The Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden) is a sovereign state made up of four countries - the Netherlands in Western Europe, and Curaçao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. The combined population of the four countries is about 17 million, of which about 16.7 million live in the Netherlands. The capital and largest city is Amsterdam, and the official language is Dutch.
The Netherlands was one of the first countries to have an elected parliament. It is now ruled by a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Beatrix as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. It is also a member of the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations. Several international courts and law enforcement agencies are based in the Netherlands, and particularly in the Hague, where the Dutch government is based.
The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying and densely populated country. It is popularly known for its windmills, cheese, clogs (wooden shoes), delftware and gouda pottery, dikes, tulips, bicycles, and social tolerance. The Netherlands is also well-known for its liberal policies toward drugs, prostitution, gay rights, abortion, and euthanasia.
Spanking in the Netherlands
Spanking has a long tradition in the Netherlands, just like its neighbouring countries France, Belgium, and Germany. Because of the Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia, rattan canes were easy to import at low cost in the 19th century. Spanking is called billenkoek or billekoek in Dutch.
Groningen in the northern Netherlands is said to have had a special school spanking tradition at holidays. The School Museum Rotterdam is one of several museums that inform about the history of schooling in the Netherlands.
Dutch spanking art
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