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

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.

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.


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.




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 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.

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.