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The last coal mine was closed in The Groningen gas field , one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, is situated near Slochteren.

The cost of damage repairs, structural improvements to buildings, and compensation for home value decreases has been estimated at 6. Around 35, homes are said to be affected.

Netherlands is faced with future challenges as the energy supply is forecasted to fall short of the demand by the year in the gas sector.

This is attributed to the depletion of Netherlands's major gas field, Groningen, and the earthquakes that have hit the Groningen region.

Netherlands relies heavily on natural gas to provide energy. ON, Eneco and Delta that have significant influence over the energy policy.

This means the Dutch required nearly six times as much biocapacity as The Netherlands contains. As a result, The Netherlands was running a biocapacity deficit of 4.

The Dutch agricultural sector is highly mechanised, and has a strong focus on international exports. One-third of the world's exports of chilis , tomatoes and cucumbers goes through the country.

The Netherlands also exports one-fifteenth of the world's apples. Aside from that, a significant portion of Dutch agricultural exports consists of fresh-cut plants, flowers, and flower bulbs, with the Netherlands exporting two-thirds of the world's total.

Mobility on Dutch roads has grown continuously since the s and now exceeds billion km travelled per year, [] three quarters of which are done by car.

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Government of the Netherlands initiated a plan to establish over recharging stations for electric vehicles across the country.

The rollout will be undertaken by Switzerland-based power and automation company ABB and Dutch startup Fastned , and will aim to provide at least one station within a kilometre radius 30 miles from every home in the Netherlands.

Trains are frequent, with two trains per hour on lesser lines, [i] two to four trains per hour on average, and up to eight trains an hour on the busiest lines.

Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. Almost as many kilometres are covered by bicycle as by train. There are large bicycle parking facilities, particularly in city centres and at train stations.

The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, with the rivers Meuse and Rhine providing excellent access to the hinterland upstream reaching to Basel , Switzerland, and into Germany and France.

As of [update] , Rotterdam was the world's eighth largest container port handling The harbour functions as an important transit point for bulk materials and between the European continent and overseas.

From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. In , the Betuweroute , a new fast freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, was completed.

Schiphol Airport , just southwest of Amsterdam, is the main international airport in the Netherlands, and the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.

In , the Royal Schiphol Group airports handled 70 million passengers. The Netherlands had an estimated population of 17,, as of 31 May It is the 64th most populous country in the world.

Between and , the country's population almost doubled from 5. From to , the population further increased, to The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.

According to a estimate, the population was The Dutch are the tallest people in the world, by nationality, [] with an average height of 1.

According to Eurostat , in there were 1. Of these, 1. According to Dutch Central Statistics Bureau, in , 28 percent of the Dutch population had a spendable income above 45, euros which does not include spending on health care or education.

The official language is Dutch , which is spoken by the vast majority of the inhabitants. In the European part of the kingdom two other regional languages are recognised under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The first of these recognised regional languages is Low Saxon Nedersaksisch in Dutch. Low Saxon consists of several dialects spoken in the north and east, like Tweants in the region of Twente , and Drents in the province of Drenthe.

Secondly, Limburgish is also recognised as a regional language. It consists of Dutch varieties of Meuse-Rhenish Franconian languages and is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg.

Ripuarian language , which is spoken in Kerkrade and Vaals in the form of, respectively, the Kerkrade dialect and the Vaals dialect [] [] is not recognised as a regional language of the Netherlands.

These dialects are however sometimes considered to be a part of or related to Limburgish. English has a formal status in the special municipalities of Saba and Sint Eustatius.

It is widely spoken on these islands. Papiamento has a formal status in the special municipality of Bonaire. Yiddish and the Romani language were recognised in as non-territorial languages.

In higher level secondary schools HAVO and VWO , the acquisition of two additional modern foreign language skills is mandatory during the first three years.

Only during the last three years in VWO one foreign language is mandatory. Besides English, the standard modern languages are French and German , although schools can replace one of these modern languages with Chinese , Spanish , Russian , Italian , Turkish or Arabic.

Religious identification in the Netherlands [3]. The Dutch are one of the least religious people in the world. Religion in the Netherlands was predominantly Christianity until late into the 20th century.

Although religious diversity remains, there has been a decline of religious adherence. In , Statistics Netherlands , the Dutch governmental institution that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands, found that Groups that represent the non-religious in the Netherlands include Humanistisch Verbond.

