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Netherlands: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland
etymology: the country name literally means "the lowlands" and refers to the geographic features of the land being both flat and down river from higher areas (i.e., at the estuaries of the Scheldt, Meuse, and Rhine Rivers; only about half of the Netherlands is more than 1 meter above sea level)
Government typeparliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
CapitalAmsterdam; note - The Hague is the seat of government Amsterdam, note - The Hague is the seat of government
geographic coordinates: 52 21 N, 4 55 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

note: time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, not to the Caribbean components
Administrative divisions12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslan (Friesland), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant (North Brabant), Noord-Holland (North Holland), Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland (Zealand), Zuid-Holland (South Holland)note 1: the Netherlands is one of four constituent parts (countries) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three parts, Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten, are all islands in the Caribbean; while all four parts are considered equal partners, in practice, most of the Kingdom's affairs are administered by the Netherlands, which makes up about 98% of the Kingdom's total land area and population
note 2: three other Caribbean islands, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba, are considered to be special municipalities of the Netherlands proper
Dependent areasAruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten
Independence23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581 they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)
National holidayKing's Day (the King's birthday of 27 April (1967); celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday)
Constitutionhistory: previous 1597, 1798; latest adopted 24 August 1815 (substantially revised in 1848)
amendments: proposed as an "Act of Parliament" by or on behalf of the king or by the Second Chamber of the States General; the Second Chamber is dissolved after its first reading of the "Act"; passage requires a second reading by both the First Chamber and newly elected Second Chamber, followed by at least two-thirds majority vote of both chambers, and ratification by the king; amended many times, last in 2010 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system based on the French system; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Netherlands
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER (since 30 April 2013); Heir Apparent Princess Catharina-Amalia (since 30 April 2013)
head of government: Prime Minister Mark RUTTE (since 14 October 2010); Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk ASSCHER (since 5 November 2012); note - Mark RUTTE heads his second cabinet since 5 November 2012
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch; note -there is also a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councilors that provides advice to the cabinet on legislative and administrative policy
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial council members by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve up to 4-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held on 26 May 2015 (next to be held in May 2019); Second Chamber - last held on 12 September 2012 (next to be held no later than 15 March 2017)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VVD 13, CDA 12, D66 10, PVV 9, SP 9, PvdA 8, GL 4, CU 3, other 7; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 26.6%, PvdA 24.8%, PVV, 10.1%, SP 9.7%, CDA 8.5%, D66 8.0%, CU 3.1%, GL 2.3%, other 6.9%; seats by party - VVD 41, PvdA 38, PVV 15, SP 15, CDA 13, D66 12, CU 5, GL 4, other 7
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (consists of 41 judges: the president, 6 vice-presidents, 31 justices or raadsheren, and 3 justices in exceptional service, referred to as buitengewone dienst); the court is divided into criminal, civil, tax, and ombuds chambers
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch from a list provided by the Second Chamber of the States General; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; district courts, each with up to 5 subdistrict courts
Political parties and leadersChristian Democratic Appeal or CDA (Sybrand VAN HAERSMA BUMA)
Christian Union or CU (Gert-Jan SEGERS)
Democrats 66 or D66 (Alexander PECHTOLD)
50 Plus (Jan NAGEL)
Green Left or GL (Jesse KLAVER)
Labor Party or PvdA (Diederik SAMSOM)
Party for Freedom or PVV (Geert WILDERS)
Party for the Animals or PvdD (Marianne THIEME)
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD (Mark RUTTE)
Reformed Political Party or SGP (Kees VAN DER STAAIJ)
Socialist Party or SP (Emile ROEMER)
plus a few minor parties
Political pressure groups and leadersChristian Trade Union Federation or CNV (Maurice LIMMEN)
Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers or VNO-NCW (Hans DE BOER)
Federation for Small and Medium-sized Businesses or MKB (Michael VAN STRAALEN)
Netherlands Trade Union Federation or FNV (Ton HEERTS)
Social Economic Council or SER (Mariette HAMER)
Trade Union Federation of Middle and High Personnel or MHP (Reginald VISSER)
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Hendrik SCHUWER (since 17 September 2015)
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 244-5300, (1) 877-388-2443
FAX: (1) (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Adam H. STERLING (since 12 February 2016)
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: (31) (70) 310-2209
FAX: (31) (70) 310-2207
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; the colors were those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century; originally the upper band was orange, but because it tended to fade to red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color; the banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use
National symbol(s)lion, tulip; national color: orange
National anthemname: "Het Wilhelmus" (The William)
lyrics/music: Philips VAN MARNIX van Sint Aldegonde (presumed)/unknown

note: adopted 1932, in use since the 17th century, making it the oldest national anthem in the world; also known as "Wilhelmus van Nassouwe" (William of Nassau), it is in the form of an acrostic, where the first letter of each stanza spells the name of the leader of the Dutch Revolt