Who doesn’t love some nice and interesting facts? Personally, I love it and can’t get enough of it. Besides, facts are a great way to find out more about a certain subject.
When spending some time to find out facts about your holiday destination before you travel, you can get a pretty good image of what that country is going to be like. That’s why I, a Dutchman, thought it’d be great to create an elaborate list of facts about the Netherlands.
Thanks to these facts about the Netherlands, you’ll be able to prepare for your own visit to the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a country with a long history and interesting culture. Because of this, there are many interesting facts to tell about the Netherlands.
Contrary to other websites, which usually only name the fact itself, I will support the facts with interesting information. This way, you’ll find out even more about the Netherlands!
Are you planning to visit the Netherlands? Or do seek a nice way to find out more about the Netherlands? Wait no longer and read on below about “54 Interesting Facts About The Netherlands You Didn't Know”.
The Netherlands is of course worldwide known as the cycling capital of the world. Cycling is one of the most popular ways of transport in the Netherlands. This also shows in the statistics. On average, a Dutchman cycles 900 kilometers (559 miles) a year. In total, the Dutch cycle about 15 billion kilometers (9.3 billion miles) in a year altogether. On average, this number of kilometers is cycled in 250 to 300 cycling tours a year per person.
Because cycling is so immensely popular in the Netherlands, there’s also a lot of bicycles. According to the latest numbers, there are 22,8 million bicycles in the Netherlands, compared to only 17 million inhabitants. This means that every Dutchman owns an average of 1,3 bicycles. With these unique numbers, the Netherlands is well ahead worldwide.
The Dutch are known as true "cheeseheads". Which makes it not so surprising that Holland and cheese share a long history. The first pieces of evidence of cheese being made there come from the year 800 BC. From this period, earthenware jars with holes in them have been found. In here, the curd could be drained and dried.
When people abroad think of Holland, they often think of tulips. This isn’t so surprising, knowing the Dutch have been one of the biggest producers and exporters of flowers for many centuries. 60% of the world's flower bulbs come from the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is worldwide known as a tolerant country. This was confirmed once more in 2001 when on the 1st of April in 2001, the Netherlands opened civil marriage to same-sex partners. This lead to the country becoming the first in the world to allow marriage between people of the same sex.
Holland has been fighting against water for many centuries, and its location makes it vulnerable to flooding. Large parts of the Netherlands are so low, that they are below sea level. In total, 26% of the Netherlands is below sea level. Furthermore, 55% of the Netherlands is prone to flooding. Fortunately, advanced waterworks ensure that the country won’t get flooded to a large extent.
One of the symbols of the Netherlands are of course windmills. People from all over the world travel to the Netherlands to see the famous windmills. With a total of 1100 windmills and 100 watermills, it provides plenty of opportunities to see windmills around the country. A century ago the number of mills was way higher, with a total of 10.000 mills in the Netherlands!
It’s partly because of all these mills that the Netherlands managed to keep the water out, and newly obtained land could be used for homes and farming.
The Dutch are often recognized abroad due to their height. This isn’t so strange, as the Dutch are the tallest people in the world. The height of an average Dutch male is around 1.82 meters (5.97 feet) and the height of an average Dutch female is 1.68 meters (5.51 feet). This makes the Dutch the tallest people in the world on average.
A few factors that cause the Dutch to be so tall are: good healthcare, healthy nutrition, lots of dairy consumption, and enough sleep. The fact that the Netherlands is a wealthy country also plays an important role. If this wasn’t the case, the factors just mentioned couldn’t have been funded by the government and the population.
In the Netherlands, it’s customary to greet an acquaintance or friend by kissing each other three times on the cheek. From your own point of view, you go left-right-left. When you’re at a birthday party congratulating the birthday boy or girl, you would often congratulate them whilst kissing. It goes like this: Ge...*kiss*...felic...*kiss*...iteerd...*kiss*
In most cases, the Dutch have no trouble making themselves understood abroad. This is because the Dutch are known as the best non-native English-speaking country. A whopping 90% of the Dutch people speak English as their second language.
Some reasons why the Dutch are so good at speaking English are: good education, Dutch and English are both Germanic languages, subtitles on television instead of dubbing, and lots of interaction with other countries.
The world’s largest walking event takes place in the Netherlands, in the city of Nijmegen. Each year in the 3rd week of July, around 50.000 walkers start the Nijmegen Four Days Marches. During these four days, the walkers have to cover a distance of 30 km (18 miles), 40 km (24 miles), or 50 miles (31 miles). The distance that people walk is determined based on age and gender.
