Last updated on March 8th, 2018
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten. The Netherlands is a west European country. The Netherlands contains roughly 98% of the area and population of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and it also looks after the affairs of the Kingdom. With these facts about The Netherlands, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, culture, government and more…
1. The Netherlands literally means “low countries.” As 50% of the land of the country is just over 1m above sea level. Moreover, 21% of its population and 26% of its area is below sea level. Belgium and Luxembourg are other examples of low lying countries.
2. Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the second largest in the world. Between 1962 and 2004, it was also the world’s busiest port. Shanghai, China has the biggest port in the world.
3. The Netherlands remained neutral in the World War I but was invaded and occupied by Germany in the World War II.
4. After the World War II, some 500,000 Dutch left the country in search of better opportunities.
5. It is the world’s first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001.
6. It is also a founding member of the EU, NATO, OECD, WTO and also a part of Schengen Area.
8. The Netherlands is classified as a densely populated country. In 2017, the population density of the country is 504 (17,084,719 people living on 33,893 sq km of land area.) Other densely populated countries include Bangladesh (1212 people per square kilometer of land area) and Taiwan (728 people per square kilometer of land area).
9. After the U.S., the Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products.
11. The five largest cities of the Netherlands are Amsterdam (capital), Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Eindhoven.
12. According to the World Happiness Report – 2017, the Netherland is the sixth-most happiest country in the world.
13. The official websites of the country are Holland.com and hollandtradeandinvest.com. Holland is so effectively used in the country which is why the websites’ names are still used in the old way.
14. Houten, a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht, is considered to be the safest place in the world. Wondering why? Because nobody drives cars in the town and today all of its residents use bikes for commuting.
15. The Netherlands is an undisputed world leader in water management. They are home to world’s ten best engineering firms for water project management, after the U.S.
The Flag of the Netherlands
16. The country is famous for its cheese, windmills, clogs, and flatlands.
17. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy divided into 12 provinces: Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Zeeland, Noord-Brabant, Utrecht, Flevoland, Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, and Limburg.
18. The Dutch Queen is an Argentinian.
19. The country is an ideal place to cycle as it is mostly flat. It is also known as “the bicycle capital” of the world because it has more bikes than people. The country is expected to have 18 million bicycles and a population of 17 million.
20. The Netherlands is generally a liberal and one of the most progressive countries in the world. Abortion, prostitution, and Euthanasia are all legal in the country. The Dutch prostitutes pay taxes to the government.
21. The country has plenty of rivers, lakes, and canals. Some 99.9% of the country’s households have access to clean, chlorine free drinking water.
22. It rains every month in the country and people use raincoats instead of umbrellas to counter the heavy winds that blow.
23. The best time to visit the country is from May to September. Germans visit the Netherlands in a large number.
24. The biggest international airport in the Netherlands is the Schiphol airport. It is 4 m below sea level.
25. Vincent Van (1853-1890) Gough was a famous Dutch painter. There is a museum in Amsterdam dedicated to this famous painter. The museum has a collection of over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 written documents. The museum is visited by some 1.5 million visitors each year.
26. The most important sectors of the Netherlands include – public administration, education, defense, human health, social work activities, wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services, and industries.
27. The Netherlands is also a member of the Benelux Economic Union. Its other two members are Belgium and Luxembourg.
28. The Netherlands highest point is Vaalserberg, which is 321 m above sea level.
29. The Netherlands national anthem Wilhelmus is the oldest national anthem in the world. It was written in 1568 and became official in 1932.
30. According to 2014 Oxfam report, The Netherlands is also one of the healthiest countries in the world.
Map of the Netherlands
31. The Dutch are the tallest men in the world with an average height of 183 cm. The Dutch women, on the other hand, are on an average 171cm tall.
32. The Netherlands has the highest English Proficiency in the world. Nine out of every ten people in the country speak English as a second language.
33. It is also one of the top countries in the world for kids to learn a new language at school.
34. The Netherlands is the world’s leading Tulip exporter. The country is expected to export 2 billion dollars worth of tulips in 2017. However, it is important to note here that the tulips are not native to the Netherlands and were imported from Turkey in the 16th century.
37. On an average, the Dutch cycle 1000 km during a year. The teenager in the country cycle 2000 km per year. There are 16 bike shops per 100,000 inhabitants in the Netherlands.
38. Cycling while being drunk is illegal in the country and interestingly, the country also has the lowest rate of serious injury per million km cycled.
