The Netherlands is a country located mostly in Western Europe with a
population of seventeen million. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of
the Netherlands. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve provinces and borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the
northwest, sharing maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The five largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam,
The Hague, Utrecht (forming the Randstad megalopolis) and Eindhoven (leading the Brabantse Stedenrij). Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat
of the States General, Cabinet and Supreme Court. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the world's largest outside Asia.
"Netherlands" literally means "lower countries", influenced by its low land and flat
geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are artificial. Since the late 16th century,
large areas (polders) have been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, amounting to nearly 17% of the country's current land mass. With a population density of 414 people per
km2 – 510 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is classified as a very densely populated country. Only Bangladesh, South Korea, and Taiwan have both a larger population
and higher population density. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, after the United States. This is
partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate as well as its highly developed intensive agriculture. The Netherlands was the third country in the world to
have elected representatives controlling the government's actions; it has been administered as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy since 1848,
organised as a unitary state. The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and is generally regarded as a liberal country, having legalised abortion,
prostitution, and euthanasia, while maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870 and had women's suffrage introduced in
1917. Regarding the LGBT community, it became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001.