A small populated area in the Western Europe, where the richness of history and culture is overflowing. The visit to the Museums and Galleries is always on the top of the list. The Rijksmuseum is on top of the list, this is dedicated to the arts and history of the country. After the indoors you could explore the city more through the canals. Since it is a watery city, most of it could be visited through hopping on and off the boats and see the marvels of the inner city. Lastly, there is the countryside with its historic windmills. So regardless if you’re outdoorsy or more of an indoor person, Netherlands is the best place for you.
Netherlands – Important and interesting Facts
- The Netherlands has the highest population density (493 inhabitants per square km – water excluded) of any European country with over 1 million inhabitants. Worldwide, only Bangladesh and Taiwan, among major countries, have a higher density of population.
- The Netherlands’ name literally means “Low Country“, inspired by its low and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made. About half of its surface area is less than 1 metre above sea level. Its highest point is 321 metres (1,053 ft) above sea level.
- Statistically, the tallest people in the world, as measured by country are the Dutch. The average height for all adults for the Netherlands is 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m). This great leap in height is a huge change for Holland, where about 100 years ago, 25% of men who attempted to join the army were rejected as being too short, less than 62 inches (1.57 m) tall. Dutch people are the tallest in the world, with an average height of 184 cm for men and 170 cm for women. Some believe it’s the combined result of DNA and dairy.
- Dutch people have the lowest incidence of lactose intolerance of any country – only 1%. Why? Milk products form a large part of the staple diet – even that of adults. A staple food is a food that is eaten routinely, and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a standard diet in a given population, supplying a large fraction of the needs for energy-rich materials and generally a significant proportion of the intake of other nutrients as well.
- Giethoorn is a village in the Dutch province of Overijssel. It is located in the municipality of Steenwijkerland, about 5 km southwest of Steenwijk. The village of Giethoorn, in the province of Overijssel, does not have any roads. All transport is done by water over one of the many canals. It is known as the “Venice of the Netherlands”.
- Tulips were imported from the Ottoman Empire and became very popular in Holland in the early 17th century. Nowadays, the Netherlands is the world’s first producer and exporter of tulips. The Netherlands are the world’s main producer of commercial tulip plants, producing as many as 3 billion bulbs annually, and the majority for export.
- Keukenhof is located in South Holland in the small town of Lisse, south of Haarlem and southwest of Amsterdam. Keukenhof Park is the second largest flower garden in the world following the Dubai Miracle Garden. According to the official website for the Keukenhof Park, approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares (79 acres).
- The Dutch city of Eindhoven is also known as the City of Light because the electronics giant Philips started there and some of its first products were light bulbs. Philips is well-represented throughout the city, in fact, the “PSV” in the football team PSV Eindhoven actually refers to the Philips Sport Club (Vereniging). Interestingly, on Dutch TV – which was non-commercial at the time – they never referred to the company name, instead calling Philips a “light bulb manufacturer in the south of the country”.
- Rotterdam, in South Holland, is the largest seaport in Europe and one of the busiest ports in the world, It used to be the largest port in the world by cargo tonnage, until being overtaken by Singapore in the 1990’s, then Shanghai in 2003. Rotterdam’s commercial and strategic importance is based on its location near the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas (New Meuse), a channel in the delta formed by the Rhine and Meuse on the North Sea. These rivers lead directly into the centre of Europe, including the industrial Ruhr region.
- There are approximately 1,170 windmills in the Netherlands. The Dutch have become very innovative when it comes to keeping out the water. They have built dykes, fortifications and last but not least wind and watermills to create new land. The oldest mill is a watermill that dates back to the eighth century. These techniques were used to pump dry hundreds of lakes and swamps and to prevent land from flooding. Today, windmills are characteristic of the Dutch landscape and a symbol of the Dutch struggle with water.
Netherlands – Cool, Fun, and Funny Facts
- Gin was invented in the Netherlands under the name of Jenever (pronounced yeh-NAY-ver) and was originally used for medicinal purposes in the 16th century. The juniper berry, which is used to mask the flavour, comes from the juniper bush, a protected plant.
- The Dutch have many different options for breakfast. They also often eat ontbijtkoek which is their breakfast cake, also known as peperkoek (pepper cake) or kruidkoek (spice cake). This “cake” is more like dense, sticky bread. The taste is sweet but strong, and the cake includes spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. A local northern variation is flavoured with aniseed and curiously called “oudewijvenkoek” (old hag’s cake).
- The microscope, the telescope, pendulum clock and the mercury thermometer are all 16th or 17th century Dutch inventions.
- There are 1170 windmills in the Netherlands. The famous windmills of Holland are Kinderdijk, The mills of Schiedam, and Zaanse Schans. Kinderdijk has 19 mills that give you a great impression of how floods were prevented and it is the most famous group of polder mills and is World Heritage listed. The mills of Schiedam are the five largest windmills in the world. These gigantic windmills, some over 40 meters high, played an important role in the production of jenever (Dutch gin). Zaanse Schans, some 250 years ago, well over 600 mills formed the first industrial site in the world. They performed a wide range of industrial duties, such as producing shelves, paint, mustard, oil and paper. Today it’s an open-air conservation area and museum, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.
