• The Netherlands has a population of just over 16.6 million people. Of these, some 790,000 live in the capital, Amsterdam, 620,000 in Rotterdam and 500,000 in Den Haag (The Hague). “Holland” comprises just two of the twelve Dutch provinces: Noord-Holland around Amsterdam, and Zuid-Holland around Rotterdam and Den Haag.

One-fifth of the Netherlands is made up of water. Without protection, two-thirds of the country would be regularly flooded. The lowest point in the Netherlands – at seven metres below sea level – is also Europe’s lowest point.

With 20 million bikes in the country – 1.25 for every inhabitant – the Netherlands has the highest level of bicycle usage in the world. However, one bike is stolen every minute of every day around the country.

The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy presided over by Queen Beatrix, who was crowned in 1980. The country’s bicameral parliament sits in Den Haag and comprises an Upper House or First Chamber of 150 directly elected deputies and a Lower House or Senate of 75 senators.

• Every year each Dutch person eats four kilos of Dutch liquorice or drop, which comes in a never-ending supply of sweet, salty and flavoured varieties. Often sold in pharmacies, it was once believed to have medicinal properties, and is as Dutch as tulips and clogs.

The Dutch concept of gezelligheid has no direct translation, but loosely speaking it means cosy, convivial or fun – and it’s the mission of Dutch folk to create a gezellig atmosphere or enjoy a gezellig time on most occasions.

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Netherlands features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Amsterdam

An expert's guide: the best area to stay in Amsterdam

Almost 50 years after John Lennon and Yoko Ono promoted world peace from room 702 of the Hilton, Amsterdam’s hotels are more worthy of the spotlight than ev…

26 Apr 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Leeuwarden: the coolest Dutch city you’ve never heard of

Leeuwarden: the coolest Dutch city you’ve never heard of

By nature of its design, there is something immutable about Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland in the Netherlands’ northwesternmost province. Hemmed in by h…

20 Feb 2018 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
7 Dutch cities to explore beyond Amsterdam

7 Dutch cities to explore beyond Amsterdam

Amsterdam — with its museums, gabled Golden Age houses and network of historic canals — is a sure bet for a weekend break. But it's not all the Netherlands…

20 Feb 2018 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
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