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Chapter Sixteen Central Western Europe

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1 Chapter Sixteen Central Western Europe
Section Three The Benelux Countries

2 The Netherlands The entire western side of the Netherlands is bordered by the North Sea. 20% of the land has been reclaimed from the sea, lakes, or swamps. It is one of the most densely populated countries on earth. The nation is sometimes called Holland.

3 Environmental Change As long as 2,000 years ago, people living in what is now the Netherlands began to build low mounds and surround them with stone walls to make dry islands. The Romans constructed dikes to hold back the water. Dike- embankments of earth and rock. The Dutch pumped water out into canals. This created polders on which people could farm and live. Polder- land reclaimed from the sea. 33% of the land is below sea level.

4 Making Use of Land The population is almost 16 million.
Half of all land is used for farming or grazing. The cities of The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Utrecht form a huge arc-shaped metropolis called Randstad.

5 Advantages of Location
Rotterdam and Amsterdam are major ports located on the North Sea. Rotterdam also sits at the mouth of Europe’s largest inland waterway. Rotterdam serves as a link for the Netherlands to the rest of Europe.

6 Belgium Belgium gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1830.
It is made up of Walloons, who speak French and Flemish, who speak a dialect of Dutch. Walloons make up 30% and the Flemish 55% of the population. The rest are other ethnic groups. French is the first official language of Belgium, although now Flemish has been added. All government business is conducted in French. All universities teach in French. The government has been decentralized to accommodate the Flemish. Decentralize- transfer power to smaller regions. The regions are: Wallonia, Flanders, and Brussels.

7 Luxembourg It is only 990 square miles in area. It is smaller than Rhode Island. It has close ties to Germany, France and Belgium. Three languages are spoken: French. German, and Luxembourgish (a dialect of German). It has one of the highest standards of living in Europe. Once dominated by steel production, it now has high tech and service industries.

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