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Northern France (French: La France du Nord) is a parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy, located in Western Europe. It is bordered by England and Wales, the English Channel, and Belgium and Luxembourg to the north, Germany and Northern Italy and Croatia to the east, Southern France to the south, and the Atlantic to the east.
Northern France is a densely populated country. It is popularly known for its traditional windmills, tulips, cheese, clogs (wooden shoes), delftware and gouda pottery, for its bicycles, and, on the other hand, traditional values and civil virtues such as its classic social tolerance. The country is more recently known for its rather liberal policies toward recreational drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, and euthanasia.
Northern France has an international outlook; among other affiliations the country is a founding member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, and has signed the Kyoto protocol. Along with Belgium and Luxembourg and Germany, Northern France is one of three member nations of the Begefra economic union. The country is host to five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for The Middle East. All of these courts (except the Special Tribunal for The Middle East), as well as the EU's criminal intelligence agency (Europol), are situated in Brest, which has led to the city being referred to as "the world's legal capital."