Top 10 Facts about the Netherlands (and 20 more)
For most people, it's good to know at least something about The Netherlands. It does'nt matter if you live in the Netherlands, plan to move to the Netherlands or just know Dutch people. The website Expatica made a big list of 30 facts about the Netherlands, and we made sure to select to most important ones for you.
Top 10 of Facts about The Netherlands, according to Stoit Group:
- Not all Dutch people are from Holland or from Europe
Holland is an area in the Netherlands, now the provinces of North Holland (Noord-Holland) and South Holland (Zuid-Holland). Due to a history of colonialism, three Caribbean islands are still part of the Netherlands. They are Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Their citizens are Dutch and can vote in EU elections.
- The Wilhelmus is the oldest national anthem in the world
Both the words and music date from the 16th century, and in it, the Dutch king speaks of his German blood and describes his loyalty to the Spanish crown.
- The head of state is King Willem-Alexander
He became king in April 2013, aged 46 when his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated at the age of 75. He's the first Dutch king in 123 years, following three queens.
- Some 87 percent of Dutch people speak English
The Netherlands was rated third in the world in 2013 for English proficiency as a second language, as rated by the English Proficiency Index (EPI) published by Education First. According to an EU report from 2005[i], 97 percent of Dutch people say Dutch is their mother tongue, and 91 percent say they speak at least one other language to a conversational level. Also, 66 percent speak German, meaning many must speak at least three languages!
- Both Nederlands (Dutch) and Fryslân (Frisian) are official languages
Estimates suggest that less than 400,000 people speak Frisian, so far more Dutch people speak English. Limburgish, Dutch Low Saxon and Gronings are also recognised minority languages.
- The Netherlands is literally a 'low' country
The lowest country in Europe, 26 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level. It's highest point is Vaalserberg which is just 322 metres above sea level and the lowest point is Zuidplaspolder which is seven metres below sea level. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where most visitors land, is three metres below sea level.
- The national colour is orange
Despite the flag being red, white and blue, orange is the national colour as the monarchy is from the House of Orange. Until becoming king, Wilem-Alexander was prince of Orange. On the king's birthday – 27 April – Dutch people dress in orange and celebrate their country with outdoor parties, picnics and parades.
- Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2001
The Netherlands was the first country to legalise gay marriage.
- Dutch artists are world famous
The country is believed to have brought oil painting to Europe, and renowned artists run from the Hieronymus Bosch (1400s) through artists like Vermeer, Rembrandt and van Gogh to modern artists and designers like MC Escher and the creator of Miffy.
- Both gin and coffee are Dutch
Gin (jenever) was invented in the 16th century, around the same time that the Dutch introduced coffee to Europe. They still drink plenty of both, now averaging of three cups of coffee per day per person!
And if you want to if Netherlands is truly the land of clogs, tulips and windmills? Or why not to call the country 'Holland'? Read on and see the other 20 facts, to find out more about this fascinating country.