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The Netherlands is a former colonial and shipping power which had interests as far east as Indonesia, as far south as South Africa, and as far west as the Caribbean. Many residents of these colonies settled in the Netherlands, along with guest workers from all over the world, international business people and their families, and religious and political refugees from many countries. These non-native residents have created an interesting tapestry of homeland-oriented communities with various cultures and interests throughout the Netherlands.
People living in the Netherlands can become part of an international community where Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, and other beliefs can be practiced or followed in churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other venues, with services conducted in many languages. There are organizations and group activities oriented to varied interests, with the added benefit of greatly enriching life through friendships with people from all over the world, including, of course, the Dutch.