39. Schiphol airport handles more than 60 million passengers every year.
40. Almost 20% of the babies are born in the home in the Netherlands. The people of the country promote/cherish the act and do not unnecessarily hoard hospitals when the occasion comes.
41. The Dutch are also the proud producers of orange carrots for the first time in the world. And orange is their national color.
42. Cds, DVDs, and Blu-ray all originated in the Netherlands.
43. Amsterdam has the world’s oldest stock exchange. The Dutch East India Company is the first truly multinational company in the world. It issued stocks in 1602 and became the first company to do so.
44. The first compound microscope was built in the Netherlands.
45. Despite the high population in the country, high rise buildings are not so common.
46. The Netherlands is a secular country. Almost 40% of its population is not religious, 30% is Catholic and 20% is Protestants.
47. The Dutch are also the most physically active people in the world. More than 50% of the population involves in some sport every week at least once.
48. Randstad – almost 40% of the population of the country lives here. It is a megapolis of four zones including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.
49. Amsterdam is almost completely built on poles that are buried almost 12 meters into the layer of fen and clay.
50. The Netherlands is also the largest consumer of Licorice in the world.
51. The country is also fortunate to have the lowest incidence of lactose intolerance in the world. Only 1% of its population is affected by it.
52. Amsterdam has 1281 bridges.
53. There are 20 national parks in The Netherlands. See the list here.
54. More than 1000 traditional windmills are still operational in the country. The second Saturday and Sunday in May is National Mill Day in the Netherlands.
55. KLM is a world’s leading airlines which has Dutch roots. In started in 1919 and is also the oldest national airline in the world.
56. Amsterdam is also Europe’s 5th busiest travel destination handling over 4.2 million travelers every year.
57. The Netherlands is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of tulips. Well over 20 million flowers and plants are sold at Royal FloraHolland every day. The peak growing season for tulips is between April 25th and May 5.
58. More than 17% of the country’s land is reclaimed from lakes and seas.
59. The Dutch have been making cheese since 400 A.D.
60. The country also boasts the worlds oldest tricolor – the national flag of the Netherlands.
61. Belgium and the Netherlands were awarded for being the most bike-friendly countries in 2013.
62. Because of the land reclamation, the land area of the Netherlands increases every year.
63. The microscope was invented in the Netherlands in the 16th century.
64. Amsterdam is home to Europe’s only addition clinic where treatment for gambling, video gaming, and substance addiction is done.
65. Seventy percent of the Bacons come from the Netherlands.
66. Almost 40% of the country’s population works part-time, the highest percentage in the European Union countries.
67. Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands but the government sits in the Hague.
68. Frisian is the only regional language which is also among the official languages of the country.
69. Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt are the three main rivers that cross the Netherlands before reaching the sea.
70. Some of the big Dutch companies include – Shell, Unilever, Philips, Aegon, ING, Heineken and TNT.
71. There are 12 provinces in the Netherlands. Two provinces including Noord and Zuid make up Holland.
72. The country has over 4000 km of navigable rivers, canals and lakes.
73. The Dutch, after the Scandinavian, drink the most coffee per person per year in the world – almost 140 liters.
74. The Netherlands is vulnerable to flooding because it is a low lying country.
75. Philips, a major electrical appliance company, started humbly in “Eindhoven”. The city is thus also known as “the city of lights”.
76. Heineken is the world’s third-largest brewer.
77. The Netherlands is also the world’s largest cheese exporting country.
78. The Netherlands has plenty of museums. Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House are the three most popular museums in Amsterdam.
79. The country’s favorite snack is French friend dipped in Mayonnaise.
80. The country also has a 300 year old market for cheese – Woerden and Gonda. The average Dutch person eats a whopping 33 pounds (15 kilos) of cheese per year.
81. Wooden windmills were used in the Netherlands to drain water from the land. They were used for 600 years. These days, other methods of flood control are in use. The Dutch are also paying attention to developing renewable sources of energy for powering their country.
82. Flood control methods include the use of pumping stations, canals, lakes and dikes. Because the country is low lying, they have to be super smart in order to prevent themselves from drowning in the event of flooding.
83. More than 2400 kilometers of dikes shield the country from water. If these dikes were removed, almost 65% of the Netherlands would flood daily.
84. The country is known for bicycles and comparatively, they have three times as many bicycles as they have cars. They have some 35,000 kilometre of bicycle lanes in the country.
