Netherlands – detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of the Netherlands, climate, geography, population and culture.
- Netherlands (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
- Useful information about the Netherlands
- Geography and nature
- Best time to visit
- History and interesting facts
- Administrative division
- Cities of the Netherlands and popular destinations
- Sights and attractions of the Netherlands
Netherlands (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland) is a state in northwestern Europe, located on the North Sea coast. It borders on Germany and Belgium and has overseas territories-islands in the Caribbean. The Netherlands is a small state that is a constitutional monarchy and a member of the European Union. The country is known for its rich cultural heritage, windmills, tulips, and the most liberal atmosphere in Europe.
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated and “flat” countries in Europe, fortified by dykes and riddled with a network of canals. It is a country of pastoral landscapes, picturesque villages and tranquil cities, with Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht standing out as mansions. Once a major naval power, the Netherlands is now a modern European country that still plays an important role on the international stage. Due to its compactness and hospitality, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
The Netherlands is often called Holland, and this is not entirely correct. The official name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Holland is only two provinces out of twelve.
Useful information about the Netherlands
- The population is over 17 million people. Population density – 405 people/km² (one of the highest in the world).
- Area – 41 543 km².
- Languages – Dutch and Frisian.
- The currency is the euro.
- The visa is Schengen.
- The time is UTC +1, +2 in summer.
- The capital is Amsterdam.
- The Netherlands is among the ten most developed countries in the world.
- Highest point – height Walserberg (323 m).
- Major holidays: Christmas (December 25), King’s Day (April 27), Liberation Day (May 5).
- 44% of the Dutch population are atheists, 29% are Catholics, 19% are Protestants, and 6% are Muslims.
- The length of bicycle paths is more than 35,000 km
- Car traffic is on the right-hand side. Speed limit: in the city – 50 km/h, outside the city – 80-100 km/h (according to road signs), highways – 130 km/h. Automotive fuel in the Netherlands is one of the most expensive in Europe.
- The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in Europe. The most common crimes are pickpocketing and bicycle theft.
- The Netherlands is famous for its festivals. The most famous of them are the King’s Day (Koningsdag), the Flower Festival and the Summer Carnival in Rotterdam.
- The Netherlands is famous for its wooden shoes (Klompen). Of course, no one wears them now, but they are a popular souvenir.
- The Netherlands is one of the most liberal and cosmopolitan countries in the world.
- The flag of the Netherlands is a rectangular cloth consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal size: the upper one is red, the middle one is white, and the lower one is blue. The ratio of flag width to length is 2:3
Geography and nature
The Netherlands is located in the western part of the Central European Plain. The north and west of the country is washed by the North Sea. Most of the country’s territory lies below sea level, which explains the name of the country (the Netherlands is translated from Dutch as “Lowlands”). In terms of relief, the Netherlands can be divided into two parts: the north and west are the lowlands of the Rhine, Maas and Scheldt rivers deltas, and the south and east are hilly plains that turn into the foothills of the Ardennes Mountains.
Most of the Netherlands is covered by pastures and fields. Forests cover only 8% of the territory and most of the green areas are groves and parks. The predominant tree species are oak, beech, hornbeam, ash, pine (on sandy soils) and willow (along rivers and canals). The fauna is rather poor, although deer, badgers, foxes, and hares have been preserved in the parks.
Regionally, the Netherlands is divided into:
- The Western Netherlands (Flevoland, North Holland, South Holland) or Randstad is the heart of the country with the largest cities and traditional Dutch countryside.
- The Northern Netherlands (Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen) is the least densely populated and developed region, popular among the Dutch.
- The Eastern Netherlands (Gelderland, Overijssel) is the largest national park and seven medieval cities along the Eijssel River.
- The Southern Netherlands (Limburg, Zeeland) is a region with Catholic traditions and a Burgundian character.
The climate is temperate with a significant maritime influence. Summers are cool and rainy with an average temperature of 18-20 °C. Winters are mild with rare frosts and an average temperature of +1, +3 °C.
Best time to visit
You can visit the Netherlands all year round. Every season here has its own mood and charm. Spring means tulips blooming, summer means long walks, autumn is the time to discover Dutch nature by bike, and winter means the magic of Christmas and a minimum of tourists afterwards.
