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Friesian is the second official language of the Netherlands; it is spoken by a half million Friesians.
Significant local variations of Dutch culture include the Friesian culture in the extreme north and the Brabant and Limburg cultures in the south.Nevertheless, the Randstad culture has been hegemonic in the Netherlands because of the concentration of political, economic, and cultural power in that densely populated region. The Netherlands is situated in northwestern Europe and borders on Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North sea to the west and north.The name "Netherlands" means "Low Lands" in reference to the nation's topography as an alluvial plain. Almost one-quarter of the landmass is below sea level, protected from the encroaching sea by dikes and dunes.The flag consists of three horizontal strips in the colors red, white, and blue. It was a rebel song during the independence war against Spain and was adopted as the national anthem in 1932.The complex relationship of the Dutch people with the sea is notable.Most Dutch people reject the notion and consider it to be tainted with an unacceptable form of nationalism.Instead, they emphasize the country's cultural diversity, tolerance of difference, and receptiveness to foreign influences.The twentieth century was characterized by the influx of guest workers from the Mediterranean, migrants from the former Dutch colonies, and refugees from war-torn countries.The Netherlands does not have a strong uniform national culture.These four cities together with a string of interconnected towns, form the Randstad, which has a population of 6,100,000. The Netherlands had a population of 15,898,331 in 2000.It is the most densely populated country in Europe (1,196 inhabitants per square mile [462 per square kilometer] in 1996). The majority, approximately 780,000, originate from the European Union, including 432,000 Germans.