Low Countries

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Low Countries,

region of NW Europe comprising the NetherlandsNetherlands
, Du. Nederland or Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, officially Kingdom of the Netherlands, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 16,407,000), 15,963 sq mi (41,344 sq km), NW Europe.
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, BelgiumBelgium
, Du. België, Fr. La Belgique, officially Kingdom of Belgium, constitutional kingdom (2005 est. pop. 10,364,000), 11,781 sq mi (30,513 sq km), NW Europe.
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, and the Grand Duchy of LuxembourgLuxembourg
or Luxemburg
, officially Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, grand duchy (2005 est. pop. 469,000), 998 sq mi (2,586 sq km), W Europe. Roughly triangular, it borders on Belgium in the west and north, Germany in the east, and France in the south.
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. The northern parts of the Netherlands and Belgium form a low plain bordering on the North Sea, but S Belgium and Luxembourg are part of the Ardennes plateau. The name Low Countries is a political and historic term rather than a strictly geographic concept. One of the wealthiest areas of medieval and modern Europe, it has also been a chronic battle site. For a history of the Low Countries, see articles on the individual nations and provinces (e.g., FlandersFlanders
, former county in the Low Countries, extending along the North Sea and W of the Scheldt (Escaut) River. It is divided among East Flanders and West Flanders provs., Belgium; Nord and Pas-de-Calais depts., France; and (to a small extent) Zeeland prov., the Netherlands.
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; Brabant, duchy ofBrabant, duchy of,
former duchy, divided between Belgium (Brabant and Antwerp provs.) and the Netherlands (North Brabant prov.). Louvain, Brussels, and Antwerp were its chief cities. The duchy of Brabant emerged (1190) from the duchy of Lower Lorraine.
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; HollandHolland,
former county of the Holy Roman Empire and, from 1579 to 1795, chief member of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Its name is popularly applied to the entire Netherlands. Holland has been divided since 1840 into two provinces, North Holland and South Holland.
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). See also Netherlands, Austrian and SpanishNetherlands, Austrian and Spanish,
that part of the Low Countries that, from 1482 until 1794, remained under the control of the imperial house of Hapsburg. The area corresponds roughly to modern Belgium and Luxembourg.
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