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Kingdom of the Netherlands
Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
Flag of the Netherlands Coat of arms of Netherlands
Motto"Ik zal handhaven" (I shall stand fast)
AnthemHet Wilhelmus
Capital
(and largest city)
Amsterdam2
Official languages Dutch1
Government Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
 -  Monarch Beatrix
 -  Prime Minister
Jan Peter Balkenende
 -  Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba
Frido Croes
 -  Minister Plenipotentiary of the Netherlands Antilles
Paul Comenencia
Establishment
 -  Present Kingdom established 1815 
 -  Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands (federacy)
October 28 1954 
Area
 -  Total 41,526 km2 (134th)
16,478 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 18.41
Population
 -  2006 estimate 16,645,313 (58th)
 -  Density 393/km2 (23rd)
1,019/sq mi
Currency Euro3 (Netherlands), Aruban florin (Aruba) and Netherlands Antillean gulden (Netherlands Antilles) (€ EUR, AWG and ANG)
Time zone CET and AST (UTC+1 and -4)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST and AST (UTC+2 and -4)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .nl4, .aw, .an
Calling code +31, +297, +599
1 Papiamento is an official language in Aruba and the islands of Bonaire and Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. English is an official language on the islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius, as well as the island area of Sint Maarten, also in the Netherlands Antilles. In Friesland, the West Frisian language is also an official language, and Low Saxon and Limburgish are officially recognised as regional languages.
2 The Hague is the seat of the government of the Netherlands; Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba; and Willemstad is the capital of the Netherlands Antilles.
3 Prior to 1999 (de jure; 2002 de facto): Dutch guilder (ƒ NLG)]
4 Also .eu in the Netherlands, shared with other EU member states.

Template:FixHTML The Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Template:Audio) is a state with territory in Western Europe (Netherlands) and the Carribean (Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles). The three parts are denoted as countries. They are equally part of the territory of the Kingdom but their constitutional situation is different. Both Carribean territories are autonomous as provided for in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which has been the Kingdoms leading document since 1954. They also however have a say in the Affairs of the Kingdom as described in the Charter, when these affairs affect Aruba and / or the Netherlands Antilles directly. The Netherlands are ruled by the institutions of the Kingdom that are mentioned in the Charter and regulated in the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. That is the reason why the Netherlands, as no new seperate institutions for that country have been installed, conducts its affairs internally and externally under the name Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Suriname was a constituent country within the Kingdom from 1954 to 1975.

HistoryEdit

Main article: History of Aruba

Before the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was proclaimed in 1954, Suriname, Netherlands New Guinea, and the "Netherlands Antilles", formerly "Colony of Curaçao and Subordinates" (Kolonie Curaçao en Onderhorige Eilanden) were colonies of the Netherlands.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands finds its origin in the aftermath of Napoleons defeat in 1813. In that year the Netherlands regained its freedom and the Sovereign Principality of the Netherlands was proclaimed with William Prince of Orange and Nassau as sovereign. Reunification with the Southern Netherlands, (roughly equivalent to what is now Belgium and Luxembourg) was decided in 1814. In March 1815 the Sovereign Prince adopted the style of a King of the Netherlands and the Kingdom had come into being. The King of the Netherlands was also Grand Duke of Luxembourg, a province of the Kingdom that was at the same time a Grand Duchy of the German Confederation. In 1830, Belgium secceeded from the Kingdom. A step that was only recognised by the Netherlands in 1839. At that point Luxembourg became a fully independent country in a personal union with the Netherlands. Luxembourg also lost more than half of its territory to Belgium. To reinstate the German Confederation for that loss, the remainder of the Dutch province of Limburg received the same status that Luxembourg had enjoyed before, a Dutch Province that at the same time formed a Duchy of the German Confederation. That status was reversed when the German Confederation ceased to be in 1867 and at that point Limburg reverted to its former status as an ordinary Dutch province, although the King of the Netherlands keeps using the additional title of Duke of Limburg to this day.

The origin of the administrative reform of 1954 was the December 7 1942 radio speech by Queen Wilhelmina pertaining to the August 14, 1941, Atlantic Charter and the Declaration by the United Nations, which was signed by the Netherlands on January 1, 1942. In this speech the Queen, on behalf of the Dutch government in exile in London, expressed a desire to review the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies after the end of the war. After the liberation, the government would be calling a conference to agree on a settlement in which the overseas territories could participate in the administration of the Kingdom on the basis of equality. Initially, this speech had propaganda purposes; the Dutch government had the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in mind, and was hoping to appease public opinion in the United States, which had become skeptical towards colonialism.[1]

