The Netherlands is a country like no other. And it’s only logical that you want to discover the facts about The Netherlands before you travel here. Whether you’re looking for fun facts about the Dutch culture or fake facts about The Netherlands, you will find everything you want and need to know about The Netherlands here. This includes what The Netherlands is famous for and why The Netherlands is such a special country in Europe.
We are the delta of Europe as some of the biggest rivers end here (Rhine & Meuse), but there are more practical facts and information about The Netherlands you want to know. You will discover some typical Dutch culture as well.
Discover everything from facts about The Netherlands flag to weird facts about Dutch people. And from how much a part of Holland is below sea level to cool facts about The Netherlands. There are endless things to learn and know about The Netherlands.
I like to know some facts about countries and places before I visit them and if you’re interested in knowing some of the facts about The Netherlands, then this article will be perfect for you. Explore everything from The Netherlands culture facts to how many people live in The Netherlands. And from interesting facts about Holland to The Netherlands history facts. There are plenty of weird and amazing facts about The Netherlands waiting for you to discover them below.
If you’re interested in finding fun and interesting facts about Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, and culture facts, then you can find that here. Check here for Rotterdam facts. Continue reading below to see The Netherlands official name, what The Netherlands size is in square km, tulip fields in The Netherlands facts, The Netherlands capital and currency, what we speak in The Netherlands and more.
Facts you have to know about The Netherlands
1. The Netherlands has a population of around 17,422,957 people.
2. The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815 and a parliamentary democracy since 1848. This means that the King doesn’t have much power in The Netherlands and that the parliament decides what will happen. We are part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, which also has territories in the Caribbean.
3. The colour of orange is the national colour of The Netherlands, thanks to the Royal Family House of Orange.
4. The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with 521 people per square kilometre.
5. The flag of The Netherlands (red, white and blue) is the oldest tricolour flag in the world and was first used in 1572. Although back then the colours were orange, white and blue. The current colours stam from the beginning of the 17th century and it only has been the official Dutch flag since 1937. It has inspired many other flags of countries such as the Russian flag. Red stands for the people, white for the church and blue for the nobility.
6. The national anthem of The Netherlands is one of the oldest in the world and was written in 1570.
7. In The Netherlands we celebrate the birthday of our King: King’s Day.
8. Holland doesn’t equal The Netherlands. Holland are just two of the twelve Dutch provinces in The Netherlands: Noord- Holland and Zuid- Holland.
9. On the 11th of November the Northern part of The Netherlands celebrates Sint-Maarten. Children make a lampion every year and sing songs in front of doors to get candies.
10. Carnival is celebrated mainly in the southern provinces in The Netherlands. The biggest Dutch carnivals can be found in the provinces of Limburg and Noord- Brabant.
11. We celebrate three days of Christmas in The Netherlands: Christmas Eve, First Christmas Day and Second Christmas day. Find a full guide to celebrating a Dutch Christmas in The Netherlands here.
12. New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands is celebrated with a Dutch treat called oliebollen. Check out things to do in The Netherlands during New Year’s Eve.
13. Herring with raw onions and pickles is one of the traditional Dutch foods you need to try in The Netherlands. We use more than 12 million kilograms of herring each year in The Netherlands, which means around five herrings per person. Check out an article on typical Dutch food in The Netherlands you must try.
14. Willem van Oranje was not the first King of The Netherlands, he was a stadtholder. The Netherlands has been a Kingdom with King Willem I van Oranje since 1815. These Willem’s are not the same.
15. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2001.
16. Dutch people are the tallest people in the world. Dutch men average 184 centimetres and women 170 centimetres. While some people think dairy has a big influence in the height, it is actually natural selection.
17. The Netherlands is a world power when it comes to building water barriers and maintaining them to protect people against floods.
18. The forerunner and inspiration of gin was actually invented in The Netherlands, it is called ‘jenever’. It was originally used for medicinal purposes in the 16th century and was introduced in England by Willem III in 1688. Gin is produced with natural alcohol: jenever is made with alcohol made from wheat and malt wine.