History and interesting facts
Before the Romans arrived, the territory of the Netherlands was inhabited by Germanic tribes and Celts. The Roman Empire conquered the southern part of the country and incorporated it into the province of Belgica. Later, the Germans settled south of the Rhine and formed the Batavians and the Toxanders, who are considered the ancestors of the modern Dutch.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, three nations were formed: the Franks, the Frisians, and the Saxons. At the end of the 5th century, the Franks converted to Christianity, conquered the Frisians, and became allies of the Saxons. Until 734, the entire territory of the modern Netherlands was part of the Kingdom of the Franks. In 843, the Carolingian Empire collapsed, and the territory of the Netherlands was divided between the Western and Eastern kingdoms of the Franks. From the 9th to the 11th century, the North Sea coast suffered from Viking raids.
In the 10th and 11th centuries, the territory of the Netherlands was subjugated by German emperors and was part of the Holy Roman Empire. During this period, the settlement of the western lands began, accompanied by the drainage of swamps and the creation of farms. The region acquires a Franconian character and since the 12th century these territories have been called Holland. The First Crusades and the development of trade contribute to the growth and rise of cities (especially in the province of Flanders).
From 1384 to 1482, most of the territory of the Netherlands was ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy. During this period, the Dutch navy developed, Amsterdam grew and rose, and the Dutch themselves successfully competed with the Hanseatic League. At the end of the 15th century, the Netherlands came under the control of the Spanish Habsburgs. In 1568, the struggle for independence began, which resulted in the Eighty Years’ War. In 1579, the Republic of the United Provinces was established in Utrecht, the first independent Dutch state that lasted until the end of the 18th century. The southern provinces were still subject to the Spanish crown.
In the 17th century, a period commonly referred to as the “Golden Age of the Netherlands” began. The country had a powerful navy and became a trade center for the whole of Northern Europe. The Dutch not only successfully traded but also founded colonies in North, South and Central America. In the 17th and 18th centuries. The Netherlands became a center of immigration. Despite this, the economy stagnated, trade routes shifted towards America, and the defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession deprived the Netherlands of the status of a strong European state. Later, the state tried to adhere to a policy of neutrality, but was repeatedly invaded by the French.
At the end of the 18th century, a revolution took place in the Netherlands and the Batavian Republic was proclaimed, which was replaced by the Dutch Kingdom under Napoleon’s control during the Napoleonic Wars. This state also did not last long. In 1815, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed. In 1848, the state became a constitutional monarchy, which was interestingly calm and without casualties. During the two world wars, the Netherlands declared neutrality. However, in 1940 the country was occupied by Germany and liberated in 1944.
The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces:
- Gelderland with the center in Arnhem.
- Groningen (the capital is the city of the same name).
- Drenthe with its capital in Assen.
- Middelburg is the administrative center of Zealand.
- Limburg is the city of Maastricht.
- Overeisel is a town in Zwolle.
- North Brabant is the city of Hertogenbosch.
- The city of Haarlem in Northern Holland.
- Utrecht (the capital is the city of the same name).
- Flevoland is the capital of the Lelystads.
- Friesland with the center in the city of Leeuwarden.
- South Holland, led by The Hague.
The Netherlands is inhabited by two indigenous peoples: the Dutch and the Frisians. About 20% of the population are immigrants. The most common religion is Christianity. The shares of Catholics and Protestants are approximately equal. There are a lot of atheists among the Dutch.
The Dutch themselves are among the most informal and laid-back people in Europe. It is difficult to offend them with their behavior and appearance. They are open, direct and pragmatic. In business, they value determination, punctuality, seriousness and healthy conservatism. When they meet, they usually shake hands and quickly switch to informal communication.
The majority of the population speaks Dutch, which is a language belonging to the Germanic language group and can be understood by people who know German well. Most Dutch people also speak English and German.
Наhe largest airport in the Netherlands is located in Amsterdam and is called Schiphol. It is one of the largest air ports in Europe. From Schiphol there are direct trains to most major cities in the Netherlands. Other international airports are located in Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Groningen.
The train is the fastest and cheapest way to get around in the Netherlands. You can also get to Belgium, France and Germany by train. The Netherlands has good roads and highways to Belgium and Germany, as well as regular ferry connections to the UK.
Cities of the Netherlands and popular destinations
The most popular cities in the Netherlands:
- Amsterdam — is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, famous for its beautiful architecture, canals and bridges, interesting museums, and liberal atmosphere.
