The Netherlands is one of the world's most densely populated nations, while almost 20 percent of the total area of the country being water. The country is a host to many major international legal institutions, including the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of three constituent countries: the Netherlands in Western Europe; and, in the Caribbean, Arubaand the Netherlands Antilles. The current Kingdom was constituted with the proclamation of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 28 October 1954; the most recent amendment to the Charter was made in 2002.
The Netherlands is a member of the European Union and NATO and contributes troops to both regional organisations as well as to UN peacekeeping operations. For example, the Netherlands has been contributing troops to both the International Security Force (ISAF) and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Dutch military mission to Iraq ended on 7 March 2005. The 1,100-strong military mission was part of the Iraq Stabilization Force (SFIR) and was stationed in the province of Al-Muthanna in southern Iraq. The Netherlands remains involved in military operations in Afghanistan and, as of March 2011, Libya.
This overview is adapted from the BBC online country profile of the Netherlands.
Last updated: 25 March 2011