Thursday, March 27, 2014

Brief History of the Netherlands

Here is a timeline for the political history of the Netherlands. In 1579 the Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain. During the 17th century their maritime industry helped drive them to become a leading commercial power with settlements and colonies around the world. In the late 1790, France gained power throughout Europe and occupied the Netherlands for 20 years, then in 1815 a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. Belgium seceded in 1815 and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I but suffered invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Netherlands has been a leader in cross border partnerships. In 1948 the Netherlands became a co-signatory to the Benelux Customs Union along with Belgium and Luxembourg. This later became the Benelux Economic Union in 1958 and Benelux Union in 2008. The Netherlands was also a founding member of NATO in 1949, the EEC (now the EU) in 1957, and the Euro in 1999. The Netherlands is also a member country of the Schengen area in which border controls with other Schengen members have been eliminated while at the same those with non-Schengen countries have been strengthened.

In 2010, the 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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