via livestream Leiden University on Campus The Hague, Tuesday 12 September, 2023

The city in the Netherlands not only has a university, but also hosts international organizations, (international) tribunals, ministries and several think tanks.


IO's and The Netherlands  

The Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G-10, NATO, OECD, WTO and a part of the trilateral Benelux economic union. The country is host to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EU's criminal intelligence agency Europol and judicial co-operation agency Eurojust. This has led to the city being dubbed "the world's legal capital". The Netherlands is also a part of the Schengen Area.

The Netherlands joined the UN Security Council in 2018. UPF organized a discussion of the nation’s greater role in international affairs and worldwide security issues. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Berend Stuit, a former submarine captain of the Royal Dutch Navy. He gave a brief explanation of the background of the topic and provided great moderatorship. The first speaker, Professor Nico Schrijver of the Faculty of Law of Leiden University, gave a concise narrative of the last century and the approaches and roles of the Netherlands in international affairs:

The selection of countries for the Security Council has various criteria, but in the end, Professor Schrijver argued, the main criterion should be what is best for the UN and its goals of peacekeeping and security, rather than what is convenient for any individual nation. He urged that we must focus on what we can do for the sake of peace and security, working together to make that happen.

The second speaker, a former minister of defense and former European diplomat, offered insights from his rich political and diplomatic career. As France is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, he suggested that the French could take on a broader European position to ensure EU representation. Ultimately, no country in the EU can do things alone—we must do things together with others.

Also posited was that we shouldn’t let UN mandates limit us. Whenever possible we should stay in line with the UN goals and interests; yet when the EU is blocked by a veto from one of the permanent Security Council members (particularly Russia or China), we must find different ways to be involved—for example, under the international rule of law, to be able to act on the right of self-defense. Another suggestion is to introduce a double-veto right, by which a minimum of two vetoes are needed to block a decision, instead of merely one.


  American-Dutch Friendship Day
Every year on April 19, the American-Dutch friendship day is celebrated. John Adams was a remarkable political philosopher who served as the second President of the United States from 1797 to 1801, after serving as the first Vice President under President George Washington.

John Adams was admitted by the States-General of the Dutch Republic on April 19, 1782, as Minister of the United States of America. Thanks to that, he obtained the second diplomatic recognition of the United States as an independent nation. In that same year, Adams signed the first Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the Netherlands and the United States as America’s first ambassador to the Netherlands. This treaty helped the United States to take its rightful place in the world as a sovereign state. The agreement strengthened the economic ties between the Netherlands and the United States that started in the 17th century, as diplomatic and consulair relations did.

In American colonial history, the Pilgrim Fathers, who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts, were the first permanent colony in New England (1620). They left Scrooby for Leiden and Leiden for Plymouth.
In 1982 President Ronald Reagan designated this day as Dutch-American Friendship Day. He explained that our relationship is “the United States’ longest unbroken, peaceful relationship with any foreign country.” The relationship between these two nations remains strong today, as evidenced by their robust economic ties and joint efforts in international and NATO missions. The U.S. and the Netherlands have values in common worth celebrating. This day commemorates the 4.5 million Americans who have Dutch heritage. It is also honored the sacrifices the U.S. has made to secure our freedom in the Netherlands.


  Macron in The Netherlands

Exactly 75 years after the Congress of Europe took place in The Hague – where Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer, Raymond Aron, Bertrand Russell, a young François Mitterrand, and other politicians and intellectuals sowed the seeds of what would become the European Union – and exactly 20 years after George Steiner’s famous Nexus Lecture The Idea of Europe, President Emmanuel Macron unfolded his ideas about the future of Europe, as part of his State Visit to the Netherlands.

This is our goal.

To achieve it, Europe has ceased to be naïve. It can now defend its interests, its values and its independence.

→ Europe's strength is its single market. By innovating, reforming, strengthening our education and training systems, mobilizing capital more effectively, we are continuing our efforts to bring out strong players who embody our sovereignty.

→ Advancing European industrial policy means better protecting our companies. This is the thrust of our strategy to combat distortions of competition, reduce our strategic dependencies, and protect our intellectual property.

→ The Net Zero Industry Act by simplifying our rules and procedures will allow us to accelerate the development of our industries that contribute to the climate transition.

→ A sector so essential for our industries, our economies and our societies, Europe had to invest in the semiconductors of the future. With the Chips Act, we stay in the race.

In France, we are going to double our production capacities by 2030. More than 5,000 jobs will be created!
→ With the mirror measures, we will ensure that, in order to access the European market, producers from third countries are subject to the same production rules as those of our Union.

This is essential, both to protect European consumers through strong standards that we already impose on ourselves, and for our businesses in the face of unfair competition.

→ In each trade negotiation, we must integrate sustainability criteria such as compliance with the Paris Agreement and the preservation of biodiversity, equity, balance, compatibility with our strategic interests.

This is consistent with our climate goals and we will benefit from it mutually.

We work for fair conditions of competition for our companies, for compliance by third countries with ambitious standards and universal values.

A Europe that defends its interests and its values, remains in control of its destiny, creates jobs, successfully completes its climate transition, this is what we are building.”


In the first half 2016, Netherlands contributes the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Presidency of the Council plays an essential role in the control of the legislative and political decision-making.

