The Netherlands, a country in Northwestern Europe that has some of the remarkable histories in the world. Home of the countless of canals seen in movies such as The Fault in Our Stars, thousands types of windmills, and cycling routes that goes on and on and some claim it is endless. Especially Amsterdam which is dubbed a sanctuary for art lovers as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum can be found in the capital of this exceptional country and yet there are so much more to discover in the Netherlands. So, here are 10 things you need to know about the Netherlands:
1. The Lands of Bicycles
One of the things you need to know about the Netherlands? The Dutch do love their bicycles. They ride them everywhere, to work, to school, to hangout at the parks – everywhere! Research had shown that the Netherlands owns roughly 19 million bicycles, for 17 million Netherlanders! It’s no wonder as they ride the bicycles on average 300 times a year and cycles up to 900 kilometers. This might be due to the exponential price of gasoline, or they ride the bicycle for the benefit of their healths, either way it’s a good practice. Fair warning, if you were ever to visit the Netherlands, don’t stand at the bicycle lane as you might get trampled by the cyclists.
2. Going Dutch
Ever heard of the dating term “Go Dutch” or “Doing Dutch”? Well, it is obviously originated from the Dutch man themselves. During gatherings or reunions, and of course, dates, it’s a common practice to pay for the food or drinks that you had instead of paying for other people. They also opt for splitting the bills equally when going out in groups, which might end up with one side paying more than he or she consumed. On dates, men does pay for the women as well, it’s a common for people in the European region to uphold a strong beliefs of equality between men and women. Especially, the Dutch people, hence they pioneered the term to “go Dutch”.
3. Don’t Mistake The Netherlands as Holland
People usually mistaken the Netherlands as Holland. Well, in this modern times, Holland are actually 2 out of their 10 provinces which are Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. You need to know that the Netherlands was called Holland a long time ago, however time has changed and history of the Kingdom of Netherlands had great stories. So, it is not wise to call the Netherlands as Holland anymore. It is factually incorrect, and might be seen as offensive or insulting to the locals. So, call it the Netherlands instead of Holland. Unless of course, you were referring to the Holland part. This is one of the 10 things you need to know about Netherlands.
4. Cannabis is “legal” in Amsterdam
According to the Dutch people, drugs are divided into 2 categories, hard drugs and soft drugs, Hard drugs are strictly forbidden to use without prescription. On the other hand, soft drugs like cannabis, hallucinogenic mushrooms are considered legal under the so called condition of “personal use”. Well, it is technically illegal under the Opium Act, but tolerated as long as you don’t exceed the 5 grams limit of transactions (selling, buying or using), the sales are only to happen between adults, no minors are allowed anywhere near the premises and no ads is allowed to be published.
5. Café vs Coffee shop
European sure love their coffee, freshly brewed and sipped in the light of day. But, one thing you have to be careful if you’re visiting the Netherlands, the difference between café and coffee shop. Remember how cannabis is kind of legal to be sell and use in Amsterdam? Well, most of their business occurs in a local “coffee shop”. People come and go to get their stash of weed in a coffee shop. Even though the name is literally “coffee” shop, they don’t serve nice coffee as they serve a good menu of soft drugs. Head on to a café instead for a nice, totally drug-free cup of coffee.
6. Public Urinals are Everywhere
One of the things that you need to know about the Netherlands is about…nature calls? De Krul, the curled pissoir, or as what we simply call it, urinals, can be found almost everywhere in Amsterdam, most of them near the canals. Believe it or not, it has been regarded as some sort of a tourist attraction. It has been there long since anyone can remember, some say it went back to the 1800s. De Krul was built to accommodate those people who were too tipsy to find a proper toilet after a night out drinking with friends. The original designs were all metal, but now you can easily find newer ones made out of plastic that plumbs the waste to a wastewater system.
7. Home of the World’s Largest Flower Garden – Keukenhof
Ever wanted to visit a beautiful flower garden? Well, why not visit the Garden of Europe while you’re at it, situated in South of Hollands in the Netherlands. Keukenhof, which directly translated to “kitchen garden”, is most famous for its wide arrangements of their world-known tulips and other flowers such as sunflowers, roses, daisies and other flowers variant. They are the World’s Largest Flower Garden afterall. You need to know that the Netherlands’ Keukenhof is only open for 8 weeks in the spring time, from mid-March to mid-May, so plan your trip wisely if you want to visit it.
8. Yellow Gold of Holland
Always dubbed as the “yellow gold” of Holland, the Dutch cheese holds a very special place in the hearts of cheese lovers. The Dutch take pride in this particular type of dairy products and have been making cheese since way back. Their famous products of Gouda cheese, Edam cheese, and Alkmaar cheese, all named after the cities or towns it was originated, were produced and exported in hundreds of millions of tons each year. The Dutch themselves consumed over seven pounds of cheese annually, and that is an average for a person! What a cheese-head!
9.Dutch People are Tall
Fun fact! Did you know that Dutch people are the top of the list when it comes to the tallest people in the world? According to a research, the people of the Netherlands’ average height can reach up to 1.838 metres, that’s almost as high as ! Researchers made a discovery that Dutch people are tall mostly due to their nutritions. Their diet is usually high calorie of meat, lots of breads, and they love to consume their fresh dairy products (Gouda cheese anyone?). Even though most European have similar diet, it is said that the Dutch twice as much as their European counterparts. Dutch people’s height is indeed one of the things you need to know about the Netherlands.
10.Netherland is a flat country
The last of the 10 things you need to know about the Netherlands, is that Netherlands which literally translated to “lower countries”, is named as so because it was built on top of the sea. The land below the sea level are artificial and the Orange Country’s land only exceed around 1 meter above sea level. That’s quite low! To battle the problems of floods and overflowing water from the ocean, they start up projects such as Deltawerken (Delta Works). The project constructed of enormous sluice 3 kilometres-long gates that has been built out of 65 concrete pillars. The gate’s functions are limiting the water flow inland during storms or extremely high tides.
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