Low Countries

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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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Low Countries, region of NW Europe comprising the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The northern parts of the Netherlands and Belgium form a low plain bordering on the North Sea, but S Belgium and Luxembourg are part of the Ardennes plateau. The name Low Countries is a political and historic term rather than a strictly geographic concept. One of the wealthiest areas of medieval and modern Europe, it has also been a chronic battle site. For a history of the Low Countries, see articles on the individual nations and provinces (e.g., Flanders; Brabant, duchy of; Holland). See also Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish.

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Low Coun·tries the region of northwestern Europe that includes the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.