- Smith & Jones in Amsterdam is Europe’s first and only addiction clinic, Since the clinic opened in 2006, Smith & Jones Centre has treated hundreds from compulsive gambling to alcoholism, and from eating disorders to video game addiction. Keith Bakker, an addiction consultant at the Netherlands-based center, said so many people with game-related problems were entering the consultancy’s other programs, Smith and Jones decided a game-focused program was necessary.
- The Dutch love skating on natural ice, but the vagaries of the Netherlands’ weather cannot guarantee a perfect ice floor every year. So in 1961 the practical Dutch were the third nation on earth to open an ice rink with a 400-metre lane and an ice hockey stadium. Even when it’s not freezing, the ice floor is kept below freezing temperature by a system of cooling tubes underneath the surface.
- The first country to legalise same sex marriages in April 21, 2001 and on that day four same-sex couples were married by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, who became a registrar specifically to officiate at the weddings. A few months earlier, Mayor Cohen had been junior Minister of Justice of the Netherlands and was responsible for putting the new marriage and adoption laws through parliament.
- The Dutch are the world experts on keeping back water from the sea and rivers turning Netherlands into an Atlantis. The US government turned to the Dutch for help during the hurricane Katrina disaster.
- Amsterdam is one of the capitals with the most museums in the world. When measured by museums per square metre, Amsterdam has more museums than most other capital cities of the world. It boasts 51 well-known museums that are dedicated to a many varied topics from the history of sex to the use of marijuana to the life of a famous painter.
- The Schiphol Airport is actually 5 m below sea level. Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world’s 14th busiest by total passenger traffic in 2013. Schiphol is the primary hub for KLM and its regional affiliate KLM Cityhopper as well as for Arkefly, Corendon Dutch Airlines, Martinair, and Transavia.com. The airport also serves as a European hub for Delta Air Lines and as a base for Vueling
- For 4 evenings in a row during May and June since 1909, thousands of Dutch school children and their parents walk 5 or 10 km at a time through streets in huge processions called the avondvierdaagse, or ‘evening four-day marches’ while slurping on half-cut lemons and sweets on strings around their necks
- The Dutch are the second largest consumers of coffee in the world after the Scandinavians with an average of 140 litres of coffee a year or 3.2 cups a day. Nearly half of all coffee which is consumed in the Netherlands is sustainable coffee and thus we are already ahead of all other countries. The United States is second, but lies well behind with 15 percent.
Netherlands – History and Cultural Facts
- New York City started as Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. Many places names in New York remind of the Dutch origins of the city, such as Flushing in Queens (famous for Flushing Meadows), named after Flushing in the Dutch province of Zeeland.
- The Dutch national anthem, Wilhelmus, is the oldest in the world. It was written and first used from 1568, although it was only officially adopted in 1932. The national flag of the Netherlands dates from 1572 and is also the oldest tricolour flag.
- In the late 16th century, Gin was invented in the Netherlands under the name of Jenever. It was first sold as a medicine. Netherlands gins, known as Hollands, geneva, genever, or Schiedam, for a distilling centre near Rotterdam, are made from a mash containing barley malt, fermented to make beer. The beer is distilled, producing spirits called malt wine, with 50–55 percent alcohol content by volume. This product is distilled again with juniper berries and other botanicals, producing a final product
- Orange-coloured carrots appeared in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Before that carrots were white, yellow, black, purple or red. Orange carrots are said to have been bred in honour of the House of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spain and later became the Dutch Royal family. Orange is still the official colour of the Netherlands and a sign of patriotism. The Dutch national football team wears a bright orange shirt. And the country’s largest financial institution, the ING Group, makes abundant use of the national colour on its logo and on the decoration of its banks.
- The Dutch were the first Europeans to discover Australia and New Zealand in the 17th century. Australia was then named “New Holland”. New Zealand was named after the province of Zeeland. Tasmania was named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman (1603-1659).
- When Napoleon occupied the Netherlands in 1810, everybody was forced to take on a family name for taxation purposes. The Dutch thought it was only going to be a temporary measure, so they made up comical or offensive sounding names, such as Naaktgeboren (Born naked) and Poepjes (Little pooh), as a practical joke on their French occupiers.
- In the Netherlands, as in many countries with a Catholic history, Friday is fish day (Vrijdag visdag). Monday is also commonly known as washing day (Maandag wasdag). But the Dutch add a rather unusual day to the weekly to-do list: Woensdag gehaktdag – Wednesday mince day (for the North Americans, that’s ground meat day). The name comes from the fact that, until well into the 20th century, meat was a luxury reserved for Sundays. So, when butchers had a mid-week sale on gehakt halfom (half beef, half pork), that was Woensdag gehaktdag.
- Although the Portuguese were the first Europeans to “discover” tea in East Asia, it was the Dutch who introduced the beverage commercially to Europe in 1610. Tea didn’t reach England until the 1650’s.
- Indonesia was a Dutch colony until 1945. Jakarta was then called “Batavia”, after the Latin name for the Netherlands. Dutch language is still spoken by a minority of Indonesians.
- The KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) is the longest running national airline in the world. It was founded in 1919. Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij N.V. (Royal Dutch Airlines), best known by its initials KLM, is the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands. It is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. As of 2013 it had 32,505 employees.