With a total of 50.000 walkers from 70 different countries, the Nijmegen Four Days Marches are the largest walking event in the world.
Licorice is one of the most popular types of candy in the Netherlands. Their love for licorice becomes clear when we look at the number of licorice consumed in kilos per person. Yearly, 32 million kilos of licorice is being consumed in the Netherlands, which is about 2 kilos of licorice per person.
Besides consuming a lot of licorice, the Netherlands also produces large amounts of licorice. The Netherlands is the third-largest licorice producer in Europe, with a third market share in the European market.
Where the Netherlands used to be known for its football players, in the 21st century the Netherlands is mainly known for its world-famous DJs. In the past 17 years, a Dutch DJ was voted the best DJ in the world no less than 11 times, in the Top 100 DJs Award of DJMag.com.
Some famous Dutch DJs include: Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell, Afrojack, Fedde Le Grand, Nicky Romero, Ferry Corsten, Sander van Doorn, en Don Diablo.
The Netherlands is of course known as a large football country, with players like Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, and Marco van Basten. These players have won many prizes in their careers, and have played at the best clubs in the world. Therefore it would probably surprise you to know that the national football team of the Netherlands has only won one prize, namely the European Championship of 1988.
Besides this first place at the European Championship 1988, the Netherlands did manage to claim a few places on stage. In the World Championship history, the Netherlands stood on the stage four times, namely in 1974 2nd place, 1978 2nd place, 2010 2nd place, and 2014 3rd place.
At the European Championships in 1976 the Netherlands became 3rd, and as mentioned before, managed to win in 1988.
Since the Netherlands is largely below sea level, it has been fighting against water for many centuries. 2000 years ago, the first dikes were already being built to protect the land against the water. Meanwhile, throughout the centuries the Netherlands has gained lots of experience when it comes to water management and holds the most advanced water management system in the world.
From all over the world, people come to the Netherlands to observe how the Dutch are protecting themselves against the water. With their expertise, the Netherlands is without a doubt the world-leading when it comes to water management.
Click here to see what else the Netherlands is best at.
Despite the Dutch flag displaying the colors red, white, and blue, the country's national color is orange. To track down the reason why the national color of the Netherlands is orange, we have to go far back in time.
Dutch people love the color orange because of the surname of the Dutch Royal family. This name, Van Oranje-Nassau, was first carried by the founder of the Dutch nation, Willem van Oranje-Nassau or Orange-Nassau in English. Ever since orange has stood as a symbol for the Netherlands.
Most likely, everyone has seen or eaten them once: "Dutch carrots". In the Netherlands, we just call them carrots, but abroad they are called “Dutch carrots”. In addition, most people will only know of the distinctive orange carrot. However, they were actually yellow, white, or purple in the past.
Could the name "Dutch carrots" have anything to do with the orange color? In the 16th century, the Dutch agricultural sector was way ahead of the rest of the world. Because of this, the Dutch farmers succeeded in growing orange carrots.
Long ago, it was thought that "Dutch Carrots" was a way to honor Willem van Oranje-Nassau. However, research determined that the orange carrots already existed even before this time. Regardless, after the Dutch people symbolized the color orange as their national color, the orange carrots were dedicated to the royal family Van Oranje-Nassau.
Like most of you probably know, Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands. However, a considerable history precedes it. Amsterdam was declared as the capital of the Netherlands in 1814 by King William I of Orange, but in 1815 this got rejected again. However, Amsterdam was always considered the capital. In 1983 Amsterdam was again incorporated into the constitution as the capital of the Netherlands.
What’s strange about the fact that Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands is that the Dutch government is not established in Amsterdam, but in The Hague. This in contrast to almost all other countries, where the government is established in the capital city.
With 1218 museums, the Netherlands has the largest museum density in the world. The Dutch love to visit museums, but also many tourists come to visit museums in the Netherlands.
The range of different museums in the Netherlands is enormous, and there is something interesting for everyone. Many museums are of course about the Netherlands itself, its history, art, wars, nature, and much more. But there are also an awful lot of museums that are not specifically focused on the Netherlands and that highlight completely different subjects.
Click here to see the top 5 best art museums in the Netherlands.
The Dutch city of Rotterdam is worldwide known for its harbor. This isn’t so strange, as the harbor of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe. From 1962 until 2004 it was even the largest harbor in the world, but Rotterdam has since been overtaken by the largest harbors in China and other Asian countries. On the list of largest harbors in the world, we can now find Rotterdam in tenth place.