After Indonesia became independent, a federal construction was considered too heavy as the economies of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were insignificant compared to those of the Netherlands. In the Charter, as it came about in 1954, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles each got a Minister Plenipotentiary based in the Netherlands, who had the right to participate in Dutch cabinet meetings when it discussed affairs that applied to the Kingdom as a whole, when these affairs pertained directly to Suriname and / or the Netherlands Antilles. Delegates of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles could participate in sessions of the First and Second Chamber of the States-General. An overseas member could be added to the Council of State when appropriate. According to the Charter, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were also allowed to alter their Basic Laws (Staatsregeling). The right of the two autonomous countries to leave the Kingdom unilaterally was not recognised; yet it was stipulated the Charter could be dissolved by mutual consultation.[1]

In 1955, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard visited Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. The visit was a great success. The royal couple was enthusiastically welcomed by the local population and the trip was widely reported in the Dutch press. Several other royal visits were to follow.[2]

In 1969, an unorganised strike on the Antillian island of Curaçao resulted in serious disturbances and looting, during which a part of the historic city center of Willemstad was destroyed by fire. Order was restored by Dutch marines. The same year in Suriname saw serious political instability with the Surinamese prime minister, Jopie Pengel, threatening to request military support to break a teacher strike.

File:Beatrix05.jpg

In 1973, a new Dutch cabinet under Labour leader Joop den Uyl assumed power. In the government policy statement the cabinet declared a wish to determine a date for the independence of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles with the government of those nations. The Antillean government was non-committal; the same held for the Surinamese Sedney cabinet (1969-1973). The Suriname 1973 elections brought the National Party Combination (Nationale Partij Kombinatie) to power, with Henck Arron as its prime minister. The new government declared on its instatement that Suriname would be independent before 1976. This was remarkable, as independence had not been an issue during the election campaign. The Den Uyl-government in The Hague now had a willing partner in Paramaribo to realise its plans for Surinamese independence. Despite vehement and emotional resistance by the Surinamese opposition, Den Uyl and Arron reached an agreement, and on 25 November 1975, Suriname became independent.[3]

Government Edit

The Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Basic Laws of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are legally outranked by the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Government in the Netherlands is regulated by the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while government in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles is provided for in the Basic Laws of these two countries. The Constitution also constitutes and regulates, the institutions of the Kingdom that are mentioned in the Charter. The provisions in the Charter for these institutions are additional and are applicable for only those Affairs of the Kingdom as described in the Charter, when these affect Aruba and / or the Netherlands Antilles directly. Charter and Constitution are both leading documents affecting the affairs of the Kingdom as a whole. The Charter in the affairs of the Kingdom that affect Aruba and / or the Netherlands Antilles directly, the Constitution in all other matters, with the exeption of matters that are provided for by the Basic Laws of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles.

The Charter names the institutions of the Kingdom. Crown, Council of Ministers, Council of State and the Legislature. Because all of those are regulated in the Constitution, as article 5 of the Charter stipulates, and because the Constitution also applies these institutions for rule over the Netherlands proper, the often heard qualification of the Kindom as a federal structure, can not be upheld. The Kingdom should properly be refered to as a federacy.

In cases where Affairs of the Kingdom do not affect Aruba and / or the Netherlands Antilles, they are dealt with according to the provisions laid down in the Constitution. In these cases the Netherlands acts alone, internally and externally, according to the Constitution and in its capacity as the Kingdom of the Netherlands . The other two countries cannot do the same for Affairs of the Kingdom that only pertain to them and not to the Netherlands proper. In these cases the provisions of the Charter prevail.

Article 3 of the Charter specifies the Affairs of the Kingdom

  • Maintenance of the independence and the defence of the Kingdom;
  • Foreign relations;
  • Netherlands nationality;
  • Regulation of the orders of chivalry, the flag and the coat of arms of the Kingdom;
  • Regulation of the nationality of vessels and the standards required for the safety and navigation of seagoing vessels flying the flag of the Kingdom, with the exception of sailing ships;
  • Supervision of the general rules governing the admission and expulsion of Netherlands nationals;
  • General conditions for the admission and expulsion of aliens;
  • Extradition.

Paragraph 2 of Article 3 specifies that "other matters may be declared to be Kingdom affairs in consultation".[4]


Changes in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands can only be made when all countries agree.

The King or Queen and the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom together form the government of the Kingdom. The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom can be added to when appropriate by one Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba and / or one Minister Plenipotentiary of the Netherlands Antilles. Laws applicable to the whole Kingdom are known as Kingdom Acts. An example of such a law is the "Kingdom Act regarding Dutch citizenship" (Template:Lang-nl).

The King or Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the head of state of the Kingdom. The King is represented both in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles by a governor.

