The Netherlands (Dutch Nederland, Frisian Nederlan) are a parliamentary monarchy and one of the four autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country lies in the northern West Europe is bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, the Kingdom of Belgium to the south and the Federal Republic of Germany to the east. Together with Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands form the Benelux countries. The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Community (EEC). To the area of the Netherlands represented in this article are in addition to the twelve provinces of the European part of the three Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, which are referred to in corpore as "special municipalities". This construction has existed since the dissolution of the national association of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010. Other Caribbean territories are not an integral part of the Netherlands, but autonomous countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands: these are Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten.
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