However, the harbor of Rotterdam is the largest transit harbor in the world. Of the total of 440.391 connections worldwide, 9.7 percent of the transport routes use Rotterdam as a transshipment harbor.
The Netherlands is one of the lowest-lying countries in Europe, which causes 26% of the Netherlands to lie below sea level. The lowest point is located in a meadow in the province of South Holland, in the "Zuidplaspolder" to be precise. This point is a whopping 6.74 meters (22 feet) below sea level, making it the lowest point in the country.
When there is the lowest point, there is of course also the highest point. In the Netherlands, we pretty much only talk about hills, not about mountains. Yet the Netherlands has one real mountain, which is the "Vaalserberg". With 322.4 meters (1057.74 feet) above sea level, the "Vaalserberg" is the highest point in the Netherlands. This mountain is located at the southernmost tip of the country and is close to the three-country point where the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany meet.
The Dutch are known as one of the happiest people in the world. A research was conducted on the people of 156 countries including the Netherlands. The research asked various questions on factors like lifestyle, health, life expectancy, freedom of speech, corruption, education, and social support.
According to, 2021 World Happiness Report, the Netherlands ranked number 5. Hence, it proves how happy the Dutch are with all the benefits they get in the country. The country has always been regarded as one of the peace-loving countries in the world.
In 1945, the Dutch royal family delivered 100,000 tulips as a token of appreciation for taking in Princess Juliana and her family after they were forced to flee due to WWII and helping liberate the Netherlands. This tradition is kept alive with a celebration called the Canadian Tulip Festival. This is why the Netherlands sends thousands of tulips to Canada each year.
The Netherlands is world-famous for its painters. This isn’t so strange, as some of the most famous painters in history came from the Netherlands. Think of names like: Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Karel Appel, Piet Mondriaan, Johannes Vermeer and Jheronimus Bosch.
Altogether, these painters have created world famous works such as: Nachtwacht, Tuin der Lusten, Zelfportret en Zonnebloemen.
Eating herring is a real tradition for many Dutch people. Every year somewhere around June, the new herrings called "Hollandse Nieuwe" come onto the market. The raw herring is eaten with shredded onion. Many people grab the herring at its tail, hang it above their mouths and slowly lower it down.
In 1958, the Netherlands was amongst one of the six countries that formed the European Union together. These first six countries were: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The European Union has now expanded considerably and has 27 member states.
Throughout the centuries, the Dutch have made different world-famous inventions. Three of these inventions are cassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs. These inventions would eventually have a large impact on the music and film industry. These worldwide known inventions were made by the Dutch electronics company Philips, from the city of Eindhoven.
The Netherlands has long been known as a real trading country, and that is still the case today. Even though it’s only a small country, the Netherlands is amongst the biggest exporters of beer. In 2019, the Netherlands exported no less than 2.1 billion dollars worth of beer, which accounts for 13.3% of the total export market. This puts the country in 2nd place worldwide and only has to tolerate Mexico being in front of them.
The Dutch don’t only export lots of beer, they also like to drink it. On average, a Dutch person drinks 79,3 liters of beer a year, bringing it to 13th place worldwide. However, this can’t be compared to the Czech Republic where people drink twice as much on average, leaving their country to be in 1st place for 27 years already.
In 1985 the king of the Netherlands obtained his first pilot's license. However, this was only the beginning of his career as a pilot, and he continued to retrain over the years, obtaining several certifications for increasingly larger aircraft.
In 2001 the king obtained his "Airline Transport Pilot License", which permits you to fly large airliners, which includes passenger aircraft. From then on, the king flew in the Dutch government plane or with KLM Cityhopper to make his necessary flying hours.
In 2017, the king obtained the license to fly a Boeing 737. This makes it possible that when you are in a KLM Boeing 737, the co-pilot is the king of the Netherlands.
Nowadays, stock markets can of course be found anywhere in the world. However, the first stock market in the world was opened in 1611 in Amsterdam. Even at that time, stocks and securities were already being traded. One of the best-known and largest companies of that time, the VOC, traded shares of the company in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam stock market is not only the oldest in the world but is also the largest stock market in Europe today.
Some of the most famous inventions in history were made by a Dutchman, including the microscope. Many people assume that it was invented by the Dutchman Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, but he has only discovered the production method for lenses with a magnification of 275x, whereas before it was a magnification of 30x.
