- the, (used with a singular or plural verb) a kingdom in W Europe, bordering on the North Sea, Germany, and Belgium. 13,433 sq. mi. (34,790 sq. km). Capitals: Amsterdam and The Hague.
noun the Netherlands (functioning as singular or plural)
- Also called: Holland a kingdom in NW Europe, on the North Sea: declared independence from Spain in 1581 as the United Provinces; became a major maritime and commercial power in the 17th century, gaining many overseas possessions; formed the Benelux customs union with Belgium and Luxembourg in 1948 and was a founder member of the Common Market, now the European Union. It is mostly flat and low-lying, with about 40 per cent of the land being below sea level, much of it on polders protected by dykes. Official language: Dutch. Religion: Christian majority, Protestant and Roman Catholic, large nonreligious minority. Currency: euro. Capital: Amsterdam, with the seat of government at The Hague. Pop: 16 805 037 (2013 est). Area: 41 526 sq km (16 033 sq miles)Dutch name: Nederland
- the kingdom of the Netherlands together with the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, esp as ruled by Spain and Austria before 1581; the Low Countries
from Dutch Nederland, literally “lower land” (see nether); said to have been used by the Austrians (who ruled much of the southern part of the Low Countries from 1713 to 1795), by way of contrast to the mountains they knew, but the name is older than this. The Netherlands formerly included Flanders and thus were equivalent geographically and etymologically to the Low Countries. Related: Netherlander; Netherlandish (c.1600).