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About this region
Dutch people (Dutch: Nederlanders) or the Dutch are a Germanic ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Aruba, Suriname, Guyana, Curaçao, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United States. The Low Countries were situated around the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire, forming a part of their respective peripheries, and the various territories of which they consisted had become virtually autonomous by the 13th century. Under the Habsburgs, the Netherlands were organised into a single administrative unit, and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Northern Netherlands gained independence from Spain as the Dutch Republic. The high degree of urbanization characteristic of Dutch society was attained at a relatively early date. During the Republic the first series of large-scale Dutch migrations outside of Europe took place. The Dutch have left behind a substantial legacy despite the limited size of their country. The Dutch people are generally seen as the pioneers of capitalism, and their emphasis on a modern economy, secularism, and a free market ultimately had a huge influence on the great powers of the West, especially the British Empire, its Thirteen Colonies, and ultimately the United States.The traditional arts and culture of the Dutch encompasses various forms of traditional music, dances, architectural styles and clothing, some of which are globally recognizable. Internationally, Dutch painters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh are held in high regard. The dominant religion of the Dutch was Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), although in modern times the majority are no longer religious. Significant percentages of the Dutch are adherents of humanism, agnosticism, atheism or individual spirituality.
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