Christians comprised the Islam comprised the 4. The Constitution of the Netherlands guarantees freedom of education, which means that all schools that adhere to general quality criteria receive the same government funding.

This includes schools based on religious principles by religious groups especially Roman Catholic and various Protestant. By , Protestantism shrunk demographically to equal Roman Catholicism, and going onwards, both Christian branches began to decline.

There is one major exception: Islam which grew considerably as the result of immigration. Since the year there has been raised awareness of religion, mainly due to Muslim extremism.

The Dutch royal family has been traditionally associated with Calvinism , specifically the disestablished and now non-existent Dutch Reformed Church which merged into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Reformed Church has been the only major Protestant church in the Netherlands from the Protestant Reformation up until the 19th century.

It encompassed the vast majority of Protestants in the Reformed tradition until a series of splits in and in diversified Dutch Calvinism.

In , a Roman Catholic became Queen consort. Christianity is currently the largest religion in the Netherlands. The provinces of North Brabant and Limburg have historically been strongly Roman Catholic, and some of their people might still consider the Catholic Church as a base for their cultural identity.

Protestantism in the Netherlands consists of a number of churches within various traditions. Several orthodox Reformed and liberal churches did not merge into the PKN.

Although in the Netherlands as a whole Christianity has become a minority, the Netherlands contains a Bible Belt from Zeeland to the northern parts of the province Overijssel , in which Protestant particularly Reformed beliefs remain strong, and even has majorities in municipal councils.

Islam is the second largest religion in the state. This included migrant workers from Turkey and Morocco , as well as migrants from former Dutch colonies , such as Surinam and Indonesia.

Most of these are Indo-Surinamese. There are also sizable populations of Hindu immigrants from India and Sri Lanka , and some Western adherents of Hinduism-oriented new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas.

The Netherlands has an estimated , Buddhists or people strongly attracted to this religion, mainly ethnic Dutch people.

There are about 45, Jews in the Netherlands. Education in the Netherlands is compulsory between the ages of 5 and All children in the Netherlands usually attend elementary school from on average ages 4 to It comprises eight grades, the first of which is facultative.

Based on an aptitude test, the eighth grade teacher's recommendation and the opinion of the pupil's parents or caretakers, a choice is made for one of the three main streams of secondary education.

After completing a particular stream, a pupil may still continue in the penultimate year of the next stream. The VMBO has 4 grades and is subdivided over several levels.

Successfully completing the vmbo results in a low-level vocational degree that grants access to the MBO. The MBO middle-level applied education is a form of education primarily focuses on teaching a practical trade, or a vocational degree.

The HBO higher professional education are universities of professional education applied sciences that award professional bachelor's degrees; similar to polytechnic degrees.

A HBO degree gives access to the university system. The VWO comprising atheneum and gymnasium has 6 grades and prepares for studying at a research university.

Universities offer of a three-year bachelor's degree, followed by a one or two year master's degree, which in turn can be followed by a four or five-year doctoral degree program.

Doctoral candidates in the Netherlands are generally non-tenured employees of a university. All Dutch schools and universities are publicly funded and managed with the exception of religious schools that are publicly funded but not managed by the state even though requirements are necessary for the funding to be authorised.

Dutch universities have a tuition fee of about 2, euros a year for students from the Netherlands and the European Union. The amount is about 10, euros for non-EU students.

In , the Netherlands maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index EHCI , which compares healthcare systems in Europe, scoring of a maximum 1, points.

The Netherlands has been among the top three countries in each report published since On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 37 European countries for six years in a row.

Ever since a major reform of the health care system in , the Dutch system received more points in the Index each year. According to the HCP Health Consumer Powerhouse , the Netherlands has 'a chaos system', meaning patients have a great degree of freedom from where to buy their health insurance, to where they get their healthcare service.

The difference between the Netherlands and other countries is that the chaos is managed. Healthcare decisions are being made in a dialogue between the patients and healthcare professionals.

Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory. Healthcare in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance:.

While Dutch residents are automatically insured by the government for AWBZ, everyone has to take out their own basic healthcare insurance basisverzekering , except those under 18 who are automatically covered under their parents' premium.

If a person decides not to carry out an insurance coverage, the person may be fined. Insurers have to offer a universal package for everyone over the age of 18 years, regardless of age or state of health — it's illegal to refuse an application or impose special conditions.