19. The Netherlands is the second biggest agricultural exporter in the world after the United States. The innovative technology for both machines and seeds make sure that we need less land for more and better crops than many other countries.
20. Sacharias Jansen invented the first microscope in 1595. Many people think that Antoni van Leeuwenhoek van the inventor of the microscope and while he did create design the microscopes we know today the family Jansen created the first microscope with two lenses.
21. The first stock exchange in the world was created in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 1606.
22. The Netherlands is home to some of the biggest and most famous companies in the world: Unilever, Heineken, Philips, ING, Shell and KLM are all Dutch companies.
23. 26 percent of The Netherlands is below sea level and 29 percent of the country is threatened by river floods.
24. The first submarine was made by a Dutchmen. Cornelis Drebbel made a vessel that moved under water and tested in on the Thames river between 1620 and 1624.
25. Many carrots are orange because Dutch farmers grew them in this colour as a support for the stadtholder Willem van Oranje. Or are they? Check out my Youtube video about orange carrots here!
26. Almost 80 percent of all flower bulbs in the world come from The Netherlands. Most of them are tulips.
27. While The Netherlands is known for tulip fields, tulips actually originate from Central Asia and were brought from Turkey to The Netherlands by Carolus Clusius who worked for the university of Leiden in the 17th century.
28. The highest point in The Netherlands is found in the province of Limburg at the Vaalserberg at 322 metres. The lowest point in The Netherlands is Zuidplaspolder at 6,76 metres below sea level. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is found three metres below sea level.
29. There are 1180 old Dutch windmills in The Netherlands.
30. There are two official languages in The Netherlands: Dutch and Frisian. Limburgish is hopefully becoming the third language soon.
31. In The Netherlands you can find around 37.000 kilometres of cycle paths.
32. The oldest airline in the world is KLM. It has been an airline since 1919.
33. Bluetooth is created by a Dutchmen who was working for the company of Ericsson in 1994.
34. Friesland is the biggest province in The Netherlands, but is one of the least populated provinces.
35. The Netherlands is around 0,008 percent of the entire surface of the earth.
36. The biggest tavern in Europe can be found in the city of Groningen. It’s called the Drie Gezusters and has room for 3700 people.
37. In the Dutch language the letter E is most often used.
39. The most common surname in The Netherlands is De Jong.
40. The Netherlands is home to 21 National Parks, which is 3 percent of the surface of the country.
41. The capital of The Netherlands is Amsterdam, but the Dutch parliament is found in The Hague. Amsterdam has only been the official capital of The Netherlands since 1983. Before that, Amsterdam was seen as the capital but it wasn’t official.
During the the times when the area was a Republic, we didn’t have a capital, but Amsterdam was still the most prominent city in the country. This all changed when the first King of Holland arrived: King Louis Napoleon. The Frenchman yes. He decided to put the capital in Amsterdam, and two years later he moved here (but mainly resided in other places in the country). In 1810, the country was then -to be simple said- added to the empire of French emperor Napoleon who declared Amsterdam to be the third capital of his empire.
42. There are many famous Dutch people, think of Michiel Huisman, Famke Jansen, Carice van Houten and Doutzen Kroes.
43. We have more than 80.000 kilometres of dykes in The Netherlands.
44. Dutch people cycle around 15 billion kilometres a year, which is around 880 kilometres per person. A bike is used in 25 percent of all our trips.
45. We celebrate three Christmas Days in The Netherlands: Christmas Eve, First Christmas Day and Second Christmas Day.
46. The CD-rom is a Dutch and Japanese invention. Sony and Philips invented it back in 1983.
47. Our current King, Willem- Alexander, is the first King in 123 years and was crowned in April 2013. Before that there were three generations of Queens since 1890.
48. With more than 17 million people we own more than 22,8 million bikes.
50. We eat around 2 kilograms of licorice a year.
51. The Netherlands is home to more than 4400 kilometres of rivers, lakes and canals.
52. The modern fire hose was invented by Jan van der Heyden in 1673.
53. On the Dutch Wadden Island of Texel there are more sheep than people.
54. Rotterdam is home to the biggest port in Europe and one of the largest in the world.
55. When we greet friends or family we do that with three kisses, however when we meet people for the first time we shake hands. The three kisses tradition comes from the province of Noord- Brabant and the rest of the country slowly followed.
