Almost everyone in the world has heard of the Netherlands. Although not everyone can pinpoint Holland accurately on an atlas or map, most foreigners are at least familiar with Dutch cheese, Dutch tulips and of course, the highly successful Dutch football team.
THE NETHERLANDS AND IT'S EPIC STRUGGLE WITH WATER
|There is a famous saying in Holland - "God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands". The Netherlands is threatened not only by the sea, but|
the vast estuaries of several large European rivers, including the Rhine, Maas
THE PROVINCES OF THE NETHERLANDS
The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, which is not strictly correct. Holland specifically relates to only two of twelve provinces in the Netherlands, each with its own regional dialect and customs. In Friesland, a province in the north of the country, the official language of Frisian is taught in addition to Dutch in schools, whilst in Limburg to the south, the local dialect has a distinctly German and French influence.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands also incorporates a number of Caribbean islands that carry the special status of being a municipality of the Netherlands.
THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT
The Netherlands is both a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. This means that, like the UK, the Netherlands has a democratically elected government and a royal Head of State. King Willem-Alexander is currently the formal Head of State, who along with ministers and members of parliament, form the Dutch government. In reality, though, the royal family exerts very limited political influence and the King is regarded as purely a ceremonial figure by most.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF THE NETHERLANDS
The Dutch landscape is extremely varied, combining vibrant cities and breathtaking natural scenery with a rich cultural heritage. Due to the compact nature of the country, these are all within easy geographical reach for the fortunate tourist. For endless
If you want to admire the famous Dutch countryside and picturesque villages, then head off to the beautiful province of North Holland. In the Zaanse
THE DUTCH PEOPLE
With over 16 million inhabitants, the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. In addition to natural population growth, many foreigners settled in the Netherlands, creating a rich and culturally diverse community. Although the Dutch are rapidly turning away from religion, there are many who still actively practice a faith. Although the majority are Christian, there is a
The Netherlands also boasts a disproportionately large number of international celebrities and not just the world-famous artists such as Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh. Almost everyone has heard of the big name Dutch sports stars, including footballers Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Wesley Sneijder.
The Dutch, like the British, are also known for their incessant grumbling about the unpredictable weather. Despite this, studies consistently show that they are one of the happiest populations on the planet. That's not surprising when you consider the exceptionally high standard of living enjoyed by the Dutch. Work-life balance is also taken very seriously in the Netherlands, with the Dutch benefiting from more paid annual leave than the rest of the world. And when the Dutch go on holiday, they prefer to bring a little bit of home with them! In the summer you can witness the mass exodus of Dutch holidaymakers heading for sunnier climes, with their trusty caravans in tow. They flock in droves to the campsites of France, Italy and Spain and in winter are welcome and familiar guests on the ski slopes of Austria and Switzerland.
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DUTCH EMIGRATION AND THE NETHERLANDS SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR
|The Netherlands has a very international outlook and takes an assertive role in both NATO and the European Union. It is a leading exporter of machinery, fuel, chemicals, flowers, fruit |
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