The Netherlands, often called Holland has a population of approximately 17 million inhabitants. Amsterdam is both the largest and capital city of the country, and States General, Cabinet and Supreme Court is held by the Hague.
The country has operated as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy since 1848. The country is regarded as liberal, having legalized abortion, euthanasia, maintains a progressive drug policy, and legalized prostitution. It was also the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriage in 2001.
The country maintains strong international relations and is a founding member of EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD, and WTO. It is host to 5-international courts and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The country also ranked 2nd highest in 2016’s Press Freedom Index; with a market-based economy, it is ranked 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom.
A generous welfare system in the country affords citizens free healthcare, excellent public education, infrastructure, and social benefits. This along with a strong tax system, and its rank as the joint third highest in the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, along with Australia, makes the Netherlands one of the most egalitarian countries in the world.
Netherlands Fishing, shipping, agriculture, banking, and trade, have been cornerstones of this powerful economy since the 16th century. The Netherlands is home to major corporations including Heineken, Unilever, KLM, TomTom, and Phillips, among others. It has the 17th largest economy in the world, and ranks 10th in nominal GDP. Netherlands is the second largest food and agricultural products after the United States.
Since 1815 the Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is the current monarch, serving as the country’s head of state. The Prime Minister is a primus inter pares, and holds no explicit powers beyond those of the other ministers. In terms of policy making, trade unions and employer organizations are informed of issues in financial, social, and economic areas, prior to decisions being made in the country.
The Hague and International Courts
The Hague is a city in South Holland, which is home to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes; including genocide and crimes against humanity. The goal of the ICC is to work in conjunction with national judicial systems, and it may only exercise it’s right to prosecute when conditions are appropriate—such as the national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute, or the UN Security Council refers situations.
The International Court of Justice is the judicial arm of the UN. It settles disputes between member states, and provides information to UN organs and other specialized agencies. The ICOJ consists of 15 judges who serve nine-year terms, elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council.
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