The legislature of the Kingdom consists of the States-General of the Netherlands and the Government. Articles 14, 16 and 17 of the Charter give some participation to the parliaments of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

Article 13 of the Charter specifies that there is a Council of State of the Kingdom. It is (as all institutions of the Kingdom) regulated in the Constitution, but the Charter implies that at the request of the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, one member from the Antilles and one from Aruba can be included in the Council of State.[4] Both the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are currently exercising this right.

Judiciary Edit

The Hoge Raad der Nederlanden, is the supreme court of the Kingdom.

According to Article 39 of the Charter, "civil and commercial law, the law of civil procedure, criminal law, the law of criminal procedure, copyright, industrial property, the office of notary, and provisions concerning weights and measures shall be regulated as far as possible in a similar manner in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba". The Article further stipulates that when a drastic amendment of the existing legislation in regard to these matters is proposed, the proposal shall not be submitted to or considered by a representative assembly until the Governments in the other countries have had the opportunity to express their views on the matter.[4]

Foreign affairs Edit

The Kingdom negotiates and concludes international treaties and agreements. Those that do not affect Aruba and / or the Netherlands Antilles directly are dealt with by the provisions of the Constitution (in fact by the Netherlands alone). Article 24 of the Charter specifies that when an international treaty or agreement affects the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, the treaty or agreement concerned shall be submitted to the representative assemblies of the Netherlands Antilles or of Aruba. The article further specifies that when such a treaty or agreement is submitted for the tacit approval of the States-General of the Netherlands, the Ministers Plenipotentiary may communicate their wish that the treaty or agreement concerned shall be subject to the express approval of the States-General.[4]

Article 25 gives the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba the opportunity to opt-out from an international treaty or agreement.[4] The treaty or agreement concerned then has to specify that the treaty or agreement does not apply to the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba.

Article 26 specifies that when the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba communicate their wish for the conclusion of an international economic or financial agreement that applies solely to the Country concerned, the Government of the Kingdom shall assist in the conclusion of such an agreement, unless this would be inconsistent with the Country's ties with the Kingdom.[4]

Article 27 specifies the involvement of the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba in the preparations for a treaty or agreement that affects them and Article 28 specifies that the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba may, if they so desire, accede to membership of international organisations.[4]

Relationship with the European UnionEdit

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a member state of the European Union. However, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are not considered part of the EU, but rather have the status of overseas countries and territories (OCT). Since citizenship is a Kingdom affair, and is thus not distinguished for the three countries, citizens from all three countries are also citizens of the European Union.

Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles and subsequent constitutional reform Edit

A joint commission has proposed major reforms for the Netherlands Antilles. On October 11, 2006 and November 2, 2006, agreements were signed between the Dutch government and the governments of each island that would put into effect the commission's findings by December 15, 2008.[5] Under these reforms, both Curaçao and Sint Maarten will form new constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, thereby dissolving the current Netherlands Antilles.[6]

Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius will become direct parts of the Netherlands as special municipalities of the Netherlands and are to be constituted as "public bodies" (Template:Lang-nl) under the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These municipalities will resemble ordinary Dutch municipalities in most ways (they will have mayors, aldermen, and municipal councils, for example) and will have to introduce most laws of the Netherlands. As a transitional measure, only Dutch law that is considered to be necessary to function within the legal system of the Netherlands will be introduced, and most current laws of the Netherlands Antilles will still be in force on the three islands when they join the Netherlands on December 15, 2008. After that date, Dutch legislation will slowly take the place of the current laws of the Netherlands Antilles on those three islands. There are, however, some derogations for these islands, due to their distance. Social security, for example, will not be on the same level as it is in the Netherlands, and it is not certain whether the islands will be obliged to introduce the euro.[7][8]

The special municipalities will be represented in the affairs of the Kingdom by the Netherlands, as they can vote for the Dutch parliament. As the current Dutch voting law specifies that the Senate is to be chosen by the provinces, and the three islands currently are not to be included in a province, it is as yet unsure how they are to elect members in the First Chamber. The Dutch government has, however, guaranteed that the people on the islands will be able to elect members of the First Chamber, and is considering options for this.[7][8]

For Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius, the Netherlands has proposed that a study be conducted on the islands acquiring the status of Outermost Regions (OMR), also called Ultra Peripheral Regions (UPR). The study would also look into how the islands would fare under UPR status.[7]

StatisticsEdit

Statistics for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Country Population
(2007)
Percentage of
Kingdom population
Area
(km²)
Percentage of
Kingdom area
Population density
(inh. per km²)
Flag of the Netherlands Kingdom of the Netherlands 16,653,663 100.00% 42,519 100.00% 392
Template:Country data Aruba 103,891 0.62% 193 0.45% 538
Template:Country data Netherlands 16,357,992 98.22% 41,526 97.66% 394
Template:Country data Netherlands Antilles 191,780 1.15% 800 1.88% 240
Template:Country data Bonaire 11,537 0.07% 288 0.68% 40
Template:Country data Curaçao 137,094 0.82% 444 1.04% 309
Template:Country data Saba 1,491 0.01% 13 0.03% 115
Template:Country data Sint Eustatius 2,699 0.02% 21 0.05% 129
Template:Country data Sint Maarten 38,959 0.23% 34 0.08% 1,146

