It is a small, densely populated country, lying mainly in Western Europe, but also including three islands in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany. The three largest and most important cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Amsterdam is the country's capital. The Hague holds the Dutch seat of government. The port of Rotterdam is the biggest port of Europe - as big as the next three biggest combined.
The Netherlands' name literally means "Low Country", inspired by its low and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made. Since the late 16th century, large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and from lakes, amounting to nearly 17% of the country's current land mass.
With a population density of 406 people per km² - 497 if water is excluded - the Netherlands is a very densely populated country for its size.
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