Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia? We Find Out

October 31, 2020

Almost anyone in the world knows the Netherlands. For such a small country, it has a pretty big name globally. However, there are still people who don’t exactly know where it is located. For example, many people think that the Netherlands is part of Scandinavia. As a Dutchman, I of course know where the Netherlands is, but I can understand that this is not the case for everyone. That is why in this blog I am going to explain to you exactly where the Netherlands is located, to which countries it belongs, and of course whether it is part of Scandinavia.

The Netherlands is not part of Scandinavia but belongs to the low countries. The low countries consist of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxemburg, collectively they are known as Benelux. Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

In this blog, I will explain what the Low Countries are, and which countries are part of it. You will also find out about the biggest similarities between the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

The Netherlands Belongs to the Low Countries

As you have been able to read above, the Netherlands is not part of Scandinavia – but rather the Low Countries. The Low Countries is just like Scandinavia a collective name for a couple of countries located within the same area.

The Low Countries are a collective name for a few countries and regions that are located in the coastal areas of North-Europe. Another term that is often used to address these countries is Benelux.

The Benelux consists of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg (Be-Ne-Lux). However, small parts of West-Germany and the North of France are also originally part of the low countries.

To find out more about the origin of the term Low Countries, we have to go back to the 15th century. During this time the country borders looked very different from today, with some countries also having another name than nowadays. To make clear which area the people were meaning, a collective name was invented. It made it easier for people to understand what area was being spoken of.

At the time, the name Low Countries meant the low-lying piece of land between West-Germany and the North of France. This area had always been important because of the large rivers flowing through. Throughout the centuries, this piece of land was owned by several countries.

Nowadays, you don’t hear the term Low Countries often anymore in the Netherlands. Instead, people usually say Benelux.

Besides the fact that many people think that the Netherlands is part of Scandinavia, many people also think that the Netherlands is part of Germany. To find out more about that topic, check out the following article.

Which Countries Belong to the Low Countries?

The Low Countries is a collective name for the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg. Below you will find a short description of the countries that are part of the Low Countries.

The Netherlands:

Capital: Amsterdam

Language: Dutch

Population: 17.440.679 (August 2020)

The Netherlands is situated in the North West of Europa, next to the North Sea. It is a country with a long and rich history. The Netherlands is worldwide known for its cheese, clogs, mills, Red light district, Amsterdam, painters, and dikes.

The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. In August 2020 the inhabitant count was: 17.440.679. Besides this, the Netherlands is also one of the largest trading countries in the world, with the Rotterdam harbor as its figurehead.

The Netherlands is very loved by tourists. In 2019 more than 20 million foreign tourists visited the Netherlands. The rich and interesting history of the Netherlands ensures that there are many tourist attractions in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands:

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia - Pic #5

Famous tourist attractions in the Netherlands:

  • Zaanse Schans
  • Kinderdijk
  • Red light district
  • Canals of Amsterdam
  • Anne Frank Museum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Keukenhof
  • Delta works
  • Giethoorn

As mentioned before, the Netherlands has much to offer for tourists. There are enough reasons to pay a visit to the Netherlands.

Belgium:

Capital: Brussels

Language: Dutch, French

Population: 11.492.641 (January 2020)

Belgium is a kingdom situated in the West of Europe. It is surrounded by the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Luxemburg. Belgium consists of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part, and Wallonia, where they speak French.

Belgium is independent since 1830, when it separated from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The capital of Belgium is home to the NAVO and the European Union. Even though it is a relatively small country with a low number of inhabitants, it plays an important role within Europe.

Just like the Netherlands, Belgium also plays a big part in the worldwide trade route. The harbor of Antwerp is after Rotterdam the largest harbor of Europe.

Belgium is also a favorite of foreign tourists. In 2018 more than 17.5 million people visited the country. If you are into good food, history, and great beers. You should really pay a visit to Belgium.

Famous tourist attractions in Belgium:

  • Caves of Han
  • Atomium in Brussels
  • The market in Brussels
  • City of Brugge
  • City of Gent
  • Durbuy

Paying a visit to Belgium is absolutely worth it. Stroll through the beautiful cities during the day, and end the evening with a delicious Belgian beer.

Atomium in Brussels:

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia - Pic #3

Luxemburg:

Capital: Luxemburg

Language: Luxemburgs, French, German

Population: 628.381 (July 2020)

Luxemburg lies in the North West of Europe and is surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany. After Malta, Luxemburg is the smallest country within the European Union. Hence the reason why in July 2020 the country counted a total of only 628.381 inhabitants.

Despite this, Luxemburg is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In the past, it was mainly known for its steel sector, but nowadays it is famous for its banking. Because of its favorable tax system, the country is very popular with international companies. This made the economy grow enormously, leading to a much higher average income than in Belgium or the Netherlands. Outside the capital city, the country does not have many large cities.

Famous tourist attractions in Luxemburg:

  • National hiking trail "Valley of the Seven Castles"
  • Château de Clervaux
  • Chemin de la Corniche
  • Casemates du Bock
  • Vallée de la Pétrusse
  • Vianden castle

Even though Luxemburg is one of the smallest countries in the European Union, it has a lot to offer for tourists. When you are a fan of big castles, Luxemburg is definitely worth paying a visit. If you are a nature lover Luxemburg is also a great place to visit.