56. The Netherlands has almost 700 museums and Amsterdam alone already has 90 museums.
57. Dutch artists are some of the most famous ones in the world, think of Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
58. Every Dutch child has to learn English. This starts at the end of primary school and continues until the end of High School. During High School more languages are added. Dutch people are some of the best non native English speakers in the world and it is said that we speak on average 3,2 languages per person.
59. The Van Gogh collections in the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum are the largest in the world.
60. On average Dutch people eat 14,3 kilograms of cheese a year and we export around 500 million kilograms of cheese on a yearly basis.
61. Dutch people drink on average 74 litres of beer a year.
62. The International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court are both found in the city of The Hague.
63. One of the water barriers called the Maeslantkering near Rotterdam, is twice the heigh of the Eiffeltower.
64. Wooden shoes is one of the most famous things about The Netherlands and have been worn for around 700 years by farmers, fishermen, factory workers, craftsmen and others to protect their feet against injuries and to keep them dry.
65. Barely anyone in The Netherlands is lactose intolerant: only around 2 percent of the population is.
66. The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union, and the Euro. The Euro has been the currency in The Netherlands since the 1st of January 2002, before that the Guilders, or Gulden, were the Dutch currency.
67. Home birth is very popular in The Netherlands, although the percentage is declining. From more than 30 percent of the children born at home (and I am one of them!) in the 1990s to around 13% in 2016.
68. While weed is tolerated in The Netherlands (not legal!), Dutch people rarely smoke weed. In fact, only 1,5 percent of Dutch people use it on a daily or regular basis.
69. Sex workers in The Netherlands have to be at least 18 years old to be able to work.
70. We love potatoes in The Netherlands and on average eat 53 kilograms of these bad boys a year! If you also count crisps, fries, etc. the average Dutch person eats around 81 kilograms of them a year.
71. There were around 1300 Dutch castles in The Netherlands and there are several hundreds left. The biggest Dutch castle in The Netherlands is Castle De Haar.
72. The highest church tower in The Netherlands is the Dom tower in the city of Utrecht and is 112 metres and 32 centimetres high. The Dom tower was built more than 600 years ago, construction started in 1321 and finished in 1382. The tower has 318 steps.
73. We celebrate Sinterklaas in The Netherlands. And Dutch immigrants who moved to the United States took it with them and transformed it in Santa Claus and to Christmas time. Sinterklaas is celebrated on the 5th of December in The Netherlands. Christmas is a completely different holiday for us.
74. The first speed camera was created in The Netherlands and first used in 1965. It was invented by Maurice Gatsonides, who was a rally driver and won the rally of Monte Carlo in 1953.
75. We have vending machines for our fried typical Dutch snacks. You can find them at the FEBO shops.
76. Amsterdam is one of the cities that is built on wooden poles that were pushed into the stable sandy layer, nowadays they are made of concrete. Find more facts about Amsterdam here.
77. We have five airports in The Netherlands: Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Maastricht Airport, Eindhoven Airport, Groningen- Eelde Airport and Rotterdam- The Hague Airport.
78. The Dutch province of Flevoland is completely reclaimed from the previous Zuiderzee (sea) and is a part of this province is the biggest artificial island in the world. It’s the second smallest province in The Netherlands. Reclaiming the land was finished in 1968, but Flevoland has been a new Dutch province on the 1st of January 1986.
79. Dutch people mostly aren’t aware of the story about Hans Brinker. Simply because he didn’t exist and the story is fake.
80. The cassettes were a Dutch invention. Lou Ottens was an employee at the Dutch company of Philips and invented the music cassettes in the town of Hasselt in 1963.
81. Amsterdam gets around 22 million visitors a year (this includes both foreign and Dutch visitors) and the city only has around 820.000 inhabitants. Discover an off the beaten path itinerary for Amsterdam here.
