Learning about Dutch culture and people will help you get to know the country and its people. Although the Netherlands is small in size, the Netherlands has a rich cultural tradition. The Kingdom of The Netherlands consists of the Netherlands itself and the six islands of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The country’s official name is Nederland which means ‘country of low land’, because most of the land is at or below water level. The Netherlands is also known as ‘Holland’, a name referring to the two provinces located on the west coast, North and South Holland which were the most developed and richest parts of the 17th century.
Over the decades, the country’s historical ties to the rest of the world have led many foreigners living in the Netherlands to bring some ideas and cultures of their own. This made the Netherlands in general an open-minded and tolerant nation. Dutch society is now home to more than 190 different nations. Despite Dutch being the national language, most people also speak English and often other foreign languages such as German or French. Another characteristic of the Dutch is their openness and straightforward demeanor. You can speak plainly, Dutch people are not easily offended.
There’s a lot to see in the Netherlands, whether it’s walking through the city, taking a boat trip on a canal or lake, relaxing on the beach or walking through forests and dunes. Many major international music stars regularly perform at stadiums and smaller venues in the Netherlands. Musical and theater performances are also very popular and the Netherlands has more than 1,000 museums to explore. And don’t be surprised if lots of people wear orange shirts and party in the streets on Kings Day or during international football championships.
The Dutch don’t have a gourmet culture, and hot meals are limited to once a day, usually in the afternoon. Breakfast is generally provided in the form of bread with cheese, cold sliced meat and/or jam. Most people eat sandwiches for lunch, sometimes with soup or salad. Dinner is usually a mix of potatoes and vegetables with meat or fish. However, Dutch flavors have become more international and refined. You will find a wide variety of products in supermarkets and many restaurants offer a wide variety of international cuisine.