So you have come to study in the Netherlands, and most likely it is your first time in this wonderful country. If you are anything like the typical international student who is eager to learn as much about their new surroundings, then you will enjoy reading through this list. Some things may be obvious, but others not! Here it goes:
10. The national color of the Netherlands is orange. Not blue, not red, but orange. The best display of this is usually on Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag ) , April 30th , when the country takes to the streets of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and all other cities, dressed in orange clothes. This is one of the greatest experiences of Dutch culture which celebrates the former Queen’s birthday. It is also another excuse to throw a street party and bring out the boats.
9. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. This means the political system consists of a monarch, acting as the head of state, with limited power over the constitution. On the other hand, the government has power over the state. Similar to that of the UK, the Netherlands has a Queen and a Prime Minister.
6. Cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands. Yes, that is right. One of the most common mistakes commonly made by non natives is to assume that Cannabis is legal. Non-residents of the Netherlands cannot become a member of a coffee shop and can therefore no longer use them. This will apply in the provinces Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland as of 1 May 2012 and in the rest of the Netherlands as of 1 January 2013. Information on the new members’ system are be available at the website www.new-rules.eu.
5. The Dutch East India Company, or in Dutch the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC, was the first company ever to be traded on the stock Exchange. Its headquarters were based in the heart Amsterdam, what is now the University of Amsterdam campus.
4. Two thirds of the Netherlands is below sea level and most of the country is very flat. As a result, there are approximately 18,000 km of dams and dikes to protect the land from flooding. This is the equivalent of the Great Wall of China. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Dutch are masters of water.
3. Apart from being the leaders in Hydrology, the Dutch also rank among the top in the fields of Engineering and Business.
2. The Dutch are the tallest people in Europe and perhaps in the world. Studies have shown this is possibly due to dietary aspects.
- Dutch Monarchy (koninklijkhuis.nl)
- The Royal House (koninklijkhuis.nl)
- Queen’s Day (studyinamsterdam.wordpress.com)
- Prime minister Mark Rutte (goverment.nl)
- New Amsterdam NYC (anthropologyinpractice.com)