Europe in The Netherlands, The Netherlands in Europe

This year. the Federal Assembly European Movement International met in The Hague on the occasion of the Dutch Presidency to the EU. It brought together the 78 member organisations who shared their views on current political debates and upcoming actions

Welcomed was Mr Bert Koenders, former Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, who delivered the keynote speech.


The presiding Member State might have the freedom to set priorities. The President has an important role in getting alignment of the different Member States and making compromises. The Presidency is alternately fulfilled by one of the EU Member States. Each Presidency works closely with two other countries that are President before or after. This group, called the trojkai mutually tunes priorities

Although not yet fully known, own priorities will include issues as global security, justice and governance, economic growth, and attention to the mid-term review of the Multiannual
Financial Framework, scheduled for the end of 2016, which should be used to orient the EU budget
further towards jobs, growth and competitiveness. Except own priorities, fulfillment
of the Presidency is partly based on the working programme of the European Commission,
and attention to cultural aspects



St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral in Kiev, an example of Ukrainian architecture


The international agreement proposed by the EU with certain countries is mainly focused on far reaching cooperation, economic cooperation and strengthening trade relations. All this should lead to more prosperity and stability for the people in Ukraine and Europe. Everything else that has been published or which has been discussed does not answer reality.

As the date of the advisory referendum approaches, the more attention to Ukraine and to the setup of the Netherlands is given. The yes or no is sometimes fiercely fought by groups. Recently it revealed that the initiators of the advisory referendum are not at all interested in the Ukraine, but in an exit of the Netherlands from the EU and in a thorough restoration of our democracy. Anyway, for Ukraine arises slowly but surely a moment to steer the country toward greater freedoms, less corruption and more opportunities.

Young students from Ukraine born after 1990 , who recently visited the Netherlands, spoke to experience ever less freedom and want to build a country with strong institutions and less corruption. Together with other participants from different countries, many themes passed and was even sung a song. Let therefore arise movements which can let succeed the wanted and necessary change.

The NEXUS Institute too organized a symposium about the events taking place around Ukraine. Some great speakers ensured a dynamic and sometimes intense discussion: Eugene Czolij (lawyer and President of Ukrainian World Congress), Pavlo Klimkin (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine), Ivan Krastev (political scientist), John Laughland (philosopher), Natalia Narochnitskaya (Russian historian, former Duma member), Ivan Vejvoda (expert of European integration) and Harry van Bommel (politician) were invited to discuss.

Dutch citizens vote in a consultative referendum on the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Ukraine on April 6. The discussion is heated. In Brussels, the EU keeps a close eye on the outcome in the Dutch referendum. At stake is not only a trade union and closer cooperation between these two parties, but also the relations between member states within the EU. Is this referendum not actually a turning point, a battle for the future of Europe?

Opponents of the treaty with Ukraine consider it an undemocratic attempt to increase the power of the EU. In their eyes, the EU is a bureaucratic monster that gradually threatens the sovereignty of its member states while simultaneously robbing them. They turn their backs to the EU, reject the transfer of sovereign power to Brussels and withdraw behind clearly defined national boundaries. Proponents of the agreement emphasize the need to stand together within Europe in order to ensure security, stability and economic prosperity for all European citizens. Without dismissing the need for questioning the current EU, they still see it as the best way to reinforce European cooperation and values such as peace, civil rights, solidarity and prosperity – values that must be accessible to everyone.

Where do Europe’s borders actually lie? Are these borders geographically, historically or culturally defined? Is further expansion of the EU necessary, and what is the role of America and Russia? ‘The Battle for Europe’ presents a lively debate between euro critics and euro lovers, between supporters and opponents of rapprochement with Ukraine and allows you to discuss with thinkers and politicians of international standing about the fundamental problem underlying the Dutch Referendum: What kind of Europe do we want?

- Narochnitskaya: 'The worst has already happened with respect to the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine';
- Kimklin:'As a Ukrainian, you have a simple choice: Dependency on Russian influence or setting your own agenda? I chose the last';
- Czolij: 'Why should we not welcome a country the size of France into the EU? Ukraine wants to embrace European values. Let them';
- Krastev: ‘If the EU is going to commit suicide, the weapon of choice is the referendum';
- Vejvoda: 'We should heed nationalistic tendencies, inspired by some warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling of being OK when with our own'.

Events in and around Ukraine has become a pivot for geopolitical game. The main question, about transforming Ukraine, is thereby lost sight. Can 'Finlandization' contribute to a solution, which means that a country decides not to challenge a more powerful neighbour in foreign politics, while maintaining national sovereignty? There is after all a powerful country that strongly influences the policies of a smaller neighboring country, while allowing it to keep its independence and its own political system.


Lamoral, Count of Egmont, Prince of Gavere (18 November 1522 – 5 June 1568) was a general and statesman in the Spanish Netherlands just before the start of the Eighty Years' War, whose execution helped spark the national uprising that eventually led to the independence of the Netherlands. Beethoven composed an overture to chronicle the sixteenth century story of Lamoral, Count Egmont of the Netherlands who defied a Spanish attack captained by the Duke of Alva. The
Overture to "Egmont" opens with a long-held, heavy, F minor chord (Egmont in prison) followed by a slow Sarabande in a 3/2 meter. The weight of Spanish occupation is clear.