* Irene's Country Corner * - Around the World - Netherlands


© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic.


© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic. 



© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic.

"The Netherlands, also known unofficially as Holland, is a constitutional monarchy of northwestern Europe, bordered on the north and west by the North Sea, on the east by Germany, and on the south by Belgium. The country covers 41,526 square kilometers. With Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands forms the Low, or Benelux, Countries.

The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, islands in the Caribbean, are part of The Netherlands.

The European portion of The Netherlands has a total area of 41,526 sq km (16,033 sq mi), of which 33,939 sq km (13,104 sq mi) is land surface. The country is since 1813 a kingdom and it is ruled by a queen. The country's capital and largest city is Amsterdam.

© Irene. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic.

The name the Netherlands refers to the low-lying nature of the country (nether means low). Its highest point is the Vaalserberg hill in the south east, which reaches 321 meters above sea level. Many areas in the north and west, constituting more than 25% of the total area of the country, are below sea level. The lowest point near Rotterdam is some 6.7 meters below sea level. The name Holland is frequently used instead of the Netherlands, but it actually refers to the two Western coastal provinces, North and South Holland, which have played an important role in the country's history.

The Netherlands has been plagued by flooding throughout its history and the Dutch have had to fight a constant battle against the sea, culminating in the Zuyder Zee and Delta Projects. Thanks to the sea, however, the fishing industry and trade have flourished, and the fact that the Netherlands is situated on the estuaries of three major Western European rivers, the Rhine, the Maas and the Scheldt, has greatly enhanced its position as a trading country.

© Lalla. Not for download.

More than 25% of the area of the Netherlands is below sea level, so an effective system of water control is needed to keep the land dry and habitable for the many people 60% of the population that live in these low lying areas. Sea water can, however, flood the land via estuaries and inlets and as a result of infiltration, and an excess of melt and rainwater in Central Europe can cause the great rivers to burst their banks. Modern pumping stations work day and night to drain off excess water.

The Netherlands currently has a population of over 15 million inhabitants. The country covers a total area of 41,526 square kilometers. As this figure not only includes land but also rivers, canals and lakes, each square kilometer accommodates an average of 449 people, making the Netherlands one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

The most densely populated area is the Randstad conurbation in the west of the country, which centres around the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

The national currency was the Dutch Guilder, which was previously known as the florin (FL) until the beginning of 2002, now it is the Euro. Twelve Member States of the European Union are participating in the common currency. They are: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland."

The Netherlands, together with Switzerland and France, is one of my favorite countries in Europe. I have some very dear Dutch friends that I made since 1998 and I hope to return to the country one day and meet them again.

 Use the menu below to know about some of the places I visited and see some of the many pictures I took during my visit to the Netherlands.





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This page was created on: February 28, 2002.
Last updated on: December 8, 2008.

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Midi: Tulips from Amsterdan Laura's Midi Heaven. Information about the Netherlands from Encarta &. Royal Netherlands Embassy.
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