In contrast to many other European systems, the Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare system in the Netherlands, but not in charge of its management.

Healthcare in the Netherlands can be divided in several ways: three echelons, in somatic and mental health care and in 'cure' short term and 'care' long term.

Home doctors huisartsen , comparable to general practitioners form the largest part of the first echelon. Being referenced by a member of the first echelon is mandatory for access to the second and third echelon.

Healthcare in the Netherlands is financed by a dual system that came into effect in January Long-term treatments, especially those that involve semi-permanent hospitalisation, and also disability costs such as wheelchairs, are covered by a state-controlled mandatory insurance.

For all regular short-term medical treatment, there is a system of obligatory health insurance , with private health insurance companies.

These insurance companies are obliged to provide a package with a defined set of insured treatments. A key feature of the Dutch system is that premiums may not be related to health status or age.

Risk variances between private health insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through risk equalisation and a common risk pool.

Children under 18 are covered for free. Those on low incomes receive compensation to help them pay their insurance.

The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. Escher is a well-known graphics artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in Rotterdam , although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist.

The Netherlands is the country of philosophers Erasmus of Rotterdam and Spinoza. The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens — discovered Saturn 's moon Titan , argued that light travelled as waves, invented the pendulum clock and was the first physicist to use mathematical formulae.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms with a microscope. Hooft as the two most famous writers.

In the 19th century, Multatuli wrote about the poor treatment of the natives in the Dutch colony, the current Indonesia. Anne Frank 's Diary of a Young Girl was published after she was murdered in the Holocaust and translated from Dutch to all major languages.

The traditional Dutch architecture is especially valued in Amsterdam , Delft and Leiden , with 17 and 18th century buildings along the canals.

Smaller village architecture with wooden houses is found in Zaandam and Marken. A similar Holland Village is being built in Shenyang , China.

Windmills , tulips , wooden shoes , cheese, Delftware pottery, and cannabis are among the items associated with the Netherlands by tourists.

The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and today is regarded as a liberal country, considering its drug policy and its legalisation of euthanasia.

On 1 April , the Netherlands became the first nation to legalise same-sex marriage. Dutch society is egalitarian and modern. The Dutch have an aversion to the non-essential.

The Dutch are proud of their cultural heritage , rich history in art and involvement in international affairs.

Dutch manners are open and direct with a no-nonsense attitude; informality combined with adherence to basic behaviour. According to a humorous source on Dutch culture, "Their directness gives many the impression that they are rude and crude — attributes they prefer to call openness.

Asking about basic rules will not be considered impolite. The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries of Europe, and religion is in the Netherlands generally considered as a personal matter which is not supposed to be propagated in public, although it often remains a discussion subject.

Sustainability is a concept important for the Dutch. The goal of the Dutch Government is to have a sustainable , reliable and affordable energy system, by , in which CO 2 emissions have been halved and 40 percent of electricity is derived from sustainable sources.

The government is investing billions of euros in energy efficiency , sustainable energy and CO 2 reduction.

The Netherlands has multiple music traditions. Traditional Dutch music is a genre known as " Levenslied ", meaning Song of life , to an extent comparable to a French Chanson or a German Schlager.

These songs typically have a simple melody and rhythm, and a straightforward structure of couplets and choruses. Themes can be light, but are often sentimental and include love , death and loneliness.

Traditional musical instruments such as the accordion and the barrel organ are a staple of levenslied music, though in recent years many artists also use synthesisers and guitars.

Contemporary Dutch rock and pop music Nederpop originated in the s, heavily influenced by popular music from the United States and Britain.

In the s and s the lyrics were mostly in English, and some tracks were instrumental. As of the s, more and more pop musicians started working in the Dutch language, partly inspired by the huge success of the band Doe Maar.

Today Dutch rock and pop music thrives in both languages, with some artists recording in both. Trijntje Oosterhuis , one of the country's most well known and versatile singers, has made multiple albums with famous American composers Vince Mendoza and Burt Bacharach.

Early s Dutch and Belgian house music came together in Eurodance project 2 Unlimited. Selling 18 million records, [] the two singers in the band are the most successful Dutch music artists to this day.

