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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
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
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:
Map of the Netherlands: