The Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in western Europe, shares borders with Belgium and Germany and has been a separate country since 1581, when it declared independence from Spain, although its independence was not formally recognized until 1648. A founding member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union), the Netherlands has a population of 16,856,620 (2014 estimate) and covers an area of 16,039 square miles (about 51,527 square kilometers), making it one of the more densely populated countries in the world. There is a very high standard of living and universal health care in the country, and Dutch citizens are ranked the fourth-happiest people in the world in the United Nations World Happiness Report.

The Dutch had long been affected by malaria and other ...

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