Tracks like " Get Ready for This " are still popular themes of U. In the mid s Dutch language rap and hip hop Nederhop also came to fruition and has become popular in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Since the s, Dutch electronic dance music EDM gained widespread popularity in the world in many forms, from trance , techno and gabber to hardstyle.

The Amsterdam Dance Event ADE is the world's leading electronic music conference and the biggest club festival for the many electronic subgenres on the planet.

The Netherlands have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest since its first edition in , and have won five times.

Their most recent win was in In classical music , Jan Sweelinck ranks as the Dutch most famous composer, with Louis Andriessen amongst the best known living Dutch classical composers.

Ton Koopman is a Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist. He is also professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

The latter, together with his Johann Strauss Orchestra , has taken classical and waltz music on worldwide concert tours, the size and revenue of which are otherwise only seen from the world's biggest rock and pop music acts.

The most famous Dutch classical composition is " Canto Ostinato " by Simeon ten Holt , a minimalistic composition for multiple instruments.

Film director Theo van Gogh achieved international notoriety in when he was murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri in the streets of Amsterdam after directing the short film Submission.

The Netherlands has a well developed television market, with both multiple commercial and public broadcasters. Imported TV programmes, as well as interviews with responses in a foreign language, are virtually always shown with the original sound and subtitled.

Only foreign shows for children are dubbed. TV exports from the Netherlands mostly take the form of specific formats and franchises, most notably through internationally active TV production conglomerate Endemol , founded by Dutch media tycoons John de Mol and Joop van den Ende.

Headquartered in Amsterdam , Endemol has around 90 companies in over 30 countries. Endemol and its subsidiaries create and run reality, talent, and game show franchises worldwide, including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

John de Mol later started his own company Talpa which created show franchises like The Voice and Utopia. Approximately 4. About two-thirds of the population between 15 and 75 participates in sports weekly.

The Netherlands national football team is one of the most popular aspects of Dutch sports; especially since the s when one of the greatest footballers of all time, Johan Cruyff , developed Total Football with coach Rinus Michels.

Tennis, gymnastics and golf are the three most widely engaged in individual sports. Organisation of sports began at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

Federations for sports were established such as the speed skating federation in , rules were unified and sports clubs came into existence.

A Dutch National Olympic Committee was established in Thus far, the nation has won medals at the Summer Olympic Games and another medals at the Winter Olympic Games.

In international competition, Dutch national teams and athletes are dominant in several fields of sport. The Netherlands women's field hockey team is the most successful team in World Cup history.

The Netherlands baseball team have won the European championship 20 times out of 32 events. The Dutch speed skaters' performance at the Winter Olympics , where they won 8 out of 12 events, 23 out of 36 medals, including 4 clean sweeps, is the most dominant performance in a single sport in Olympic history.

Motorcycle racing at the TT Circuit Assen has a long history. Assen is the only venue to have held a round of the Motorcycle World Championship every year since its creation in The circuit was purpose-built for the Dutch TT in , with previous events having been held on public roads.

The coastal resort of Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix from to , and has been announced to return in The biggest success of the women's national team was winning the European Championship in and the World Grand Prix in Recently cricket has made a remarkable progress in the Netherlands.

They have also qualified for and T20 World Cup. Originally, the country's cuisine was shaped by the practices of fishing and farming , including the cultivation of the soil for growing crops and raising domesticated animals.

Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, and contains many dairy products. Breakfast and lunch are typically bread with toppings, with cereal for breakfast as an alternative.

Traditionally, dinner consists of potatoes, a portion of meat, and seasonal vegetables. The Dutch diet was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the labourers whose culture moulded the country.

Without many refinements, it is best described as rustic, though many holidays are still celebrated with special foods.

In the course of the twentieth century this diet changed and became much more cosmopolitan , with most global cuisines being represented in the major cities.

Modern culinary writers distinguish between three general regional forms of Dutch cuisine. The regions in the northeast of the Netherlands, roughly the provinces of Groningen , Friesland , Drenthe , Overijssel and Gelderland north of the great rivers are the least populated areas of the Netherlands.

The late 18th century introduction of large scale agriculture means that the cuisine is generally known for its many kinds of meats.

The relative lack of farms allowed for an abundance of game and husbandry , though dishes near the coastal regions of Friesland, Groningen and the parts of Overijssel bordering the IJsselmeer also include a large amount of fish.

The various dried sausages, belonging to the metworst -family of Dutch sausages are found throughout this region and are highly prized for their often very strong taste.

