If you are planning a trip to the Netherlands, make sure you get to know the country a little bit more by reading these facts about the Netherlands and the Dutch culture!

The Dutch culture

1. Most cities feature some beautiful canals

Think about the big cities Amsterdam and Utrecht: those cities have some beautiful canals and those canals are very photogenic!

2. It does not always rain in our country

When people think of the Netherlands, they mostly think about rain and bad weather. I have to admit that we get a lot of rain through the year, but we simply live in four seasons per year. That means that in spring and summer the weather is better and there is less rain then in fall and winter.

3. Amsterdam is our capital city

Well, who does not know that? But it is a fact: Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and therefore it is the most touristic and crowded city of the Netherlands. However, this city does not completely feature the country. There are so many other beautiful places in the Netherlands to visit and those places can be very different from Amsterdam.

Amsterdam - Dutch culture
Photo by Colton Jones on Unsplash

4. We celebrate Kingsday every year in the Dutch culture

Our national feast is on the 27th of April, namely Kingsday. Every year we nationally celebrate the King’s birthday in the Dutch culture. At this day, everyone is dressed in orange (our national colour) and are partying in all kinds of cities around the Netherlands. Everywhere on the streets you can find bars, music, dj’s and people having fun.

5. We have some very nice places to go to the beach

In the West side of the Netherlands, you can find the North Sea. In summer, it is nice to spend a day or a few days at the beach. Examples of places to go are Scheveningen, Texel, Cadzand, Vlissingen and Zandvoort.

6. ‘Poffertjes’ is a popular meal in the Netherlands

Poffertjes are like mini pancakes. It is a sweet pastry dish which mostly is eaten with powdered sugar. If you are a fan of pancakes, you should definitely try poffertjes when you are visiting the Netherlands!

7. You can still find a lot of mansions through the Netherlands

And those mansions are really pretty and photogenic.

8. We love to bike to actually anywhere

Sometimes you would see even more bicycles than cars riding around. The Netherlands is the bicycle capital of the world with more than 18 million in the country. Furthermore, there are specially-designated bike paths (fietspaden) all over the country, which makes it extra safe (as well for foreigners) to bike around the country. It’s absolutely a big part of the Dutch culture.

Bike in Amsterdam - Dutch culture
Photo by Carina Baumgartner on Unsplash

9. We often eat chocolate sprinkles on bread as breakfast or lunch

Yeah, it just tastes really good!

10. We have low lands and wind mills

The Netherlands is well-known for her low lands and wind mills, which is absolutely true we have it. The Netherlands is still the historic windmill capital of the world with over 1.000 vertical mills still in working condition. Furthermore, the highest point in the Netherlands, Vaalserberg, is only 323 meters above sea level.

11. We rarely wear clogs in the modern, Dutch culture

The clogs used to be popular in the Dutch culture back in the days as industrial footwear worn by farmers, fisherman, factory workers and others to protect their feet from injury and keep them dry. Nowadays, we actually rarely wear them. When you go to the Netherlands, do not expect people to walk on clogs, because you will not see them. However, you can still spot and buy them in several souvenir shops.

Photo by Smit Patel on Unsplash

12. The famous beer brand Heineken comes from the Netherlands

The Dutch brewer Heineken is the third largest beer brewer in the world with over 140 breweries in over 70 countries. In the Netherlands, it owns around 50 percent of the Dutch beer market. You can do ‘the Heineken Experience’ in the very first brewery of Heineken (in Amsterdam). Here you’ll get an interactive tour around the dynamic world of the beer brand.

13. Raw herring with onions is a popular meal in the Dutch culture

You have to love (raw) fish for it, but the herring with chopped raw onions is a national dish in the Netherlands. Personally I love it and it is definitely worth the try when you are visiting the Netherlands.

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash

14. There is a huge difference between West and East

The people are slightly different and you go from big cities to more nature and less touristic cities. The East is also definitely worth the visit when going to the Netherlands. You will meet a whole new side of the country.

15. Not everyone smokes weed or uses other drugs

Coffee shops and drugs are mostly popular under the tourists who visit the Netherlands, because soft drugs are legal in our country. However, foreigners may think every Dutch person uses drugs, but this is absolutely not true. There are many people who do not do drugs or even never tried it.

16. Every year at New Year’s day lots of people do the ‘Nieuwjaarsduik’

In many cities around the Netherlands people do the ‘Nieuwjaarsduik’ at the first of January each year. This means that people who would like to join can enter this event whereby everyone will be doing a dive in the water.

Tullips - Dutch culture
Photo by Lisette Verwoerd on Unsplash

17. You can eat ‘bitterballen’

Another typical Dutch dish! You can compare it with the croquette a little bit: it is a savoury meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal, beef broth, butter, flour for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper, resulting in a thick roux. We eat it a lot as a snack, combined with a glass of wine or beer.

18. Tulips are the Netherlands’ most famous flower

Thousands of people come each year to Haarlem (foreigners and Dutch people) to see the beautiful tulip fields as they grow. Popular fields are the Flower Parade and Keukenhof park. There are over 1.500 varieties and 80% of the world’s tulips come from the Netherlands. However, the tulip is not native to the Netherlands. It was imported from Turkey in the 16th century.