It’s not entirely sure who the real inventor of the in 1608 invented microscope. One thing is for sure however, which is that it was a Dutchman, either Sacharias Jansen, Hans Lipperhey, or Jacob Metius.
All three gentlemen have claimed to have invented the microscope. However, Hans Lipperhey's patent application came in a few days earlier than the other gentlemen's application. This makes Hans Lipperhey the inventor of the microscope, on paper at least.
New York is perhaps the most famous city in the world, and also a city with a long history. In 1609, the current New York was discovered by a British-Dutch expedition of the VOC, led by explorer Henry Hudson (Hudson River named after him). The Dutch founded a colony named Nieuw-Nederland in this area. Eventually, in 1624, the settlement of New Amsterdam was founded on the site of present-day Manhattan.
During the war between the English and the Dutch in 1665, the Brits conquered New Amsterdam and named it New York. In today's New York, you can still encounter Dutch influences that have to do with the time when the Dutch were there. The Harlem district, for example, is named after the Dutch city of Haarlem, and Brooklyn is named after the Dutch town of Breukelen.
Of all babies born in the Netherlands, about 25% are born at home. This is quite remarkable, as women in the rest of Europe almost always deliver in hospital. The percentage of child deliveries at home in other western countries is way lower than the 25% in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a country that has been fighting against water for many centuries. However, the Dutch are real specialists when it comes to protecting themselves against the water. For instance, windmills were used to pump water out of polders. This way, the Netherlands managed to reclaim land from the water. In total, about 17% of the Netherlands has been reclaimed from the water.
Among other things, the Dutch Wadden Island of Texel is known for its sheep. In 1477 people were already writing about sheep on the island, and there’s even a breed of sheep named after the island. In fact, there are more sheep than people on Texel. The island is inhabited by 14,000 people, and therefore at least as many sheep.
Amsterdam is known worldwide for its beautiful canals running through the city. Because of these many canals, Amsterdam is the city that has the most canals in the Netherlands. The city of Amsterdam has 165 canals in total.
There were more in the past, but several canals have been filled in over the past 100 years in order to create more space for cars and street traffic. In total, around 70 canals have been filled in, which means that the total number of canals used to be much higher.
Click here to see more interesting Amsterdam canals facts.
Yearly, around 20 million tourists come to the Netherlands. Of course, many of these tourists don’t want to leave with empty hands, so they take nice souvenirs home to remind them of their visit to the Netherlands. A souvenir is often something that stands symbolic for a country. It therefore won’t surprise you when you hear about the most popular souvenirs that tourists buy in the Netherlands, namely: tiny windmills, clogs, and cheese.
Despite the Netherlands only being a small country with no more than 17 million inhabitants, their language is spoken worldwide by as much as 25 million people. The Dutch language is even the official language in eight different countries and is also spoken in certain regions of a minimum of three other countries.
The countries where Dutch is the official language are The Netherlands, Belgium, Aruba, Sint Maarten, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Suriname. Some of these countries do belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In addition, Dutch is still spoken in parts of Indonesia, Germany (only in the Lower Rhine region, only in dialect form), and France (in the region of French Flanders, only in dialect form).
The Netherlands is an independent country, but it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In addition to the Netherlands, three other countries that fall under the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. In addition, there are Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba, which are special municipalities and have a separate status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Since the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, it has a king and/or a queen. In the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander of Orange-Nassau is on the throne. On February 2, 2002, the current king married the Argentinian Máxima Zorreguieta. At that time, Willem-Alexander was not yet on the throne, which led Máxima Zorreguieta to receive the title of princess.
After Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne on April 30, 2013, she was succeeded by her son Willem-Alexander. With this succession to the throne, Máxima Zorreguieta became Queen of the Netherlands, and so the Netherlands had a queen with both Argentina and Dutch nationality.
The national anthem of the Netherlands is the Wilhelmus. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Wilhelmus is the oldest national anthem in the world. The lyrics of the Wilhelmus were written around 1570, though it was only announced as the official national anthem of the Netherlands in 1932.
The Wilhelmus comprises a total of 15 couplets, and the lyrics describe the life of Willem van Oranje-Nassau. This confirms once again how important Willem van Oranje-Nassau was for the Netherlands.
The Royal Dutch Airline (KLM) is the oldest airline in the world. This company was founded in the year 1919 and is closely followed by the Australian Qantas, which was founded in 1920. We are only talking about the airlines that still operate under their original name.
