The Netherlands is a country in western Europe bordering on the North Sea. The language spoken there is Dutch. The country is composed of several provinces, the most well-known being North Holland and South Holland (so the country is often colloquially called Holland). Large areas of the country are below sea level, protected by huge dikes.
The Netherlands broke free from Spain, and have a history that spans many centuries. It was important in the early Industrial Revolution and in adopting ideas of religious tolerance. The Dutch at one point had a large empire, including colonies in North America, South America, the Caribbean and the East Indies.