The Netherlands

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About

• The Netherlands, also commonly called Holland in English, is a European country, bordering Germany to the east and Belgium to the south.
• The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands is referred to as “Dutch”.
• The population of The Netherlands is over 16 million.
• Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands.
• The national language in the Netherlands is Dutch. Officially, the Netherlands is bilingual, as Frisian is also an official language. Frisian is the second closest living language to English.
• The geography of the Netherlands is dominated by water features. The country is crisscrossed with rivers, canals and dikes, and the beach is never far away.
• The western coast of the Netherlands has beautiful North Sea beaches.

HISTORY
• The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579.
• After a 20 year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom.
• The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I.
• In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and 5 years after, the nation was liberated. The Netherlands then joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1958.

INTERESTING FACTS
• There are around 16 million bicycles in Holland, which supposedly means almost one for every inhabitant.
• The highest point in the country is called the ‘mountain’ and it is as much as 323 meters high.
• Hollanders usually have a bunch of flowers in their living rooms.
• Holland has the highest museum density in the world, with almost 1000 museums.
• The Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum of Holland house the largest Van Gogh collections in the world.
• The landscape of Holland is dotted with windmills, which have become its hallmark.
• A consistent drainage is necessary to save Holland from flooding. For the purpose, windmills were used in the previous centuries.
• Other uses of windmills in Holland are corn milling and saw milling. Over the years, the use of windmills has changed. Though still used for drainage, they are predominantly considered as tourist attractions.
• Holland makes up roughly 13 percent of The Netherlands.
• As many as 300 castles in the country are open to the public.

Avg. Costs

Budget less than €100
• Dorm bed €22-€35; supermarkets and lunchtime specials for food €15;
Midrange €100–€200
• Double room €125; three-course dinner in casual restaurant €30
Top end – more than €200
• Four-star hotel double room €230; five-course dinner in top restaurant €50; private canal boat rental for two hours €90

• Average per person per day €115
• A can of Coke €2.41
• Public toilets must normally be paid for. Prices range between €0.20 and €1, which must either be handed to a toilet assistant or inserted into a slot
• Hotel with breakfast €70-150, Lunch €12-15, Wine/Beer €3-6
• Day pass for transport €4-5
• Taxi- € 7.50 start + €2.50/km
• Museum entry €5-7

Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

• The Netherlands is generally considered a safe country.
• However, be alert in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other large cities that are plagued by pickpockets and bicycle theft, violent crimes are very rare.
• In the larger cities, certain areas are considered unsafe at night.
• When walking or camping in forests and dunes be aware of ticks and tick-carrying diseases such as Lyme disease. It is advisable to wear long sleeves and to put trousers into your socks.

Climate

• The Netherlands have a temperate climate, which means that summers are generally cool and winters are generally mild.
• Every month of the year has rainfall, some are although very dry or wet.
• The best time to go is from May to September.
• March is the driest month. July and August are the wettest and hottest months.
• Like much of Europe, the high season runs from June to August, which is known for its hot, sticky spells.
• As the temperature drops, so does the number of tourists – things are calmest from mid-October to mid-March.

Places to See

Places to see are coming soon.

Etiquette

• It is not advisable to be forceful about your own religion or to assume a Dutch person you’ve met is a Catholic or a Calvinist, since most people do not adhere to any faith at all, and the country has a long, proud history of cultural and religious tolerance.
• In the Netherlands, cheek-kissing is a common way of greeting among women and between women and men. Two men will generally shake hands. Kissing is particularly suitable for informal occasions, and is also common practice when congratulating someone. Hand shaking is more appropriate for formal occasions. Trying to shake hands when offered a kiss or refusing a kiss altogether could be considered odd or rude.
• The Netherlands can be very direct or outspoken towards each other and to strangers. This “openness” sometimes can be misunderstood as being rude, nosy or unmannered. The Dutch merely see this as a sign of honesty and trust rather than being unmannered. So do not be shy and try to go with the flow.

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