Welcome to Netherlands.Info !!
Netherlands.Info is an online travel guide that provides you with expert information about The Netherlands
(also called Holland) on many topics of interest!
In our main menu, you will find information about flights to Amsterdam, travel within The Netherlands, sightseeing tips, dutch culture, history and geography and many other topics.
Netherlands.Info is also rich with usefull link tips to Dutch business and it's products: hotel bookings, restaurants, car rental, tourist guides, attractions and events etc.
For many people 'the Netherlands' conjures up images of tulips, cheese and windmills. These associations are not exactly wrong; tulip bulbs and cheese are indeed two important Dutch export products, and you will still see many windmills that have been preserved.
And besides these symbols, The Netherlands has much more to offer. Amsterdam is one of the world's best hangouts, a canny blend of old and new: radical squatter art installations hang off 17th-century eaves; BMWs give way to bicycles; and triple-strength monk-made beer is drunk in gleaming, minimalist cafes. The city seems to thrive on its mix and, despite hordes of tourists, still manages to feel quintessentially Dutch. The old crooked houses, the cobbled streets, the tree-lined canals and the generous parks all contribute to the atmosphere.
Though most historic town centers in The Netherlands date back to the Dark Ages, most building was done in the during the ages of oversea expansion and in the nineteenth century when the industrial revolution started. In Amsterdam, Leiden or Utrecht you can see the big 17th century mansions once owned by the commanders of the Dutch fleet and those of the rich merchants who financed the wars with their overseas gains. They were the Dutch elite. This can still be seen in the countless portrait paintings they commissioned. Most of the world's famous painters are dutch like Rembrandt, van Gogh, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer.
Apart from the glory days of the 17th century there is much in the Netherlands to attract the present day visitor. Visitors will find a very open, relaxed and international atmosphere, some great museums with both modern and historical Dutch art.
Due to the Worldwar II bombardment that levelled the city and the renovations that followed, Rotterdam is the only real modern town of The Netherlands (not to mention, the largest seaport in the world).
Maastricht is the most important city of the South. The atmosphere is quite different from the North. The town is pretty and is a good base for exploring the countryside as well as making daytrips to Germany and Belgium.
Because of its size and flatness The Netherlands is a great country to explore by bicycle. Public transport is another good option because parking is problematic in most town centers. Trains and buses provide excellent transport in the entire country.
Finally, the young mainly visit The Netherlands for two characteristics: the permissive attitude towards erotics (prostitution is legal) and drugs (possession of small quantities of softdrugs for personal use is legal, and marihuana - in small quantities for personal use - is for sale legally in 'coffee shops' throughout the country). This, however, does not mean harddrugs are tolerated - nor is illegal prostitution. Both examples of leniency were instituted to better control these problems. The result is less crime and better working conditions for legal prositutes - a recipe slowly being picked up by the rest of the world. The Dutch seem always one step ahead, and for several years now gay couples have been allowed to marry legally and properly, like any couple.
Basic Facts about The Netherlands:
The Netherlands is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, both in the Caribbean Sea, are self-governing parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Head of state, since 1980, is Queen Beatrix of the House of Orange-Nassau. The name Holland is widely used as being equivalent to the Netherlands.
Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; one of the oldest flags in constant use, originating with William I, Prince of Orange, in the latter half of the 16th century.
Dutch is the national language of Holland. However, English is spoken by almost everyone. In addition, many Dutch people speak German and French.
The Netherlands is located in northwestern Europe and borders the North Sea (451 km), Belgium (450 km) and Germany (577 km). The country is quite small, the surface area is 41,528 square kilometres. The greatest distance from north to south is 300 kilometres, and from west to east 200 kilometres. Geographically, The Netherlands is one of the most low-lying countries in the world (its name literally means the Low Countries).
Temperate; marine; cool summers and mild winters.
Official capital as stated by the constitution is the city of Amsterdam. The city of The Hague is the administrative capital (the seat of government), the home of the Queen, host to the International Court of Justice and the location for most of the embassies.
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated, it has a population of sixteen million and an average of 481 inhabitants per square kilometer. Ethnic groups: Dutch 83%, other 17% (of which 9% are non-Western origin mainly Turks, Moroccans, Antilleans, Surinamese and Indonesians). Religions: Roman Catholic 31%, Protestant 21%, Muslim 4.4%, other 3.6%, unaffiliated 40%.
The Netherlands is ranked fifth on the 2004 list of nations with the highest standard of life and has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade. The economy is noted for stable industrial relations, moderate unemployment and inflation, a sizable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs no more than 4% of the labor force but provides large surpluses for the food-processing industry and for exports. The Netherlands, along with 11 of its EU partners, began circulating the euro currency on 1 January 2002. The country continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment. Economic growth slowed considerably in 2001-03, as part of the global economic slowdown, but for the four years before that, annual growth averaged nearly 4%, well above the EU average. The government is wrestling with a deteriorating budget position, and is moving toward the EU 3% of GDP budget deficit limit.
The Netherlands is located in the Central European Timezone. Time difference with EST is +6 hours and with PST +9 hours.
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