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Synopsis

The Netherlands, more commonly known as Holland, is situated west of Germany and north of Belgium along the North Sea coast. It has an area of approximately 16,000 square miles and a population Map of approximately 15 million inhabitants making it the most densely populated country in Europe.

The Netherlands is one of the most stable European countries and is a full member and one of the co-founders of the European Union. The official language is Dutch but English, German and French are widely spoken in the business community. The monetary unit is the Dutch Guilder (or Florin) which is divided into 100 cents, is freely convertible and is one of Europe's strongest and most stable currencies.

The Netherlands is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy but executive power lies with the cabinet council presided over by the Prime Minister. Members of the cabinet council are formally appointed by the Queen and reflect the political majority of the second chamber of the Dutch Parliament which consists of 150 representatives directly elected for 4-year terms on the basis of proportional representation. The first chamber of the Dutch Parliament exists to review draft legislation which has already been passed by the second chamber.