Also smoked sausages are common, of which Gelderse rookworst is the most renowned. The sausage contains a lot of fat and is very juicy.

Larger sausages are often eaten alongside stamppot , hutspot or zuurkool sauerkraut ; whereas smaller ones are often eaten as a street food.

The provinces are also home to hard textured rye bread , pastries and cookies, the latter heavily spiced with ginger or succade or contain small bits of meat.

Notable characteristics of Fries roggebrood Frisian rye bread is its long baking time up to 20 hours , resulting in a sweet taste and a deep dark colour.

As a coastal region, Friesland is home to low-lying grasslands, and thus has a cheese production in common with the Western cuisine. Friese Nagelkaas Friesian Clove is a notable example.

Because of the abundance of water and flat grasslands that are found here, the area is known for its many dairy products, which include prominent cheeses such as Gouda , Leyden spiced cheese with cumin , and Edam traditionally in small spheres as well as Leerdammer and Beemster , while the adjacent Zaanstreek in North Holland has since the 16th century beem known for its mayonnaise , typical whole-grain mustards , [] and chocolate industry.

Zeeland and South Holland produce a lot of butter, which contains a larger amount of milkfat than most other European butter varieties. A by-product of the butter-making process, karnemelk buttermilk , is also considered typical for this region.

Seafood such as soused herring , mussels called Zeeuwse Mossels , since all Dutch mussels for consumption are cleaned in Zeeland's Oosterschelde , eels , oysters and shrimps are widely available and typical for the region.

Kibbeling , once a local delicacy consisting of small chunks of battered white fish , has become a national fast food , just as lekkerbek.

Pastries in this area tend to be quite doughy, and often contain large amounts of sugar; either caramelised, powdered or crystallised. The oliebol in its modern form and Zeeuwse bolus are good examples.

Cookies are also produced in great number and tend to contain a lot of butter and sugar, like stroopwafel , as well as a filling of some kind, mostly almond, like gevulde koek.

The traditional alcoholic beverages of this region are beer strong pale lager and Jenever , a high proof juniper -flavored spirit, that came to be known in England as gin.

A noted exception within the traditional Dutch alcoholic landscape, Advocaat , a rich and creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy, is also native to this region.

It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetable dishes and is often called Burgundian which is a Dutch idiom invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages, renowned for its splendor and great feasts.

It is the only Dutch culinary region that developed an haute cuisine. Pastries are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits.

Savoury pastries also occur, with the worstenbroodje a roll with a sausage of ground beef , literally translates into sausage bread being the most popular.

The traditional alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands, ranging from Trappist to Kriek.

Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is also used in cooking; often in stews. In early , Oxfam ranked the Netherlands as the country with the most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food, in a comparison of countries.

From the exploitations in the Mughal Empire in the 17th century, to the colonisations in the 19th century, Dutch imperial possessions continued to expand, reaching their greatest extent by establishing a hegemony of the Dutch East Indies in the early 20th century.

The Dutch East Indies, which later formed modern-day Indonesia, was one of the most valuable European colonies in the world and the most important one for the Netherlands.

In the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, the Netherlands urbanised considerably, mostly financed by corporate revenue from the Asian trade monopolies.

Social status was based on merchants' income, which reduced feudalism and considerably changed the dynamics of Dutch society.

When the Dutch royal family was established in , much of its wealth came from Colonial trade. Afterward, they established ports in Dutch occupied Malabar , leading to Dutch settlements and trading posts in India.

However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore , during the Travancore-Dutch War.

The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to Bengal Subah. Universities such as the Leiden University , founded in the 16th century, have developed into leading knowledge centres for Southeast Asian and Indonesian studies.

Leiden University and in particular KITLV are educational and scientific institutions that to this day share both an intellectual and historical interest in Indonesian studies.

Other scientific institutions in the Netherlands include the Amsterdam Tropenmuseum , an anthropological museum with massive collections of Indonesian art, culture, ethnography and anthropology.

A specific segment of Dutch literature called Dutch Indies literature still exists and includes established authors, such as Louis Couperus , the writer of "The Hidden Force", taking the colonial era as an important source of inspiration.

The majority of Dutchmen that repatriated to the Netherlands after and during the Indonesian revolution are Indo Eurasian , native to the islands of the Dutch East Indies.