- Arnhem is the capital of Gelderland province with beautiful old neighborhoods.
- Delft — is an ancient city in South Holland with a virtually intact historic center.
- Groningen — a student city with a relaxed atmosphere and vibrant nightlife.
- The Hague — is the judicial capital of the world and the seat of government.
- Maastricht — is located in the south of the country and is known for its medieval atmosphere and old fortifications. It is considered the most beautiful of the historic cities in the Netherlands.
- Nijmegen — is the oldest city in the country with a large student population.
- Rotterdam — is the largest port in Europe and the most dynamic and modern city in the Netherlands.
- Utrecht – “Amsterdam in Miniature”: beautiful architecture, canals, and bicycles.
- Leiden — Rembrandt’s birthplace, home to the oldest university in the Netherlands. The city is known for its canals and its historic 17th-century center.
- Efteling is the largest amusement park in the Netherlands.
- Gijthorn is a charming village with beautiful architecture and canal streets, which is called the “Dutch Venice”.
- Hoge Veluwe is the largest national park in the Netherlands.
- Keukenhof is one of the symbols of the Netherlands, the royal flower park.
- South Limburg is home to picturesque hills, charming villages and ancient castles.
- Waterland and Zaan are typical Dutch villages with traditional wooden architecture and windmills.
- Kinderdijk is a small village in South Holland with 19 windmills from the 18th century.
- Picturesque towns and villages along the Eissel River.
Sights and attractions of the Netherlands
Amsterdam’s Old Town is one of the most beautiful in Europe. It is an area of charming canals and bridges, quaint old houses, and numerous museums and churches. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular museums in the world. Its collection includes about 7 million works of art, including 5,000 paintings. The capital of the Netherlands is also home to the Van Gogh Museum, a museum of one of the most prominent Dutch artists.
Windmills of Kinderdijk — is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 19 windmills of the 18th century are known as one of the symbols of the Netherlands. They are located on the Noord River between Rotterdam and Dordrecht.
Valkenburg — is a picturesque old town with an ancient castle, famous for its caves and thermal springs.
Castle de Haar — дhe amazing castle built in the late 19th century on the site of the original 14th century castle.
Maastricht — is considered to be the most beautiful city in the Netherlands, which has preserved medieval city fortifications and original historical architecture. The central Vrijthof square is one of the most beautiful city squares in the country.
Delft Town Hall — a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture.
Zanse-Schans — one of the most popular attractions in the Netherlands, the Old Industrial District with traditional wooden houses and windmills.
Nieuwe Kerk – a magnificent Gothic church in Delft, founded in the 14th century.
Cathedral in Haarlemі — a beautiful Gothic-style basilica built in the 16th century.
Church of St. John in Hertogenbosch is a masterpiece of Dutch Gothic architecture located in the province of North Brabant. The church was founded in 1220 and completed three centuries later.
The Netherlands is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Accommodation costs start at around 20 euros per person. The number of available offers depends on the season, cultural events, and the tourist popularity of a particular region (city). The cheapest accommodation options are hostels and bed and breakfast hotels. Popular hostel chains are Stayokay and Flying Pig.
Map of hotels
Dutch cuisine is not the most popular in Europe, although it is quite tasty and satisfying. The main ingredients are meat, potatoes and other vegetables. Popular food:
- Haring – Solonii oseledetsi.
- Mussels – boiled mussels with vegetables.
- Erwtensoep – pea soup with smoked sausage.
- Kroket – a popular street food, crispy potato balls with meat or seafood.
- Boerenkool – mashed potatoes with broccoli and sausages.
- Asperges Flamandes – white asparagus with ham.
- Zuurkool – sauerkraut.
- Stoofvlees – meat with mushrooms.
- Hutspot – mashed potatoes with onions, carrots and meat.
- Rookworst – smoked cowbread.
- Pannenkoeken – Dutch pancakes.
- Popular traditional foods: cheese, chocolate and peanut butter, chocolate.
- Bitterbal – popular snack bar.
- Poffertjes – small sweet pancakes with powdered sugar.
- Limburgse vlaai – sweet cake with different fillings.
- Beer. Be sure to try white beer (witbier) and fruit beers (gruit). The world-famous Heineken is considered a second-rate beer in the Netherlands.
- Bitter and gin.
- Tea, coffee and hot chocolate.