The Netherlands is one of the four autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The European country borders Germany & Belgium and has a long North Sea coast. The landscape is rather flat and unspectacular, but thanks to exciting cities and a lot of atmosphere, it still offers some great highlights as a travel destination. See ANDYEDUCATION for education in Netherlands.
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Fast facts to know
- The Netherlands is a parliamentary monarchy.
- The color of the Dutch royal family is orange.
- Almost a third of the Netherlands is below sea level.
- The highest point in the Netherlands is the Vaalserberg at 323 metres.
- There are more than 35,000 kilometers of cycle paths in the Netherlands.
- In Amsterdam and other cities, cyclists often have the right of way.
- Christmas is not celebrated in the Netherlands, but “Sinterklaas” (Santa Claus).
- Most Dutch people have a sweet tooth.
- The country has a very high density of museums.
- Rotterdam has the largest port in the world.
- There are more than 1,200 bridges in Amsterdam.
- Around 1,000 operational windmills are still operational across the country.
Exciting cities in the Netherlands
- The Hague
History of the Netherlands
- Area of the Netherlands already inhabited since the last glacial period.
- 50 B.C. BC Conquest by the Romans, later part of the Frankish Empire.
- After the division of the Frankish Empire, the lower lands belonged to the East Frankish Kingdom and then to the Holy Roman Empire.
- Once included what is now Belgium and parts of northern France and western Germany.
- 1581 Declaration of Independence from the Spanish Crown.
- After eighty years of war, the independence of the Netherlands from Spain is recognized in the Peace of Westphalia on May 15, 1648.
- The southern Netherlands – today’s Belgium – remains with Spain, so the Netherlands is henceforth divided.
- The Netherlands rose to become one of the greatest maritime and economic powers of the 17th century.
- 1806-1810 Kingdom of Holland.
- 1810 Netherlands is annexed to France under Napoleon.
- 1813 renewed independence.
- 1815 Incorporation of the southern Netherlands (today’s Belgium) until the Belgian Revolution of 1830.
- The country remained neutral during World War I, but was occupied by Germany during World War II.
- In the 1950s, the Netherlands are among the ten largest economic powerhouses in the world.
Climate & travel weather in the Netherlands
- Temperate maritime climate.
- Not too warm summers and quite mild winters.
- Rapidly changing weather on the coast.
- Strong storms from October to November.
- Recommended travel time:
- Beach holiday: August and September.
- City trips: May to September.
- Winter months rather uncomfortable.
Ideas for trips in the Netherlands
- Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
- Canal cruise in Amsterdam.
- Mills of Kinderdijk.
- The Delta Works in Zeeland.
- Zaanse Schans.
- Cheese market Alkmaar.
- On the road by bike.
- Admire the tulips at Keukenhof.
- Efteling amusement park.
- Rotterdam Zoo.
- Enjoy a break in a café in Utrecht.
- Castle of Haar.
- Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
- Visit one of the many beautiful beaches.
Eating & drinking in the Netherlands
- Sweets are very popular.
- Warm meals are usually served in the evenings.
- Typical meal time is 6 p.m. (prefer not to disturb unannounced).
- Mostly served potatoes, vegetables and meat and sauce.
- Chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag) are very popular for breakfast.
- Snack bars and quick, small dishes or simple snacks are preferred at lunchtime.
- In the afternoon we like to have stroopwafels.
- The Netherlands are considered a tea nation.
- Kopje Koffie very popular.
- More of a beer nation, good wines are hard to find.
- Known for good cheeses such as Emmental, Gouda and Maasdammer.
- Eating out in the Netherlands is quite expensive.
- Typical opening times of restaurants from 6 p.m. to approx. 10.30 p.m.
- Typical dishes:
- Andijviestamppot (endive and potato stew).
- Asperges met krieltjes in botersaus (asparagus with small new potatoes in butter sauce).
- Erwtensoep (pea soup).
- Fryske mosterdsoep (Frisian mustard soup).
- Hutspot (carrot, onion and potato stew).
- Stamppot met boerenkool (potato and kale stew).
- Texelse lamsbout (leg of lamb from Texel, quite salty).
- Gorgeous beaches
- Wadden Sea of the North Sea
- Natural areas such as the Hoge Veluwe and the Oostvaardersplassen