What is Amsterdam Netherlands known for

Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country in Western Europe. Together with some islands in the Caribbean, they belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country is about the size of Switzerland, but has twice as many inhabitants. The Netherlands has two neighboring countries, Germany and Belgium.

The country is particularly flat, only in the very south there are smaller mountains. Many areas are even deeper than the sea: they are only dry at all thanks to protective dykes. In the north there is a large lake called the IJsselmeer, in other words: Äjßelmehr. It used to be a bay in the North Sea with salt water until a long dike was built.

Most of the Dutch live in the west of the country, which was formerly known as Holland. This is what the Netherlands is often called abroad, although that is not correct. The country speaks Dutch, a language very closely related to German.

The country consists of twelve parts called provinces. Amsterdam is the capital of the country. However, the Dutch government and parliament work in The Hague. Another big city in the country is Rotterdam with one of the largest ports in the world, in Europe it is by far the largest port. In its vicinity, the Rhine flows into the North Sea.

What does the country look like?

The dike separates the North Sea from the IJsselmeer, the largest lake in the Netherlands. The dike is 32 kilometers long. You can drive over it by car, but also by bike.

No part of the Netherlands is particularly far from the sea, from the North Sea. The land is flat and green. The highest mountain is in the very south and is only 321 meters high. There aren't that many forests either.

In the north of the country there is a large lake, the IJsselmeer. “Sea” is the Dutch word for lake, the IJssel is an important river that flows into this lake. Before the 20th century, the IJsselmeer was called differently: IJsselzee or Zuiderzee. At that time it was not a lake, but part of the North Sea. The Dutch built a long dike, the final dike.

The IJsselmeer is smaller today than it used to be because a lot of new land has been created in the south of it. This is the largest part of the province of Flevoland. Back then it was believed that the new land was needed for agriculture. Because land reclamation is so expensive, mat did not create any more new land later.

Smaller lakes are mainly found in the north of the Netherlands. The big rivers, on the other hand, run right through the country, from east to west. The Rhine comes from Germany and the Meuse from France.

What is the history of the Netherlands?

This picture was painted around the year 1650. “The threatened swan” supposedly stands for a Dutch politician, Johan de Witt. He is defending his egg, Holland, against a dog representing England. The Netherlands waged four wars against the English.

People lived in the area where the Netherlands is today as far back as the Stone Age. You can see that in the megalithic tombs in the east. These are huge stones that have been placed on top of one another. The Romans later came to the area, but only as far as the Rhine.

In the Middle Ages there were many different areas in what is now the Netherlands. The richest was the county of Holland, in the far west of the country. Utrecht, an old Roman city that was now ruled by a bishop, was also important. In the east of the Netherlands there was even a duchy, Gelderland. These different areas were gradually inherited by the Habsburg family.

At the beginning of the modern era there was an uprising against the Habsburgs. The Dutch provinces have become independent. You sent representatives to a kind of parliament called the States General. The States General successfully waged war against the Habsburgs.

During the French Revolution, French soldiers occupied the Netherlands. After the French period, in 1815, a kingdom of the Netherlands was established. This also included today's Belgium. Because they didn't like the Dutch king, the Belgians founded their own state fifteen years later.

The Netherlands was able to stay out of the wars in Europe for a long time. In 1940, however, they were occupied by National Socialist Germany. Six years later the country was free again, but poor. It slowly recovered. But at that time it lost its large colony, what is now Indonesia. In 1975 the Suriname colony became independent.

What do you need to know about the people of the Netherlands?

Camping is said to be particularly Dutch. Many Dutch people go to the south of France for this.

Many residents come from other countries: most of the "new Dutch" come from Germany, Indonesia, Morocco and Turkey. About a third of the Dutch live in the west, where the four big cities are: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. There is hardly any other country in the world where so many people live on so little land.

For a long time the Netherlands was known for its Reformed churches. Allegedly the Reformed are very frugal. In the meantime, however, only a few Dutch people are still believers. In the south of the country people are mostly Catholic. For some years now, more and more Dutch people have been Muslims, they are now the third largest group.

Many people believe that you are free in the Netherlands and can do anything you want. But that is more true of a large city like Amsterdam. In the flat country, the residents are often much stricter. Many also complain that it is not so safe in the big cities.

Who is in charge in the Netherlands?

King Willem-Alexander rides in a golden carriage once a year. Every September he gives a speech in front of both houses of parliament.

The Netherlands has a king as head of state. The king makes speeches but has no power. If you need a new government, parliament appoints a scout. He speaks to the parties and helps to find enough parties to form a government together.

The government cannot govern if the majority in parliament does not trust it. If a majority in parliament is against the government, it usually resigns. A new parliament is then often elected.

The Parliament of the Netherlands is called the States General. It has two parts: the first chamber and the second chamber. The second chamber is the actual parliament, that's where the big debates take place. The first chamber is less important: it should look carefully once again to see whether a new law makes sense. After all, the law will only come into effect if both chambers are in favor.

The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces. You are not allowed to decide as much for yourself as the federal states in Germany and Austria. For example, a province can decide where important roads are to be built there. A province has its own parliament and also a government.

There are also almost 400 municipalities in the Netherlands. The largest is Amsterdam, the smallest has less than 10,000 inhabitants. What is special about the Netherlands is how you become mayor: you are not elected, you are appointed by the king. This custom dates back to the 19th century, when the Netherlands was not very democratic. Nowadays, however, you first ask the local council, the parish parliament, who it actually wants.

What are the Netherlands known for?

In cities like Gouda or Alkmaar there is a cheese market in summer. Some traders dress for it like the cheese farmers of yore.

There were really big cities in the Netherlands as early as the Middle Ages. Even after that, some Dutch people were very rich there. There were also many famous painters, such as Johannes Vermeer and later Vincent van Gogh. On the other hand, we don't know very many musicians or writers from the Netherlands.

French fries are known for the Netherlands, similar to Belgium. Dutch people invented many ways of serving them, with ketchup, mayonnaise or onions. It is also very Dutch to eat raw fish: “Matjes” are herrings that you put in your mouth from above. The Dutch themselves actually say “Maatjesharing”.

There are many types of cheese in the Netherlands. The most famous is probably that of Gouda, a city in the province of North Holland. The Dutch find the “stamppot”, a mixture of potatoes and kale, to be really Dutch. There is also a smoked sausage.

How do people in the Netherlands earn their money?

The Netherlands is a rich country, also compared to other countries in Europe. Agriculture is still very important: Thanks to modern technology, you can produce a lot in a small space. Grain, vegetables and fruit, but also flowers, come from the Netherlands. Only the USA and France sell more of them abroad.

Much is made in Europe that goes to the rest of the world. It is often delivered via Rotterdam: this city's port is one of the largest in the world. Rotterdam is connected to many cities in Germany by the Rhine.

Natural gas has been found in the north of the country since the years after 1970. Much of that is being reduced. Only four other countries in the world produce more natural gas than the Netherlands. Otherwise there are not so many natural resources in the soil. However, coal used to be mined in the south.

  • A fully loaded Chinese ship. It comes from Hamburg and is about to land in Rotterdam.

  • Many Dutch people like to eat croquettes, here the vegetarian one with a porridge made from potatoes and mushrooms.

  • The island of Bonaire in the Caribbean belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

  • A barrow near Borger, in the province of Drenthe. It is not known exactly which people put such stones on top of each other and when.