19. We celebrate the Gay pride

Every year the Gay pride takes place in Amsterdam. This is a huge celebration of devotion towards equality for the gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex communities. The Netherlands was the first country where same-sex marriage became legal, namely since 2001. This year the Gay Pride will take place from 23 July till 7 August (2016). The Canal Parade and street parties will take place from 5 till 7 August (2016).

Photo by Robin Ooode on Unsplash

20. ‘Stroopwafels’ is a Dutch delicacy

Another delicious Dutch snack, is the stroopwafel. This is a waffle, made from two think layers of baked dough, with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. You should definitely give it a try when visiting the Netherlands!

21. Not only Dutch is an official language

There is one province in the Netherlands where most of the inhabitants can speak another language, namely Friesland. Here they can speak Fryslân, which is also an official language in the Netherlands. However, there are more Dutch who can speak English than Fryslân.

22. Most of the Dutch people can speak English

Going on by the last point, approximately 87 percent of the Dutch people can speak English. This is very nice when it comes to foreigners who would like to visit the Netherlands. There would be no problem to communicate with the local people. Also, 66 percent of the Dutch people can speak German.

Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile on Unsplash

23. The Netherlands and Holland are not the same

A lot of people (even Dutch people) think Holland is the same as the Netherlands, but this is not true. The Netherlands stands for our country, while Hollands stands for the western coastal region of the Netherlands, comprising the provinces North-Holland and South-Holland.

24. Gin (Jenever) was invented in the Netherlands

Gin was invented in the 16th century. It was originally used for medicinal purposes.

25. In July there is the ‘Vierdaagse’ in Nijmegen

Every year the event ‘Nijmeegse Vierdaagse’ take place in the Dutch city Nijmegen. This is a walking performance ride where each year 42.000 walkers participate in. The event take place for four days and people are walking either 30, 40 or 50 kilometers a day. The route differs each day and take place in and around the city Nijmegen. This year the 100st Nijmeegse Vierdaagse take place from 19 till 22 July (2016).

26. We drink a lot of coffee in the Dutch culture

Furthermore, coffee actually is Dutch. The Dutch introduced coffee to Europe in the 16th century. Nowadays, we drink approximately three cups of coffee per day per person.

Photo by Jordan Nix on Unsplash

27. Dutch people eat the most liquorice per year

An average of two kilograms of drop or Dutch salty-sweet liquorice is consumed by each person per year with over 80 typical kinds of liquorice available to choose from. Personally I am fan of the salty ones.

28. We have a lot of famous DJ’s in the Dutch culture

Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Afrojack, Hardwell and Martin Garrix are all examples of internationally famous dj’s.

29. And also other international famous people

Artists like Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh are still internationally famous.

30. The Netherlands is a big cheese producer

The Netherlands is the largest exporter of cheese in the world with a dairy industry turning over around seven billion euros. Furthermore, cheese markets where farmers’ cheeses have been weighed, tasted and prices for the past 300 years still exist in Woerden and Gouda. It’s one of the most important parts of the Dutch culture.


Are you ready for your trip to the Netherlands? If you’d like to know anything else about the Dutch culture, please drop your questions below in the comment section.

Author: Tamara

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11 Replies to “30 facts about the Netherlands & Dutch culture”

  1. I LOVE THE NETHERLANDS!!! Thank you for clarifying between Holland and the Netherlands. Good to know 😉 One thing I love about the Dutch was that you all are so proud of your culture. I stumbled upon an amazing ‘poffertjes’ shop near the Heineken brewery near a carousel. I still dream about it sometimes. I didn’t know you guys actually put sprinkles on your toast! And stroopwaffels are my favorite cookies! I always make it a priority to get a few in Schipol whenever I have a layover there. Haha all food related comments but maybe thats what I loved about The Netherlands the most.

  2. Love this list! I have Dutch friends here in Doha and they’ve talked about all the dishes you mentioned specially the herring and how one would eat it. I’ve always thought what is the correct name to call the country, thanks to this post I now know it’s Netherlands. :p

  3. I love learning more about a country! Especially things that debunk myths about a place. I’m from Texas, and I debunk SO many Texas myths all the time! 🙂

  4. Great post! It’s funny the thing about “The Netherlands” vs. “Holland” – I was taught that the country was called “The Netherlands” and then always confused when people referred to it as “Holland”. Good to know I have been right all along ha ha. The one time I visited Amsterdam, I went to the Heinken museum and loved the tour. It is a lot of fun for anyone who enjoys beer!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, you’re absolutely right! The same thing with people thinking our official language is German, because they call it ‘Deutsch’ en our official language is Dutch, so it really looks alike, haha.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful country. I hope to make it there one day, well beyond the airport!! I want to try some of that food, especially anything that involves chocolate and sprinkles!

    1. Chocolate always is a good idea! We have all kinds of chocolate, but the chocolate sprinkles are typical Dutch. We don’t eat it just like this, but eat it in combination with bread or biscuit :-).

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