How liberal is the Netherlands?

In the 1960s, the Netherlands transformed itself from a former colonial empire with a predominantly provincial mentality into a small nation with a predominantly international mentality. Whereas the Netherlands had traditionally been considered as a profoundly religious country with rather conservative moral values, the country’s capital Amsterdam became a symbol of progressiveness and secularism. The Netherlands was far more radical than any other country in applying the progressive philosophy of the sixties to political practice. Whether in the case of same-sex marriage, abortion, the legalization of soft drugs, prostitution or euthanasia, Dutch legislators were European frontrunners with their gedoogbeleid. The exploitation of prostitution was legalized in the year 2000, euthanasia is legal since 2001. According to the 1992 policy on soft drugs, the possession of a maximum amount of thirty grams cannabis for personal use is not prosecuted, yet the production of soft drugs continues to be a criminal offense. Coffeeshops are allowed to sell up to five grams per day per costumer and can have a maximum of 500 gram cannabis in stock. In 2001, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to allow same-sex marriages.

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