|The Netherlands is one of the most progressive countries on the planet. The Dutch are truly ahead of every nation in just about every area of human understanding. I am exceptionally proud to be a Dutch descendant. I have traveled to the Netherlands more than any other country outside of the United States. During each visit I found something unique and beautiful about this country. I would love to retire in the Netherlands when I turn 60. As for now, I only hope my next journey is not too far away.|
First conquered by the Romans, later by the Franks, The Netherlands was part of the Empire of Charlemagne, then later it became a part of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 14th and 15th Century the Netherlands became rich through trade and eventually became part of the Hapsburg Empire.
In 1572, William of Orange led a revolt against the Hapsburg leader Philip II of Spain and in 1579 the seven province of the Low Countries (now called the Netherlands) declared independence and formed a republic. In the 1600's the Netherlands grew rich through the trade of the Dutch East India Company starting colonies in what is now New York City and South Africa, to name a few. Later in the 1600's the Northern Renaissance blossomed in The Netherlands.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815 and originally included Belgium but, Belgium seceded and formed its own kingdom in 1830. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by the Germans during World War II. After the war, the Netherlands became a founding member of both NATO and the European Union. The Netherlands was also a founding member of the European Monetary Union helping to form the Euro.