The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederlanden), officially known as the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden), is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy located in Western Europe, South America and the Caribbeans. As the Kingdom, it consists of three constituent countries: Metropolitan Netherlands, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. Metropolitan Netherlands (officially known only as "the Netherlands"), while only a quarter in size compared with Suriname, is administering most of the kingdom affairs on behalf of the entire kingdom, with Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles being dependent on the Metropolitan Netherlands.
As the constituent country, it is a parliamentary democracy organized as a unitary state. Metropolitan Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and West Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders with Belgium, West Germany and the United Kingdom. Metropolitan Netherlands is the lowest country in the earth, with about 20% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one meter above sea level, hence the meaning of the country's name, "lower countries." The capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague.