As Switzerland is the highest country in Europe, so The Netherlands is the lowest. One-third of Switzerland lies above the snow-line; one-third of Holland is below the level of the sea. There are no forests, rocks, or hills in the whole country, the highest land being less than 200 feet above the ocean, which is literally dammed out of the land by sand mounds along a part of the coast and dikes built at other places.
The country comprises 12,680 square miles (200 miles long by 60 wide), with a population of 4,550,870 people. It is bounded on the west and north by the North Sea; on the south by Belgium; and tA HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY on the east by Germany. Religion - Prot-estants, 2.469,814; Roman Catholics, 1,439,-137; Jews, 81,693. Government - Hereditary and constitutional monarchy. Executive, the sovereign. Legislative, the sovereign and Parliament or States-General, composed of the First Chamber with fifty members, and the Second Chamber with 190. Education - There are four universities (Leyden, Groningen, Utrecht, and Amsterdam), attended by over 2,000 students ; 1,278 private and higher class schools, with over 175,000 scholars; 2,923 public elementary schools, with 45,000 pupils.
Next to England, the Netherlands possess the most important colonial possessions. Nearly 23,000,000 of her colonial inhabitants are in the Island of Java; the balance are principally in Borneo, the Celebes, the Moluccas, Sumatra, Surinam, and New Guinea.
Travelers in Holland are struck by the novel appearance of windmills scattered all over the land, and canals running through it like roads. Windmills grind the grain, saw the wood, wash the garments, pump the water off the lowlands, and do all sorts of work. In summer the canals are used for boats, and in winter as roads for vehicles, sleighing and skating. The chief city of Holland is Amsterdam, its commercial centre, with a population of 513,000. It stands on soft, wet ground, the houses being generally built on piles. The capital is The Hague, with a population of 200,000
Queen Wilhelmina, the present ruler of Holland, succeeded to the throne in 1890, at the age often years. In February, 1901, she was married to Duke Henry of Mecklenburg- Schwerin. She is universally beloved, and regarded as a wise ruler.