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Introduction to The Netherlands

Girl on bike

Beautiful. Cultured. Open-Minded. Innovative. Those are just a few words we’d use to describe the Netherlands, but here’s everything you need to know this charming little country :

International Mindset

As a trading nation, the Netherlands has long been globally oriented. Rotterdam still boats the 2nd largest port in the world and many international business have their headquarters in Dutch cities. Studying in the Netherlands means coming into contact with a multicultural community and thousands of international students. The Netherlands has two official languages, Dutch and Frisian. Dutch is the more common language in the Netherlands, while Frisian is mainly spoken in the northern province of Friesland. Most citizens are also fairly fluent in English. This is thanks to the Netherlands being a highly multicultural society with an English-oriented media and a good level of language education in high schools.

Culture of Gezelligheid

Dutch culture is welcoming, honest and open. The Dutch word gezellig is an integral part of this culture and one of the most important words you’ll need to know to understand what it means to be Dutch. There is no direct translation of gezellig into English, but it encompasses everything from the cosy and convivial atmosphere of a place to a sociable meet-up. Gezellig can refer to a person, but also a specific place or the general atmosphere of a gathering.

Dutch Academia

The academic year in the Netherlands is split into two semesters and generally runs from September to the end of June. Our institutions have a student-centred teaching approach. This approach encourages students to contribute more during class discussions, to consider the wider implications of the course material and value each individual’s perspective based on their personal background.

Ten Things You Should Know About The Netherlands:

  1. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy and has a public holiday called Kings Day, which is celebrated on 27 April.
  2. The national colour of the Netherlands is orange, after the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange-Nassau.
  3. While Amsterdam is the country’s capital, the government is situated in The Hague.
  4. The country has more bikes than people, with some 22 million bikes for only 17 million people.
  5. The Dutch have been making cheese since 400 AD and are the biggest exporters of cheese with a dairy industry worth €7 billion.
  6. Tulips are known to be Dutch, and the Netherlands is the world’s biggest exporter of tulips, but the flower actually originates from Turkey.
  7. Approximately 6 million souvenir clogs are produced in the country every year Gin was invented in the Netherlands in the 16th century as jenever and originally used for medicinal purposes.
  8. About 60% of the country’s population lives below sea level.
  9. At 4.5 meters below sea level, Schiphol airport is the world’s lowest-lying airport
Last modified:27 February 2019 11.57 a.m.