July 2017

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Page 66 of 81 | Mobility 63 W here else but in the whimsical Netherlands can you enjoy an espresso while floating on a colorful canal barge that doubles as a coffee shop? After all, this is the land of the tulip, where the bright flowers have flourished since their importation from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. Still, don't let images of windmills and wooden shoes lull you into thinking of this kingdom as a quaint outpost of the past. This mod - ern, tolerant, industrialized nation has forged its own democracy and free-market economy, overcome brutal occupation in World War II, and been a world leader in historic alliances. Today, the Netherlands is one of the European Union's most cyber-connected nations. Of course this country, home of 16.9 million people, is literally shaped by its proximity to and relationship with surrounding waters. For centuries, the rising North Sea has encroached on and reshaped the coastline, while the three-river Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt Delta offers 11 ports and harbors. The resilient Dutch have responded by making their homeland habitable with an elaborate system of dikes, canals, dams, bridges, and locks. Amsterdam, the constitutional capital, and Rotterdam both have populations of around 1 million and are centers for expat assignments. Many international companies in athletic wear, oil and gas, household and consumer goods, electronics, groceries, finance, and auto making locate their world, European, Middle East, or African headquarters in the Netherlands. Utrecht, about 45 km (28 miles) south of Amsterdam, is fertile ground for information and communications technology, plus cutting-edge life sciences research, while Eindhoven calls itself the Brainport Region, for its bustling technology sector. And of course, The Hague is the seat of 160 organizations devoted to peace and safety, including the International Court of Justice. DESTINATION PROFILE: Beyond windmills and tulips, a modern, tolerant, cyber-connected nation By M. Diane McCormick THE NETHERLANDS International Court of Justice, The Hague

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