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Netherlands

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The Kingdom of Netherlands, also referred to as simply the Netherlands or Holland (pars pro toto), is a country mainly located in Europe. The Netherlands by itself refers to the 12 European provinces, whereas the Kingdom also includes the overseas constituent territories of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. All four parts of the Kingdom are refered to as "countries", which adds a further layer of confusion.

The Dutch have dominated baseball in Europe for decades and have won the most European Championships, well ahead of #2 Italy. The Netherlands has competed in the Olympics almost every year in which baseball has been played and have done okay, though they have won no medals. The top league in the Netherlands is Hoofdklasse. Baseball in the Netherlands is known as "Honkbal".

The combination of the biannual tournaments Haarlemse Honkbalweek and the World Port Tournament ensures there is at least one international tournament held in the country every year.

The three Dutch host cities to the 2009 Baseball World Cup (Haarlem, Rotterdam and Amsterdam) are all part of Holland in the strictest sense. This region, a former county with no current official status, has also been home to all but one or two of the Hoofdklasse teams in recent years.

The four constituent countries of the Kingdom of Netherlands have almost complete independence when it concerns home affairs (currency, health and social services, etc), but all foreign affairs (like citizenship, international relations or defense) are referred to the Kingdom. To keep it all simple and cheap, the government of the Kingdom is formed by the government of the largest constituent country - the Netherlands - with representatives of the other three countries added to ensure representativity.

Sport is considered as home affair, and where sport is concerned the constituent countries are (small) countries in their own right, but as the constituent countries in the Kingdom share the same nationality, it is more or less possible to choose the constituent country one represents. This way the best players of the entire kingdom can be on the same national team, (the Netherlands, which is by far the largest and uses the same flag as the kingdom) as is the case with the national baseball team or athletes from the Netherlands can be used to strengthen one of the Caribbean teams (Ladies hockey, Beijing Olympics qualifier).

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