The Netherlands is a country that is part (of a constituent country) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Most of it is in Western Europe, but there are also some parts in the Caribbean. More than 17 million people live there. To the north and west of the European part of the Netherlands is the North Sea, and to the east is Germany and to the south is Belgium. The Netherlands is one of the countries that started the European Union. People who live in the Netherlands are called “Dutch”. The language of the Netherlands is also called Dutch. The official capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam. However, the government is located in The Hague.
“The Netherlands” means “the low lands”. The land only rises, on average, 1 meter above sea level. One third of the land is below sea level. The Netherlands is also – incorrectly – referred to as Holland. Holland was a very rich area (two provinces) in the western part of the Netherlands, thus causing people to be mistaken. Some people who do not live in the western part of the Netherlands do not like it when people call the country Holland. The name “Holland” originates from the old Dutch words “Holt land” which means “wood lands”.
The Netherlands is beautiful to visit throughout the year. Every season has its own mood and charm. In spring, the flower bulb fields are blooming and visiting the Keukenhof is a must! In summer, you can enjoy the sun and sea on one of the gorgeous beaches along the Dutch coast. Fall is the time to discover beautiful nature on the bicycle and, of course, eat venison at one of the excellent restaurants in the Netherlands. Winter in the Netherlands is really ‘gezellig’ (pleasant). Go Christmas shopping at one of the Christmas markets or ‘tie on the irons’ to go ice skating.