This relatively large Eurasian population had developed over a period of years and were classified by colonial law as belonging to the European legal community.

Including their second generation descendants, Indos are currently the largest foreign-born group in the Netherlands. Many Indonesian dishes and foodstuffs have become commonplace in the Netherlands.

Rijsttafel , a colonial culinary concept, and dishes such as Nasi goreng and satay are very popular in the country. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the constituent country. For the sovereign state, see Kingdom of the Netherlands. For all other uses, see Netherlands disambiguation.

Country in Western Europe. Coat of arms. Co-official [b]. English Papiamentu West Frisian. Recognised [c]. Main article: Terminology of the Low Countries.

Main article: History of the Netherlands. Diachronic distribution of Celtic people from BC. Expansion into the southern Low Countries by BC.

Main articles: Frankish Kingdom and Frisian Kingdom. Main article: History of urban centers in the Low Countries.

Spanish Netherlands. Main article: Geography of the Netherlands. See also: Low Countries. Main article: Geology of the Netherlands.

Main articles: Delta Works and Flood control in the Netherlands. Workum , Friesland. Lisse , North Holland. Further information: List of national parks of the Netherlands and List of extinct animals of the Netherlands.

Main articles: Bonaire , Saba , and Sint Eustatius. Willem-Alexander King of the Netherlands since 30 April Main articles: Political parties of the Netherlands and Politics of the Netherlands.

Main article: Government of the Netherlands. Main articles: Foreign relations of the Netherlands and List of diplomatic missions of the Netherlands.

Main article: Armed forces of the Netherlands. Main article: Economy of the Netherlands. Main article: Transport in the Netherlands.

Main article: Demography of the Netherlands. Largest municipalities in the Netherlands Statistics Netherlands []. Main article: Languages of the Netherlands.

Main article: Religion in the Netherlands. Roman Catholic Protestant Church in the Netherlands [k] Other Christian [l] 4.

Muslim 4. Other 1. Main articles: Education in the Netherlands and Universities in the Netherlands.

Main article: Healthcare in the Netherlands. Main article: Culture of the Netherlands. Main articles: Dutch art , Architecture of the Netherlands , and Dutch literature.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh. The Rijksmuseum. Main article: Dutch customs and etiquette.

Main articles: Cinema of the Netherlands and Television in the Netherlands. Main article: Sports in the Netherlands. Main article: Dutch cuisine.

Stroopwafels syrup waffles are a treat consisting of waffles with caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. Oliebollen , a Dutch pastry eaten on New Year's Eve.

Poffertjes are made in a special, so-called, poffertjespan. The Gouda cheese market in Gouda City. Hutspot with klapstuk beef.

Bitterballen are usually served with mustard. Main article: Dutch Empire. Netherlands portal. However, many people still tend to give their older affiliation even after the merger.

People who declared themselves simply as belonging to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands did not give an information about belonging to an older affiliation.

Retrieved 27 December Retrieved on 4 July Retrieved 20 February International Monetary Fund. April Retrieved 9 July United Nations Development Programme.

Retrieved 10 December Dutch government. Retrieved 11 January Retrieved 24 March Netherlands Bureau for Tourism and Congresses. Retrieved 3 December Government of the Netherlands in Dutch.

Retrieved 11 July Ministry of Defence. These cities, combined with Utrecht and other smaller municipalities, effectively form a single metroplex —a conurbation called Randstad.

The Randstad area is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe, but still relatively free of urban sprawl.

There are strict zoning laws. Population pressures are enormous, property values are high, and new housing is constantly under development on the edges of the built-up areas.

Surprisingly, much of the province still has a rural character. The remaining agricultural land and natural areas are highly valued and protected.

Most of the arable land is used for intensive agriculture , including horticulture and greenhouse agri-businesses. The land that is now Holland has not been "stable" since prehistoric times.

The western coastline shifted up to thirty kilometres 19 miles to the east and storm surges regularly broke through the row of coastal dunes.

The Frisian Isles , originally joined to the mainland, became detached islands in the north. The main rivers, the Rhine and the Meuse Maas , flooded regularly and changed course repeatedly and dramatically.

The people of Holland found themselves living in an unstable, watery environment. Behind the dunes on the coast of the Netherlands a high peat plateau had grown, forming a natural protection against the sea.

