The Netherlands first established itself as the independent Seven Provinces of the Netherlands.
This was not recognized by Spain, that occupied the region at the time. War followed witch lasted 80 years, (ironically called the 80 years war). In the 1580's the Netherlands got its independence from Spain. The Dutch Republic was a fact. This era was a Golden Era for the country. With their mighty sea fleet called the V.O.C. (the Verenigde Oost-Indische Companie aka the Dutch Indian Company), they made large profits from trading spices and other Mediterranean goods. In this time the Netherlands also colonized a lot of countries in the world. Indonesia, Suriname and South Africa where colonies of the Netherlands. Even New York, then named New Amsterdam, belonged to the Dutch for some time. After a while it was sold to the English who renamed it New York.
From 1795 till 1814 the Dutch Republic was occupied by France under the lead of Napoleon. In 1814 there came an end to the occupation and Holland became a kingdom in 1815, with their first king, King Willem of Orange the First (Willem van Oranje). This is where the color Orange comes from in the Dutch football team and its supporters.
The Netherlands knew another age of prosperity and wealth for almost all of its citizens. There came an end to this seemingly simpler time in the 1940's. Holland was attacked and defeated in 5 days by the Nazi forces of Germany. The Nazis where frustrated by a few setbacks they had suffered. Although they had taken half the country in 3 days, they couldn't get passed Dutch defenses in Groningen and the Blitz-Krieg above the Hague had failed (making it the only Blitz-Krieg attack in history to have failed for the Nazis).
Holland surrendered when Nazi air bombers destroyed much of the city of Rotterdam. This was a time of great despair for much of its citizens. Dutch Jews where taken away from their home and put into concentration camps. Among them was a Jewish girl named Anne Frank, now world famous for her published diary (the Diary of Anne Frank). She died in one of the camps. The Nazi occupation was hard on a lot of people, especially the winter of 1944, duped "the Hunger Winter", in which there was a great food shortage. The Netherlands where liberated from the Nazis in May of 1945 thanks to the Allied Forces and a little help from the Dutch resistance.
The 1950's was a time of rebuilding. Due to hard work and help from the 'Marshall Plan" the Netherlands where back in prosperity in the mid/late 1960's.
Today, Holland harbors a few international recognized places. Amsterdam is famous for its monumental canals, Rotterdam is an international haven-city and The Hague harbors the International Court of Justice and the Peace Palace. There are large (old and modern) city's in the Netherlands, although farming lands are not a strange sight in the landscape.
It's capital is Amsterdam. Netherlands is a Kingdom bordering Belgium and Germany. It is informally called "Holland" after the region which includes its main cities: Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam.
Dutch comic characters:
Cobra (Klaus Voorhees) (Marvel)
Van Helsing (Marvel)
Flying Dutchman (Marvel)
Piet Voorhees (Second Cobra) (Marvel)
Van Burian (Marvel)
Rembrant Van Rijn (Public Domain)
Abraham Van Helsing (Public Domain)
Vincent Van Gogh (Public Domain)
Joop Klepzeiker (CiC)
Willem of Orange
Rembrant van Rijn
Vincent van Gogh
Marinus van der Lubbe