82. Not long after the liberation of The Netherlands many shops, factories, houses were plundered by a lot of soldiers of the allied forces (British, Canadians and Americans). They took everything they could. From furniture to jewelry and food. They thought they deserved it for fighting the battle. When people reported this to the Americans, and others, they simply said ‘that’s war’. Only recently this has come to the light of the Dutch people. People simply didn’t speak about it again, but it’s more than time to discuss this horrid fact. Because people lost everything and then when they thought they were free, they lost even more. By the people they thought they could trust.
83. The surface of The Netherlands is 41.543 square kilometres and more than 18 percent of it is water.
84. When Dutch students graduate High School or University, the Dutch flag is hanged outside the house with the school bag of the student attached to it.
85. Delfts Blue is actually created thanks to Chinese porselain. In the beginning of the 17th century craftsmen in Delft recreated the patterns of the porselain. In the beginning they were only Chinese patterns, but after a while the typical Dutch traditions and landscapes made its way on the porsselain. Original Delfts Blue can be recognised by the signature ‘D’. The paintings are originally black, but turn blue after it’s baked.
86. Unesco World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea is just as special as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Something similar cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
87. The Afsluitdijk, or closing dyke, is the biggest dyke of both The Netherlands and Europe at 32 kilometres long.
88. The Netherlands Open Air Museum in Arnhem is the most visited museum in The Netherlands, outside the museums in Amsterdam.
89. The first skyscraper in Europe was found in Rotterdam and is called the White House, or the Witte Huis, and is 43 metres high.
90. The lion is part of the Dutch coat of arms. A lion was a symbol for strength and protection and was used in coat of arms in The Netherlands since the Middle Ages. It is currently still the coat of arms of the royal family and of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.
91. In 1953 a big disaster happened in The Netherlands. Dykes collapsed when they couldn’t handle the storm floods and rain anymore and they suddenly broke in the middle of the night. 1836 people died, thousands were homeless and thousands of animals died. After that The Netherlands made a big plan for better and stronger water barriers for the entire country, because this couldn’t happen again.
92. The first power station in The Netherlands was located near the town of Kinderdijk (famous for its windmills) in 1886. It was a steam power station.
93. The Four Days Walk in the town in Nijmegen is the biggest walking event in the world. 47.000 thousand walkers of all ages from 84 different countries participate. It is also nicknamed the Walk of the World.
94. We love to volunteer, around half of all Dutch people is at least a volunteer once a year.
95. The Netherlands used to be mainly a protestant and Roman Catholic country (divided by the big rivers of the Rhine and Meuse). However, currently around half of the people don’t follow any religion at all. 24 percent is Roman-Catholic, 6 percent Netherlands Reformed, 6 percent is Protestant, 6 percent is other, 5 percent Islam, 3 percent Dutch Reformed. So there is not a main religion in The Netherlands anymore, even though Roman-Catholic is the largest.
96. Artefacts of Neanderthals were found in many parts in The Netherlands. In the provinces of Noord-Holland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Zeeland, Limburg there Neanderthal remains were found. You can find a 40.000 year-old skull in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden.
97. Dutch engineer Victor Hayes is nicknamed the ‘father of WiFi’. He is responsible for the technology behind the WiFi.
98. People from The Netherlands are called Dutch, or Nederlands in the Dutch language.
99. The Netherlands is home to twelve Unesco World Heritage Sites, the Wouda pumping station is one of them.
100. The Netherlands is found in Western Europe bordered by Germany on the East, Belgium on the South and water in the West and North.
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I hope that by now you are aware of the importance of The Netherlands, and have discovered many The Netherlands and Holland facts. Whether you were searching for cool facts about The Netherlands or for more information about The Netherlands culture, I think you’ve managed to get a good insight of both fun facts about The Netherlands, Holland and the culture.
As well as Dutch people facts, whether Holland, The Netherlands and Amsterdam are below sea level and even The Netherlands official language. Plus whether The Netherlands is part of Europe or not and some pretty cool Dutch history facts. And even Dutch inventions that you would never think of because they’re simply that common and known.
Now you know almost everything you need to know when you travel to The Netherlands. Including what government the Netherlands has and what people from The Netherlands are called. Check here to find more tips you have to know about The Netherlands before you travel here. Share this post of facts about The Netherlands now!!