Low Countries Region of nw Europe now occupied by the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy from 1384 and the Habsburgs from 1477, it was the most advanced and prosperous region of n Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Dutch gained independence as the United Provinces in 1609. The southern Netherlands (Belgium), after a period united with the Dutch (1815–30), became an independent kingdom in 1830. The Dutch House of Orange ruled Luxembourg until 1890, when it passed to another branch.
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