About The Netherlands

The Netherlands has something of a reputation for being a neat and orderly place.

After spending only a few days in the country, it is not difficult to see why: the streets are clean, everything works (most of the time) and it is easy to travel around.

The Dutch are also known for their tolerance. Walk through the red light district of Amsterdam or venture into the cloying air of one of the country’s many coffee shops and you’ll soon start to notice this.

However, you should remember that such apparent tolerance is tempered with a deeper sense of pragmatism.

Many Dutch are acutely embarrassed about the reputation they have as a sexually‐liberal drug‐using nation. Most of the people that you see paying for sex or taking drugs will, in actual fact, be foreigners.

When people refer to the Netherlands’ penchant for liberalism, the Dutch simply grin and bear it, because they know that it’s better to have things out in the open, where they can have full control, rather than sweeping everything under the carpet. As you will quickly find once you step into this country, there is a great deal more to be found than sex and drugs.

The Dutch are famous for their dedication to work and their high‐level of productivity. But living in the Netherlands does not have to mean a stressful life. Its dreamy canals, bike‐clogged streets and fairy‐tale villages take one away from all the hustle‐and‐bustle of working life.

Because there are few hills, and because of the serenity of the countryside, the Netherlands is ideal cycling country.

Windmills are a prominent feature of the landscape, many of which are now open to the public. Some are still in operation.

The country is also widely associated with tulips, which start to bloom in the Spring and throw the entire country into an orgy of colour.

Clogs, that other internationally‐recognised symbol of Dutchness, are also to be found all over the Netherlands — but usually only in tourist shops. They have had their day as footwear of choice, swept away by synthetic alternatives. Still, you may find the occasional farmer in more rural areas availing of them. They have not yet died a complete death.

The Netherlands is also famous for its art and architecture. Most large towns lay claim to at least one world‐renowned painter, many of whose works are displayed in the local galleries.