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The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; 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 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.


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Communications

Telephones - main lines in use World Ranking: 24
7.169 million (2009)

Telephones - mobile cellular World Ranking: 47
19.31 million (2009)

Telephone system
General assessment
Highly developed and well maintained
Domestic
Extensive fixed-line fiber-optic network; large cellular telephone system with 5 major operators utilizing the third generation of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology; one in five households now use Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
International
Country code - 31; submarine cables provide links to the US and Europe; satellite earth stations - 5 (3 Intelsat - 1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean, 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (2007)

Broadcast media
More than 90% of households are connected to cable or satellite TV systems that provide a wide range of domestic and foreign channels; public service broadcast system includes multiple broadcasters, 3 with a national reach and the remainder operating in regional and local markets; 2 major nationwide commercial television companies, each with 3 or more stations, and many commercial TV stations in regional and local markets; nearly 600 radio stations with a mix of public and private stations providing national or regional coverage (2008)

Internet country code
.nl

Internet hosts World Ranking: 11
13.715 million (2010)

Internet users World Ranking: 27
14.872 million (2009)


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  Netherlands (Amsterdam):


  GPS points from Netherlands (Amsterdam)

Geeneindse Heide North Brabant

Kantens Provincie Groningen

Hanenplas North Holland

Rotstersloot Provincie Friesland

Markervaart North Holland

Eekt Provincie Gelderland

Middelplaat South Holland

Kabel Noord-holland




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