Facts and Figures
Imagine coming to a Dutch university and you’re already able to tell some fun facts about the Netherlands during conversation, as if you’ve been living here for years. To help you achieve this goal, we’ll give you some statistical information about the Netherlands.
First of all, what’s the difference between Netherlands and Holland? People seem to use both at random, but officially the country’s called The Netherlands. The people and the language, however, are called Dutch in English. During the Dutch golden age in the seventeenth century, the province of Holland was the largest and wealthiest of part of the country and therefore most represented throughout the world, so in many other languages Holland became a synonym for the Netherlands.
Today, Dutch is also spoken in Belgium, northern France, Suriname, The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The regions south of the border have a common heritage, but were not included in the Dutch country originating in the 16h century. The other areas are a legacy of Dutch colonial adventures. Just like in South Africa, where the Afrikaner language is very closely related to Dutch and both are mutually understandable.
The country itself is almost 34.000 square Kilometres and inhabited by 16.681.772 people. That’s over 400 people per square kilometre on average. Probably because of the healthy sea air life expectancy for males is 78,5 years and for females 82,7. People in The Netherlands are on average 1.85m, making them the tallest people in the world. The ones who are above average often experience difficulty fitting in smaller cars, maybe that’s why so many people travel by bike. There are twice as many bikes in the Netherlands as cars, almost 18 million of them, because almost every single person owns at least one. To accommodate this over 15.000 Kilometres of bike lanes can be found in The Netherlands.
Traditionally the country’s been split into two religious groups, Protestant and Catholic, although today 42% of the people define themselves as non-religious. Together with the old and with new religions like Islam, there is a diverse religious atmosphere in the Netherlands. Religion is deemed a personal affair, so if you come to the Netherlands you might not encounter it a lot it in the public sphere. But if you choose so, there are plenty of possibilities to be religiously active. For example, there are several Christian student associations.
Where do you think the largest minority in the Netherlands is originally from? Currently there are over 190 nationalities living in The Netherlands, so don’t be afraid to stand out in the crowd when you come here! Unless you’re visiting the countryside. Standing out is also geographically made difficult because the country is flat as far as the eye can see. Only in the southeast of the country there is a slight extension above the rest of the landscape. The highest point is 322,7 metres above sea level, which the Dutch call a mountain. Yes, really.
Bron foto: http://www.jvw.nl