What is the Distance Between the Netherlands and Scandinavia?

The shortest distance from the Netherlands to the border of Scandinavia is 600 km (372 miles). That’s when you enter the border of Denmark, the nearest Scandinavian country to the Netherlands.

But Scandinavia consists of more countries, of course, namely Norway, Sweden, and Finland. In order to travel from Denmark to one of the other three Scandinavian countries, you have to cross the sea.

The North Sea lies between Denmark and Sweden. Another sea, the Baltic Sea, lies between Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

This makes it somewhat difficult to travel from the Netherlands to one of these three countries. Of course, the easiest and fastest way is by plane. You fly from Amsterdam to Norway in just 2 hours. There are two ways to make the journey by car, in case you would want to do that.

You can travel across the bridge between Denmark and Sweden to Norway. The total distance of this journey is 1344 km (835 miles). To shorten the travel time and the number of kilometers, many people choose to travel by boat. It departures from both Denmark and Germany.

The bridge between Denmark and Sweden (Øresundsbron bridge):

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia

It is a little easier to travel from the Netherlands to Sweden than to Norway. This is because of the bridge connection between Denmark and Sweden. If you travel from Amsterdam to Sweden over the bridge, the total distance is 823 km (511 miles). When you go from the Netherlands by plane, you arrive in Sweden only one and a half hours later.

To travel from the Netherlands to Finland is the most difficult of all. Most people who travel by car choose to first cross the bridge between Denmark and Sweden and drive to Stockholm. From there, a boat departure to Helsinki – the capital of Finland. The total distance of this journey is 1955 km (1214 miles).

Because Finland and Sweden are only connected at the top, it is an enormous detour to drive there. In addition, you would have to deal with the extreme weather conditions in the northern parts of these countries.

Of course, the easiest and fastest way to travel from the Netherlands to Finland is by plane. From Amsterdam, you are in Finland in two and a half hours.

So, it all depends on how long you want the journey to one of these Scandinavian countries to be. When time is not your concern, it is advised to travel by car. You will be able to enjoy the magnificent nature of Scandinavia during your car drive.

Similarities between the Netherlands and Scandinavia

Because the Scandinavian countries cover such a large area, not all of them have as many similarities with the Netherlands. In fact, only Denmark seems to have a lot of similarities with the Netherlands. This is not strange, as Denmark is the closest to the Netherlands, and has known many similar influences throughout the centuries.

Below you will find the similarities between the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries. As mentioned, the Netherlands and Denmark clearly have the most similarities.

Similarities between the Netherlands and Denmark:

Landscape:

One of the major similarities between the Netherlands and Denmark is the landscape. Even though Denmark is considerably larger than the Netherlands, both countries are very flat. The Netherlands wins here, as their highest point is only 320 (1049 ft) meters – compared to Denmark’s highest point of 170 meters (557 ft).

Because of the flat landscape and the many pastures with cows, the Netherlands and Denmark are quite similar when it comes to the landscape.

Landscape picture of Denmark:

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia - Pic #2

People:

In regards to their features, the Dutch and Danish people are quite similar. They both share the same types of humor and their closed attitude towards strangers also matches. When it comes to their physical features, the Dutch and Danish people also look quite like one another. A Dutch person would not immediately stand out in a group of Danish people.

Cities:

Danish cities can feel quite Dutch. Their architecture looks very similar, as well as the way the cities are built.

Transport:

Just like in the Netherlands, public transport is arranged very well in Denmark. There are many train and bus connections. Bus transport in Denmark is cheaper than traveling by train. There are also many ferry connections between the different small islands.

Some other similarities between The Netherlands and Denmark:

  • Denmark is a kingdom as well
  • The climate is quite similar
  • Languages have some similarities
  • Both countries are surrounded by the North Sea

Similarities between the Netherlands and Sweden

Ikea:

This is of course a bit lame, but it is probably one of the biggest similarities with the Netherlands. This company, with its Swedish origin, can be found all over the world – including the Netherlands.

Language:

The Swedish and Dutch languages differ quite a lot from each other. Even so, a Dutch person watching a Swedish movie may still be able to pick out some words that sound quite similar to the Dutch words. The reason for this is that in the 17th century many Swedish words were based on the Dutch language. As a result, you can still hear this today in the Swedish language.

City of Göteborg:

This Swedish city was founded in 1621. At the time this city was being built, the Swedish King called in help from the Netherlands. This is why Göteborg shows many similarities with the Dutch cities. So many in fact, that the second major of Göteborg was a Dutchman, named Jakob van Dijck.

Street view of Göteborg:

Göteborg

Some other similarities between The Netherlands and Sweden:

  • Sweden is a kingdom as well
  • A lot of German people studying or visiting

Similarities between the Netherlands and Norway

Where a lot of similarities can be found between the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, it is not the case for Norway. The distance between the Netherlands and Norway lies further away than between the Netherlands and Denmark and Sweden.

It is because of this distance that the countries perhaps have not been in contact with each other throughout the centuries, and have shared less of the same influences.

Conclusion:

By reading this blog, it has hopefully become clear that the Netherlands is not part of Scandinavia. You also found out what exactly the Low Countries are, and which countries are part of it. Lastly, you also discovered what the biggest similarities are between the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.

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Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

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