Much of the area was marsh and bog. By the tenth century the inhabitants set about cultivating this land by draining it. However, the drainage resulted in extreme soil shrinkage, lowering the surface of the land by up to fifteen metres 49 feet.

To the south of Holland, in Zeeland , and to the north, in Frisia , this development led to catastrophic storm floods literally washing away entire regions, as the peat layer disintegrated or became detached and was carried away by the flood water.

From the Frisian side the sea even flooded the area to the east, gradually hollowing Holland out from behind and forming the Zuiderzee the present IJsselmeer.

This inland sea threatened to link up with the "drowned lands" of Zealand in the south, reducing Holland to a series of narrow dune barrier islands in front of a lagoon.

Only drastic administrative intervention saved the county from utter destruction. The counts and large monasteries took the lead in these efforts, building the first heavy emergency dikes to bolster critical points.

Later special autonomous administrative bodies were formed, the waterschappen "water control boards" , which had the legal power to enforce their regulations and decisions on water management.

They eventually constructed an extensive dike system that covered the coastline and the polders, thus protecting the land from further incursions by the sea.

However, the Hollanders did not stop there. Starting around the 16th century, they took the offensive and began land reclamation projects, converting lakes, marshy areas and adjoining mudflats into polders.

This continued well into the 20th century. As a result, historical maps of medieval and early modern Holland bear little resemblance to present maps.

This ongoing struggle to master the water played an important role in the development of Holland as a maritime and economic power, and has traditionally been seen as developing the presumed collective character of its inhabitants: stubborn, egalitarian and frugal.

The stereotypical image of Holland is an artificial amalgam of tulips , windmills , clogs , Edam cheese and the traditional dress klederdracht of the village of Volendam , far from the reality of everyday Holland.

These stereotypes were deliberately created in the late 19th century by official "Holland Promotion" to attract tourists.

The predominance of Holland in the Netherlands has resulted in regionalism on the part of the other provinces, a reaction to the perceived threat that Holland poses to their local culture and identity.

The other provinces have a strong, and often negative, [16] image of Holland and the Hollanders, to whom certain qualities are ascribed within a mental geography , a conceptual mapping of spaces and their inhabitants.

Consequently, they see themselves not primarily as Hollanders, but simply as Dutch Nederlanders. The predominant language spoken in Holland is Dutch.

Hollanders sometimes call the Dutch language " Hollands, " [20] instead of the standard term Nederlands.

Inhabitants of Belgium and other provinces of the Netherlands use "Hollands" to mean a Hollandic dialect or strong accent.

Standard Dutch was historically largely based on the dialect of the County of Holland , incorporating many traits derived from the dialects of the previously more powerful Duchy of Brabant and County of Flanders.

Strong dialectal variation still exists throughout the Low Countries. Today, Holland proper is the region where the original dialects are least spoken, in many areas having been completely replaced by standard Dutch, and the Randstad has the largest influence on the developments of the standard language—with the exception of the Dutch spoken in Belgium.

Despite this correspondence between standard Dutch and the Dutch spoken in the Randstad, there are local variations within Holland itself that differ from standard Dutch.

The main cities each have their own modern urban dialect, that can be considered a sociolect. This dialect is present in the north: Volendam and Marken and the area around there, West Friesland and the Zaanstreek ; and in a southeastern fringe bordering the provinces of North Brabant and Utrecht.

In the south on the island of Goeree-Overflakkee , Zeelandic is spoken. A much-loved town in the South ever since the Roman era. Destinations Leiden.

A historic student town with plenty of pubs and restaurants in a historic setting. Destinations Groningen City. Enjoy a wonderful weekend break in Groningen filled with culture and natural beauty!

Destinations Arnhem. Surrounded by nature and filled with culture: this is clearly Arnhem! Destinations Delft.

Canals, Delft blue, Johannes Vermeer: this is the versatile town of Delft. Destinations Eindhoven. Eindhoven is the design capital of Holland Read more.

Destinations Breda. Destinations Den Bosch. Discover the bon-vivant city of Den Bosch, full of history and culture.

Destinations Leeuwarden. Amersfoort Add to itinerary. Amersfoort has a compact city centre that is just perfect for a day on the town.

Hanzesteden The Hanseatic city of Zwolle Add to itinerary. Destinations Gouda. Fun Parks Madurodam Add to itinerary.

Kids museums The Miffy Museum Add to itinerary.

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