The Netherlands: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Netherlands.

  • The Netherlands is a small country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium and Germany.
  • Almost 20 percent of the country’s land has been reclaimed from the sea, and much of it is below sea level.

  • The Netherlands has a population of about 17 million, but covers only about 41,000 square km. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
  • It has been described as being one of the world’s happiest countries, and has a very high standard of living.
  • It is known for windmills, tulips, cheese, bicycles and canals.
  • Amsterdam is the country’s capital and one of Europe’s most visited cities. It is one of the most bicycle friendly cities with almost as many bikes as residents — 1.2 million.
  • The world’s oldest stock exchange, dating from 1602 is in Amsterdam. The city has some world famous museums, including the Van Gogh Museum with 200 paintings by Vincent van Gogh.
  • All buildings in Amsterdam are built on poles sunk into a layer of sand up to 11 metres deep. The city’s Royal Palace is supported by almost 14,000 wooden poles.
  • The Dutch have very strict rules covering behavior and etiquette, although the country has a reputation for tolerating differences.

Flag of the Netherlands

  • Most Dutch people speak at least one other language.
  • The first tulips were imported from Turkey to the Netherlands. The country exports about 66 percent of all flowers and bulbs, and 25 percent of all the tomatoes.
  • The Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world preparing for a rise in sea level. After flooding in 1953, work began on the Delta Project, a system of huge barriers and dams.
  • During the 17th century, the Dutch became one of the world’s great sea powers. The Dutch East Indian Company was established, and the Netherlands had colonies all over the world.

Amsterdam: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Amsterdam.

  • Amsterdam is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of about 1,500,000. The city was named for a dam built on the River Amstel.
  • The city was founded in the early 14th century, and by the 17th century it was the richest city in the world. Today, it is twinned with over 12 cities, including Manchester, Moscow and Beijing.

  • Amsterdam is home to the world’s oldest stock exchange, dating from 1602.
  • The city’s oldest building is the Old Church, built in the early 14th century.
  • Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world with about 400 km of bike paths. There are about 1,200,000 bicycles in the city, of which 80,000 are stolen every year.
  • Amsterdam is famous for its canals, with almost 170 of them, crossed by over 1,200 bridges. There are also an estimated 2,500 houseboats moored on the city’s canals.
  • Most of the city is below sea level and it would be the first major city to be flooded if sea level rose slightly. The city’s airport is about 4 metres below sea level.
  • Almost every building in Amsterdam is built on long wooden poles driven into the swampy ground, some of which can still be seen. The Royal Palace was built on over 13,000 poles.
  • Amsterdam was one of the first large cities to allow same sex marriages, in 2001.
  • It is one of the top 25 safest large cities in the world.
  • The city’s Van Gogh Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of the Vincent van Gogh‘s paintings.
  • Amsterdam’s huge Rijksmuseum has more than a million works of art in it.
  • Amsterdam has been a major diamond centre for about 400 years, and diamond workshop tours are popular. The famous and valuable Kohinoor diamond of India was cut in the city.