Tulips, bikes…and so much more!
If you ask a non-Dutch what they associate with the Netherlands you will probably hear one of the following terms: tulips, cheese and bicycles. Am I right? Here are some less well known facts about the Netherlands.
Did you know that the Netherlands is one of the world’s most densely populated countries? In fact, its 16,5 million inhabitants live in an area that is little bigger than half of Scotland. All these people together form a multicultural society in which almost everyone has a good command of English. The three municipalities with the highest number of inhabitants are the Dutch capital Amsterdam, the seat of Dutch government and parliament The Hague and Rotterdam.The whole country is connected by an excellent and extensively used public transport network. Dutch trains, for instance, are daily frequented by more than 1 million people.
Although the Netherlands is a small country it is the sixteenth largest economy in the world, ranking tenth in GDP per capita. It is also a leading country in ICT innovation. Find out more about Dutch ICT innovation here.
Do you still want to know more about the Netherlands? Here are some interesting facts.
- King Willem-Alexander is the head of state in the Netherlands: Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother Queen Beatrix in April 2013. Before him reigned three generations of women, so he is the first Dutch king in 123 years.
- Around 87% of Dutch speak English: The English proficiency of the Dutch is very high. This is a big advantage for people from other countries that come to live in the Netherlands.
- The Netherlands truly is a low country: As 26% of the Netherlands lies below sea level it is the lowest country in Europe. The country's highest point is 332 metres above sea level and the lowest point lies seven metres below sea level. A lot of tourists arrive at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport which lies three metres below sea level.
- Orange is the Dutch national colour: Every footbal fan knows that the Dutch national team plays in orange. Orange is the national colour because the Dutch royal family comes from the House of Orange. For this reason everyone dresses up in orange to celebrate the king's birthday on 27 april.
- One Dutch province is made from land which was reclaimed from the sea: This province is called Flevoland and it was created in the 20th century.
- Not all Dutch people live in Holland or in Europe: This is because North-Holland and South-Holland are provinces in the west of the Netherlands. Only the people living in these provinces actually are from Holland. Moreover, the citizens of the three Caribbean islands Bonaire, Sint Eustasius and Saba officially are Dutch. These islands are former colonies and are nowadays still part of the Netherlands.
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