The formal name of the country is the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or simply the Netherlands. The term alludes to the land’s flatness and low elevation. It’s mostly at or below sea level.
The Dutch are also known as ‘Holland,’ which refers to the two western coastal provinces of North and South Holland. This was the most powerful territory of the Dutch Republic in the 17th century.
The terms are used interchangeably in international communications. The little country is between Germany, Belgium, and the North Sea is known as the Netherlands or Holland.
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Here are 10 interesting facts about the Netherlands:
1. Do not refer to the Netherlands as “Holland.”
When referring to the low-lying country, many people are unsure whether to use ‘the Netherlands’ or ‘Holland.’ To be clear, the Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces, with Holland consisting of two provinces: North Holland and South Holland.
Holland was historically the region that gave the most to the Dutch kingdom’s economy and wealth, and as a result, it became a widespread moniker for the entire country, albeit wrongly.
That was until January 2020, when the Dutch government officially discarded the term ‘Holland,’ instead of referring to itself as the Netherlands, in an effort to reinvent the country’s international image.
2. The Netherlands produces over 80% of the world’s floral bulbs.
The Netherlands, naturally, is the world’s biggest exporter of flowers, most of which are tulips. Every year, around two billion tulips depart the country and migrate to other locations around the world. The flowers are typically auctioned at the world’s largest trading center for plants and flowers, the FloraHolland auctions in Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg, and Aalsmeer.
Thousands of people attend the auction each year to see the vast logistics operation that goes into transporting the blooms all around the world. Others, meantime, go to the lovely Keukenhof Gardens, one of the most famous destinations to visit in the Netherlands, to marvel at the breathtaking sea of tulips.
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3. The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of beer in the world.
The Netherlands isn’t just known for its flowers; it’s also known for its beer. Many well-known brands of Dutch brews, like Heineken, Grolsch, and Amstel, are produced in the Netherlands.
It’s no surprise that the country is the world’s second-largest exporter of beer, after Mexico. In 2019, Dutch brewers exported $2.1 billion worth of beer, with about 40% of that going to US markets.
In recent years, the number of beer brewers in the country has increased dramatically, from around 180 in 2012 to nearly 700 in 2018. It goes without saying that in this beer-loving country, you will not be thirsty.
4. In the Netherlands, one out of every eight babies is born at home.
If you’re thinking about having a baby in the Netherlands, you might be surprised to hear that home births are still rather frequent. In reality, up to one out of every eight babies is born at home. In the developed world, this is one of the highest rates of home births.
However, compared to the 1990s, they are becoming less common. Back then, 35% of women preferred to give birth at home, compared to only 13% in 2017.
This drop is assumed to be linked to a rise in demand for pain medication that cannot be delivered at home. Despite these reservations, Dutch health insurance nevertheless covers home births.
5. In the Netherlands, there are over 1,000 windmills.
In the Netherlands, there are approximately 1,000 windmills, many of which are open to visitors all year. Some windmills are still in service to drain water from the land, such as the 19 at the Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, others, like Molen de Valk in Leiden, are used to grind grain into flour.
This windmill, like many others in the Netherlands, has a museum inside and allows visitors to look about and learn about its history. Only a few commercial windmills remain in the country, but they are nevertheless worth seeing if you get the chance.
6. There is just one official language in the Netherlands.
Although English is spoken by the majority of the people, Dutch is the country’s sole official language. Frisian, which is also an official language in the northern province of Friesland, is spoken by less than 400,000 people.
As a result, many more Dutch people speak English than Frisian, which is paradoxical. Limburgish, Dutch Low Saxon, and Gronings are also minority languages, however, they are frequently only heard around the Dutch-German border, where they are part of a single dialect continuum. Surprisingly, the Netherlands has its own sign language, Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT), which is used by approximately 15,000 individuals.
7. In the Netherlands, one-fifth of the population is foreign-born.
If you appreciate living in a cosmopolitan environment, the Netherlands is the place for you. More than three million inhabitants in the country are non-Dutch, accounting for nearly one in every five persons. Furthermore, non-Western immigrants account for more than half of the country’s immigrants (1.7 million).
Turkey, Surinam, Morocco, the Antilles, and Aruba are the most common destinations. This multicultural mix is most noticeable in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where about one-third of the population is of non-Western descent. Many wonderful ethnic meals may be found in major Dutch cities as a result of this cultural diversity.
8. In the Netherlands, there are more bicycles than people.
Only 17 million people live in a country with over 22 million bicycles. This includes the ingenious bakfiets, which combine a bicycle with a huge container on the front to transport children, pets, and groceries.
According to some sources, the Dutch bike an average of 2.9 kilometers per day and utilize bicycles for more than a quarter of all trips. In the United Kingdom, only 2% of people are employed. Others estimate that a Dutch individual bikes 1,000 kilometers in a year, covering 250 to 300 trips.
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9. The Dutch invented the world’s first stock market.
Surprisingly, Dutch legislators and businesspeople launched the world’s first stock market in 1602. This was done to help pay for the Dutch East India Company’s long-distance trade voyages out of the Netherlands.
In the same year, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was founded, and many believe it to be the world’s oldest modern exchange. The Dutch were also the first to introduce Fairtrade certification in the 1980s, with the Max Havelaar certificate.
10. The Netherlands is the world’s sixth happiest country.
According to the 2020 World Happiness Report, the Netherlands is the world’s sixth happiest country. The annual report evaluates 156 countries based on variables such as life expectancy, freedom, trust, corruption, and social support.
It appears that the joyful Dutch have a lot to be thankful for, as they scored high on social and institutional trust, as well as social connection. Surprisingly, the country also outperforms its neighbors, Germany (17th) and Belgium (18th) (20th). Only Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway, according to the survey, are happier countries.