|Once part of the Holy Roman Empire, the country['s name actually describes it geography -- it is a low-lying region ever at the mercy of the sea. The Netherlands has been independent since the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648. A prosperous land, with an economy based on trade and seafaring, the Netherlands grew to empire status through its acquisition of Indonesia, Ceylon, South Africa, Surinam, portions of the West indies, and New Amsterdam. Added to this, it even came to monopolize the West's trade with Japan after 1637. The country was held in high esteem in Europe such that its influence far exceeded the importance that might be expected from its size. Germany's invasion of the country beginning in 1940 resulted in the Royal Family fleeing to safety in England for the duration of the War. The occupation caused severe damage to the country and the post-war period was difficult. The Netherlands lost Indonesia and had to work at reorganizing the country's economy. It participated in the "economic miracle" that transformed Europe's economic structure. Stable and successful, the netherlands continues to play a key role in European affairs.