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NetherlandsNetherlands literally means "low countries" or "low lands" in Dutch, referring to the low elevation of the lands. In Dutch this originates from the words neder and land, giving the country its name in Dutch of Nederland.

Nederland / Nederlân

Introduction:

Historically, Dutch culture is based on freedom and independence and today these are values that the people continue to hold dearly to. For much of history the lands the Dutch people farmed were not organized politically and life was based on farming and basic trade. Life was about the lands and the people in each individual's town or community. Although much has changed since this time, the people still highly prize freedom, political freedom as well as each individual's freedoms.

Due to a lack of political control for much of history, the culture in the region became localized. There were outside influences, for example the people are ethnically and linguistically similar to the Germans, but for the most part the culture developed locally. This culture and lifestyle remained simple for years, based on farming, raising animals, and understanding the land, which the Dutch understand better than perhaps anyone else in the world as much of their country lies below sea level.

The colors of the Netherlands' flag represent those of William I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch revolt against Spain in the 1500s. Oddly, the red was originally orange, but since it often faded into a red over time, the orange was fully replaced by red. Today the Orange-Nassau family still rules over the Netherlands.

Name: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Independence: January 23, 1579;
    recognized January 30, 1648
Capital: Amsterdam
Currency: Euro
Population: 16,805,037 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Dutch
Language: Dutch & Frisian
Religion: Roman Catholic & Protestant

Once the region gained political organization, primarily from outside countries, the people used their open mindedness to advance their knowledge and expand themselves. It didn't take long for the Dutch to shift from a lifestyle based on the lands to one based on the seas as they became a world power as they established colonies in Asia, the Americas, and elsewhere.

The opening of the Dutch people to the world also introduced new ideas and cultural aspects to the Dutch. Many people willingly learned more and adopted many of these foreign introductions. This time also later encouraged the immigration of people to the Netherlands, particularly people from their former colonies. This made the country more diverse, but again the people readily accepted these differences and often encouraged new foods and ideas.

Today the Dutch remain a very welcoming society, but it's an openness that doesn't come with open arms; it's a welcoming attitude that accepts differences in beliefs, dress, languages, foods, and more. While the Dutch are very welcoming and accepting, they still strongly value their individual privacies and freedoms. It's rare to see the Dutch gather in large social outings or to unite in huge numbers (other than at speed skating events in the Winter Olympics), but they respect each other and each individual's personal lifestyle and beliefs. The Dutch rarely judge others and almost never brag about their own accomplishments or characteristics. They accept differences and expect you to do the same without judgment.

Learn More About the Netherlands:

The Land:
Geography WeatherWildlife

The Past:
History Architecture

The Food:
Food SpecialtiesDining EtiquetteDrinks

The Culture:
Way of Life EthnicityLanguage ReligionDress BehaviorIdentity

Map of the Netherlands:

Map of Netherlands

Information for the Netherlands was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks