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flag of The Netherlands
The history of the Dutch flag dates to the use of orange, white, and blue as the livery colors of William, Prince of Orange, and the use of the tricolor at sea in 1577. By 1660 the color red was substituted for orange. The flag was legalized by pro-French "patriots" on Feb. 14, 1796, and reaffirmed by royal decree on Feb. 19, 1937.
Netherlands, The

Location of The NetherlandsReligious Affiliation

Official name: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Kingdom of The Netherlands).

Form of government: constitutional monarchy with a parliament (States General) comprising two legislative houses (First Chamber [75]; Second Chamber [150]).

Chief of state: Monarch.

Head of government: Prime Minister.

Population (1998): 15,691,000.

Population projection: (2000) 15,835,000; (2010) 16,504,000.

Natural increase rate per 1,000 population (1995): 3.5 (world avg. 15.7).

Gross national product (1996): U.S.$402,565,000,000 (U.S.$25,940 per capita).

Land use (1994): forested 10.3%; meadows and pastures 31.0%; agricultural and under permanent cultivation 28.0%; other 30.7%.

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