85. The countrymen are also blessed with the longest average lifespan in the world. Thanks to their healthy eating habits and other factors.
86. The Dutch fought a war for more than 80 years before they gained independence from Spain in 1648.
87. About 4 million people in the country live below sea level.
88. Metric system is the legal standard for weights and measures in the country.
89. By 2025, the authorities in the country are going to ban the sales of petrol as well as diesel-powered automobiles.
90. The country has three natural topographic divisions – the dunes, the lowlands and the higher eastern section.
91. The average annual rainfall in the Netherlands is – 76.5 cm. And the country experiences limited sunshine during the year. Winds are abundant and that is why they use windmills to produce energy.
92. The Dutch care about their animals too. just like they care for humans. They have wildlife crossings for animals living in the forest so that the animals can cross the roadways safely.
93. The soft drug policy in the Netherlands allows coffee shops to sell drugs that are permitted by the authorities but in limited quantities.
94. The Dutch dress in Orange on 27 April to celebrate their king’s birthday.
95. According to the UN, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands were the most innovative countries in the world in 2017.
96. The country is the fourth-largest investor in the U.S.
97. They are also the first to have developed an artificial heart.
98. The Netherlands does not have any stray dogs on its street.
99. The country built the world’s first solar-powered bike lane.
100. Another interesting fact to note here is that the toilet hole in the toilets in the Dutch houses is towards the edge of the seat and not in the center. This position of the hole helps in conserving water, and the Dutch also get a good view of their deposit when it sits on the little shelf before passing down to the hole. This helps them inspect their poop so that they can keep an eye on their health.
101. The country is void of deforestation. In 1952, there were 260,000 hectares of forest land which has now soared to 360,000 hectares.
102. Basic health insurance is mandatory for everyone and the package starts at 100 Euros per month.
103. The children move out of their parents’ house when they are 18 years old. If they do not move, it is considered weird.
104. The Netherlands lost to Spain in FIFA World Cup finals in 2010.
105. The country won 24 medals in Winter Olympics in Sochi, which was their best performance ever in the games.
106. The country uses electric trains powered by the wind. The trains displace 600,000 passengers daily.
107. The residents of the Netherlands drink a lot of milk for breakfast and lunch as well.
108. The country is also famous for DJs. Armin Van Buuren was voted the world’s best DJ 5 times.
109. The Dutch care about their animals too, just like they care for humans. They have wildlife crossings for animals living in the forest so that the animals can cross the roadways safely.
110. There is a fake village in the Netherlands which is designed for the people who suffer from Dementia.
111. Stairs are narrow in the Dutch houses. And sometimes you may have to lift your furniture from outside the window when you are shifting it top floors above the ground floor and up above.
112. Also, traditional Dutch houses do not use ceiling lights, instead they use wall hanging lamps.
113. The village of Giethoorn in the Netherlands has no roads. There are just canals that are used for transportation. The village is also known as the “Venice of the Netherlands.”
The Netherlands – country at a glance
|Independence||30 January 1648|
|Capital City||Amsterdam |
|Largest City||Amsterdam |
|Total area||41,543 sq km|
|Population||17,084,719 (July 2017 est.)|
|Borders||Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.|
|Currency||Euro (€) (EUR)|
|Suffrage||18 years of age; universal|
|Religion||Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and others|
|Life expectancy||81.4 Years (2017)|
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
|Climate||temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters|
|Terrain||mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast|
|National anthem||"Het Wilhelmus" (The William)|
|Government type||parliamentary constitutional monarchy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands|
|Prime Minister||Mark Rutte (VVD)|
|National symbol||lion, tulip|
|National day||King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday|
|Natural resources||natural gas, petroleum, peat, limestone, salt, sand and gravel, arable land|
|Birth rate||10.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Death rate||8.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)|
|Sex ratio||1.05 male(s)/female|
|Industries||agroindustries, metal and engineering products, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum, construction, microelectronics, fishing|
|Exports||$495.4 billion (2016 est.)|
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, mineral fuels; food and livestock, manufactured goods
|Imports||$402.9 billion (2016 est.)|
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs, clothing
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$51,200 (2016 est.)|
|Time Zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|Internet country code||.nl|
|Drives on the||Right|
|Data sources||CIA, Wikipedia|
|Table last updated||December 12, 2017|