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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Netherlands. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Netherlands. The Netherlands is the first country to make euthanasia legal. In 2000, the Dutch government voted to legalize same-sex marriages with the same pension, social security, and inheritance rights accorded to married heterosexual couples. In July, the Dutch government ratified the Rome Statute, which provides for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court. Once established, the court will be headquartered in the Netherlands. All Dutch newspapers cooperate in the administration of the independent Netherlands News Agency. Radio and television broadcasters operate autonomously under the supervision and regulation of the state and offer pluralistic views.