Immediately The Netherlands makes you think of canals, bicycles, tulips, cheese and clogs. Then there is the art – anybody heard of Rembrandt or Van Gogh? The Netherlands is a beautiful country with so much culture in the buzzing towns and cities and beautiful landscapes across the country that is so often underestimated. Discover The Netherlands whilst gaining insights into the agricultural and horticultural industries for which the country is well known.
Facts: The Netherlands is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a small, densely populated country, located in Western Europe and with three island territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom and Germany.
Religion: 55 % of the Dutch population have no religion; however those that are religious are mainly Roman Catholic.
Population: 16.9 million
Official Language: National: Dutch; Regional: West Frisian, English, Papiamento; Recognised regional languages: Limburgish, Dutch Low Saxon
Here are some things you might not know about The Netherlands:
- Friesland or Fryslân (province in the northwest of the Netherlands) is a bit of a special place – it has its own breeds of dairy cows and horses named after it (Friesians); its own language and the largest chain of connected inland lakes in Europe where sports such as ‘fierljeppen’, which is Frisian for pole vaulting (across a body of water) take place. Friesland also hosts the biggest ice skating event in the world, the Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), but only during very severe winters.
- The Netherlands is ranked the 5th largest exporter of goods in the world and is the 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products (after the USA). Together with the USA and France, the Netherlands is one of the world’s three leading producers of vegetables and fruit. It supplies a quarter of the vegetables that are exported from Europe and is responsible for 22% of the world’s potato exports.
- The Dutch horticultural sector is a global trendsetter supplying markets the world over, as well as being a leading innovator greenhouse technology. The Dutch produce 4.32 billion tulip bulbs each year and are the world’s leading exporter of seeds. A little-known fact is that the Netherlands is the world’s top producer of onions.
- The country is called the Netherlands, its people are Dutch and they speak Dutch. There is no country called Holland, but there are provinces of North and South Holland. Due to the maritime and economic power of these provinces in the 17th century, the Netherlands became known worldwide as Holland, even though technically it isn’t called that. Confusing isn’t it!
- The Dutch are the tallest people in the world!
The Netherlands is on Central European Time – meaning they are GMT/UTC +1 or basically, 1 hour ahead of Ireland.
Getting there is easy, just a 1 ½ hour flight from Dublin to Amsterdam or Eindhoven or 2 ½ hours to Rotterdam. The Netherlands have excellent public transport facilities, especially by rail, so getting around the country (and even across the borders into Belgium, France or Germany) will be pretty straight-forward.
The Netherlands have a temperate maritime climate, with cool summers and moderate winters. During the daytime, temperatures range from 2°C-6°C in the winter and 17°C-20°C in the summer.
Before you go have a look at the Dutch tourism website at www.holland.com/us/tourism.htm