Source Aruba: Central Bureau of Statistics
Source Netherlands: Central Bureau of Statistics
Source Netherlands Antilles: Central Bureau of Statistics - population and area

GeographyEdit

The Kingdom of the Netherlands covers Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoff, making it the 134th largest country on earth. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has land borders with Belgium, Germany (both in the Netherlands), and France (on Sint Maarten).


About one quarter of the Netherlands lies below sea level, as much land has been reclaimed from the sea. Dikes were erected to protect the land from flooding. Currently the highest point of the Netherlands is the Vaalserberg in Limburg at only 322.7 metres (1,053 ft), but with the pending constitutional reform this is going to change as Saba will become part of the Netherlands as a special municipality, and its Mount Scenery (877 metres (2,877 ft)) will take the place of the Vaalserberg.

The Netherlands Antilles consist of two zones with different geographic origins. The Windward Islands (Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten) are all of volcanic origin and hilly, leaving little ground suitable for agriculture. The Leeward Islands (Bonaire and Curaçao) have a mixed volcanic and coral origin. The said Mount Scenery is currently the highest point of the Netherlands Antilles.

Both Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles have a tropical climate, with warm weather all year round. The Windward Islands are subject to hurricanes in the summer months. The Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters.

Countries Edit

File:Koninkrijk der Nederlanden.png

The Kingdom of the Netherlands currently consists of three countries:

Aruba Edit

Aruba is a centralised unitary state. Its administration consists of the Governor, who represents the Monarch, and the (Aruban) Council of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister. The people are represented in the Estates of Aruba. The current Governor of Aruba is Fredis Refunjol, and the current Prime Minister is Nelson O. Oduber. It has the Aruban florin as its currency.

Netherlands Edit

The Netherlands is a decentralized unitary state. Its administration consists of the Monarch and the Council of Ministers, which is headed by a Prime Minister. The people are represented by the States-General of the Netherlands, which consists of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces: Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland and Zuid-Holland. The provinces are divided into municipalities. The current Prime Minister of the Netherlands is Jan Peter Balkenende. It has the euro as its currency.

Netherlands Antilles Edit

The Netherlands Antilles is a decentralized unitary state, with federal characteristics. Its administration consists of the Governor, who represents the Monarch, and the (Netherlands Antillean) Council of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister. The people are represented by the Estates of the Netherlands Antilles. The Netherlands Antilles is composed of five insular territories: Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. The current Governor of the Netherlands Antilles is Frits Goedgedrag, and the current Prime Minister is Emily de Jongh-Elhage. It has the Netherlands Antillean guilder as its currency.

TransportEdit

See also:

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Peter Meel, Tussen autonomie en onafhankelijkheid. Nederlands-Surinaamse betrekkingen 1954-1961 (Between Autonomy and Independence. Dutch-Surinamese Relations 1954-1961; Leiden: KITLV 1999).
  2. Gert Oostindie, De parels en de kroon. Het koningshuis en de koloniën (The Pearls and the Crown. The Royal House and the Colonies; Amsterdam: de Bezige Bij 2006).
  3. Gert Oostindie and Inge Klinkers, Knellende Koninkrijksbanden. Het Nederlandse dekolonisatiebeleid in de Caraïben, 1940-2000, II, 1954-1975 (Stringent Kingdom Ties. The Dutch De-colonisation Policy in the Carribean; Amsterdam: University Press 2001).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  5. Template:Cite news
  6. Template:Cite web
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Template:Cite web
  8. 8.0 8.1 Template:Cite web

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Template group

ca:Regne dels Països Baixos cs:Nizozemské království da:Kongeriget Nederlandene de:Königreich der Niederlande et:Madalmaade Kuningriik es:Reino de los Países Bajos eu:Herbehereetako Erresuma fr:Royaume des Pays-Bas gl:Reino dos Países Baixos ko:네덜란드 왕국 it:Regno dei Paesi Bassi he:ממלכת ארצות השפלה nl:Koninkrijk der Nederlanden no:Kongeriket Nederlandene nn:Kongeriket Nederlanda pap:Reino Hulandes pt:Reino dos Países Baixos ro:Ţările de Jos sr:Краљевина Холандија fi:Alankomaiden kuningaskunta sv:Konungariket Nederländerna zh:荷兰王国

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