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Extensive travel and tourism guide for Holland, Europe

Holland - Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government

Administrative divisions: 12 provinces (provincien, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, Zuid-Holland

Dependent areas: Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

Independence: 1579 (from Spain); note - the northern provinces of the Low Country concluded the Union of Utrecht, but it was 1648 before Spain finally recognized their independence

National holiday: Queen's Day (Birthday of Queen-Mother JULIANA in 1909 and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX in 1980), 30 April

Constitution: adopted 1814; amended many times, last time 17 February 1983

Legal system: civil law system incorporating French penal theory; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch: chief of state: Queen BEATRIX (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), son of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Jan Peter BALKENENDE (since 22 July 2002) and Deputy Prime Ministers Gerrit ZALM (since 27 May 2003) and Thom DE GRAAF (since 27 May 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; vice prime ministers appointed by the monarch
note: there is also a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councilors that provides consultations to the prime minister on legislative and administrative policy

Legislative branch: Bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils for four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held 25 May 2003 (next to be held NA May 2007); Second Chamber - last held 22 January 2003 (next to be held NA January 2007)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CDA 23, PvdA 19, VVD 15, Green Party 5, Socialist Party 4, D66 3, other 6; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - CDA 28.6%, PvdA 27.3%, VVD 12.9%, Socialist Party 6.3%, List Pim Fortuyn 5.7%, Green Party 5.1%, D66 4.1%; seats by party - CDA 44, PvdA 42, VVD 28, Socialist Party 9, List Pim Fortuyn 8, Green Party 8, D66 6, other 5

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (justices are nominated for life by the monarch)

Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA [Maxime Jacques Marcel VERHAGEN]; Christian Union Party [Andre ROUVOET]; Democrats 66 or D66 [Boris DITTRICH]; Green Party [Femke HALSEMA]; Labor Party or PvdA [Wouter BOS]; List Pim Fortuyn [Mat HERBEN]; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD [Gerrit ZALM]; Socialist Party [Jan MARIJNISSEN]; a host of minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: Federation of Netherlands Trade Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a Protestant trade union; Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations; Interchurch Peace Council or IKV; large multinational firms; the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises

International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Boudewijn J. VAN EENENNAAM
consulate(s): Boston
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Clifford M. SOBEL
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: [31] (70) 310-9209
FAX: [31] (70) 361-4688
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; one of the oldest flags in constant use, originating with William I, Prince of Orange, in the latter half of the 16th century.

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