Abroad, the Netherlands is often referred to as Holland. However, this is not entirely true, as Holland is only two of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. You will find North Holland and South Holland on the west coast of the Netherlands.
The largest cities in the country are located in these two provinces, such as Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam. Although the Netherlands and Holland are in fact not quite the same, the term Holland refers to the entire country. This is also understood in this way, including by the Dutch themselves.
The Dutch are huge coffee drinkers. Each year, a Dutch person drinks an average of 8.4 kilos of coffee. During the week, an average of 4.2 cups of coffee a day is drunk, and on the weekend this is 3.9 cups of coffee a day. With these enormous amounts of coffee, the Netherlands is in the top 5 countries with the highest coffee consumption. It has to tolerate Finland (12 kilos per year) and Norway (9.9 kilos per year) being in front of them.
Despite the Netherlands being a small country it is divided into separate parts, and these we call provinces. The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces in total. These are: Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Zeeland, Noord-Brabant, Utrecht, Flevoland, Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland en Limburg.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the largest airport in the Netherlands, and in addition, belongs among the larger airports of Europe. Aside from Schiphol Airport, the Netherlands has four other airports where passenger planes land. These are: Rotterdam-The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht-Aachen Airport, en Groningen-Eelde Airport.
The capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, is among other things known for its many canals. This centuries-old city is one of the cities worldwide with the most water in and around the city. 800 years ago there was a marshy peat swamp on the site of what is now Amsterdam.
You can imagine that it’s difficult to build on this soggy surface. A solution was found, namely building on long poles in the ground. These wood and concrete posts can be up to 20 meters (65 feet) in length.
In total, there are many thousands of poles beneath the whole of Amsterdam. For example, the Palace on the Dam alone is supported by around 13.569 poles to prevent it from prolapsing.
Many people don’t immediately think of the Netherlands as a country with beautiful nature. But nothing could be further from the truth, because the Netherlands actually has a beautiful and varied nature. The country has 20 national parks, which is quite a lot for such a small country.
These parks are spread throughout the country, and there is even a national park on the Wadden island of Schiermonnikoog.
Some of the most famous national parks in the Netherlands are: De hoge Veluwe, Zuid-Kennemerland, De Biesbosch, Lauwersmeer, Utrechtse Heuvelrug, en De Maasduinen.
The Netherlands has been fighting against the water for many centuries. This is because around 26% of the Netherlands lies below sea level. To protect itself against water, the Netherlands has developed the best water management system in the world. Among other things, this consists of enormous distances of water-retaining dikes. There is a total distance of more than 17.691 kilometers (11.000 miles) of water-retaining dikes in the Netherlands!
Where in many countries around the world stray dogs are a huge problem, it’s totally not the case in the Netherlands. The Netherlands was even announced as the first country in the world without stray dogs.
The first step that was undertaken to combat the stray dog problem was to sterilize or castrate the stray dogs. In addition, the animals were vaccinated against diseases such as rabies. The legislation was also amended so that animals were entitled by law to a better life, and violation of these laws became punishable.
A real animal police was also established in the Netherlands, which acts in the event of animal abuse and tries to prevent animals from suffering. All this, together with good campaigns, has ultimately led to the fact that there are no more stray dogs in the Netherlands.
Despite the Dutch flag being red-white-blue, orange is the national color of the Netherlands. This is why on certain holidays or during specific events, many Dutch people wear orange clothes or put on a crazy orange wig. This of course happens during the matches of the Dutch football team, but also on April 27th, which is the king's birthday. On May 5th, many Dutch people dress in orange, because on this day they celebrate the liberation of the Germans during the Second World War.
MORE FACTS ABOUT THE NETHERLANDS!
Do you like facts? Then please check out our other articles with interesting facts about the Netherlands!
- 19 Interesting Dutch Windmill Facts (Fully Explained)
- 12 Best Amsterdam Canals Facts You Didn’t Know
- 45 Interesting Facts About Amsterdam (Fully Explained)
- 15 Interesting Facts About Dutch Food (Fully Explained)
- 38 Interesting Facts About Utrecht (Facts Fully Explained)
- 52 Amazing Facts About Rotterdam (Facts Fully Explained)
- 30 Facts About Sports In The Netherlands (Find Out Now)
I hope you found out more about the Netherlands through these 54 facts about the Netherlands. You’ve been able to read that, despite it being a small country, it’s an extremely interesting country. For instance, it’s made some important inventions, there are no stray dogs, they love the color orange, and there are thousands of kilometers of dikes.