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A few facts on the Netherlands and its language.
Dutch is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language group. It is spoken by over 22 million people worldwide. Most Dutch speakers live in the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname, with smaller groups in parts of France, Germany and several former Dutch colonies. It is closely related to other West Germanic languages like English, West Frisian and German. Dutch is also the parent of several languages including Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa and the most widely understood in Namibia.
The Netherlands itself is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean. The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union (EU), NATO, and the OECD. The Netherlands is home to five international courts and is well known for windmills, tulips, cheese, clogs, delftware and gouda pottery as well as for bicycles. It is also known for its liberal policies toward drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, and euthanasia.
Well known Dutch companies or brands are Philips, Grolsch, Heineken, Royal Dutch Shell (an Anglo-Dutch company), Unilever (Another Anglo-Dutch company), ING Group, AEGON, ABN-AMRO, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Edam cheese and Mexx among others. Famous Dutch names include Johannes Vermeer, Vincent Van Gogh, Hieronymus Bosch, Rutger Hauer, Paul Verhoeven, Dennis Bergkamp, and Anne Frank.