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and meat), mashed potatoes and kale with sausage, pancakes (made from batter containing eggs, flour, and milk) and pea soup. Children are allowed to choose what they will eat on their birthdays often choose ‘patat’ (French fries) chips. Popular foreign dishes included Spaghetti Bolognese from Italy, Nasi Goring from Indonesia and Moussaka from Greece. The main course is often preceded by soup and followed by fruit, yoghurt or vla, a traditional milk-based dessert.

Interesting Facts about the Netherlands Area: 41.526 km 2 Population: (in 2003) 16.000.000 Capital: Amsterdam Seat of Government: The Hague Largest port: Rotterdam Official language: Dutch Currency: Euro Head of state: Queen Beatrix Flag: Three bars of red, white and blue Climate: The Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate, marked by mild winters with little frost, fairly cool summers, and a good deal of wind and rain (938, 8 mm a year). The average temperature in January is approximately 1 degree Celsius and in July it is approximately 8 degrees Celsius. The weather: The Dutch spend a lot of time talking about the weather. Many conversations begin with, “Nice weather, isn’t it?” If you want to strike up a conversation with a stranger, talk about the weather, you can’t go wrong. Many people complain about the weather, but most Dutch don’t like to live in another climate… Population: Size and com position Over 16 million people live in the Netherlands. With a population density of 472 people per km2 of land, the Netherlands is among the most densely populated countries in the world. The majority – 62 % - of the people is aged between 19 and 65, 25 % are under 19 years of age and 13 % are over 65.At the moment 28, 5 of the families in Holland do not have children, 17 % of the families have 1 child, 23.5 % of the families have 2 children and only 14 % of the families have 3 or more children. Religions: People in the Netherlands are free to choose whether or not they wish to adhere to a particular religious faith or denomination. Some 30 % of the population is Roman Catholic, 25 % are Protestant, and 38 % have no religious affiliation. Representatives of other major world religious include Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Buddhists. To the Dutch a person’s religion is not very important. What the Dutch do find important is living an honest live, taking each other into account, being fair, and so on. But to the Dutch these qualities are entirely separate from God and religion. Food and beverage: The Dutch eat three meals a day: breakfast (between 07.00– 08.00), lunch (between 12.00 – 13.00) and dinner (between 18.00 – 19.00). Breakfast and lunch often consist of bread with cheese, cold meat, ‘hagelslag’ (chocolate sprinkles) or jam, usually accompanied with milk, tea and coffee. Typically Dutch dishes included hutspot (a mixture of hashed potatoes, carrots, onions

Language: Dutch is the mother tongue of over 21 million Dutch and Flemish (Belgium) people. This places it in the middle category of languages, about 30th in the world league table. Dutch is also spoken in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, particularly in schools and official circles. Many people in Holland speak reasonable English and /or German. Constitution: Kingdom Queen Beatrix is the head of state of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The Kingdom is a Hereditary Monarchy. If the monarch dies or abdicates, the oldest child succeeds to the throne, regardless of whether it is a son or a daughter. If the monarch has no children, the throne descends to his/her oldest brother and sister. In the nearby future it will be King Willem Alexander (eldest son of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus) and Princes Maxima. Provinces and Municipalities: The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, North Holland, South Holland, Zeeland, North Brabant, Limburg and Flevoland. Each province has a council that is elected every four years by the residents of the municipality. The Queen and the Government jointly appoint the heads of provincial Government – the Queens commissioners – and of municipal Government, the mayors (burgomasters). Currency: From 1 Jan 2002 the currency is the Euro! (Before this was the Dutch guilder: DFL 2, 20= 1 euro) Euro Coins: 1,2,5,10,20 and 50 euro cents and 1 and 2 euro Euro Banknotes: 5,10,20,50,100,200 and 500 euro Arts and Cultural life: Cultural and artistic life in the Netherlands is rich and varied. The country boasts orchestras, opera, theatre and ballet companies and numerous cabaret performers. The Government takes measures of various kinds to make the arts and cultural activity accessible to the public at large, for example by organizing exhibitions and subsidizing admission to museums and theatres. The Cultural Youth passport is available to young people up to the age of 26, and entitles them to reductions on the price of admission to theatres, cinemas and museums, the cost of compact discs, travel and on subscriptions to periodicals and libraries. It is valid in some 20 other European countries that operate similar schemes. National Holidays: New Year: Eastern Queens Birthday Commemoration of the dead: Liberation Day: Ascension: Whitsun: ‘Sinterklaas’: Christmas:

January 1st From Good Friday until Monday April 30th May 4th May 5th Thursday in May Monday in May/June December 5th December 25th, 26th


“Sinterklaas” is an important Dutch holiday. It is celebrated every year on December 5th. On “Sinterklaas” the Dutch people give presents to each other, often accompanied by a short rhyme. “Zwarte Piet” (Black Peter) is a black attendant of St. Nickolas. In the weeks before Sinterklaas children make up a wish list. On the list they write down what they would like to receive. Sinterklaas is also celebrated with all the Au pairs. Travel Active organizes this where one of our colleagues is dressed up as Sinterklaas! Transport: Every child in Holland learns to cycle. And nearly everyone carries on doing so for almost the rest of their lives. The bicycle is thus an excellent means of transport for getting to work or for visiting friends and relatives. But it is also practically suitable for leisure use, whether for a day, a weekend or a whole holiday. It is a way in which young and old can get around with very little trouble. Holland is very “bicycle friendly”, there are practically no hills. A bridge or dune is the only kind of climb that you will come across in the west of the country. Wherever possible the Dutch have laid out separate cycle tracks, properly paved or asphalt, in this way motorized vehicles will not bother the cyclists. Trains, bus, tram and subwa y: The Netherlands can be reached by train perfectly well. Train Infrastructure is very dense. Modern trains Connect different regions in the country and you should ask at the railway station which ticket you should buy. There is a range of possibilities one can choose among (sometimes adolescents can travel cheaper than adults can); regional buses can bring you to almost city or village in the Netherlands. The tickets you need to enter a bus can best be brought at the post office or bookshop (“strippenkaart”). There you can buy the ticket for less money than in the bus itself. In Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Den Haag, they have trams and at the 2 first mentioned cities, there is also the possibility to travel by subway/metro/underground. Some Dutch words: Hello Good afternoon Good afternoon Good evening How are you doing? My name is? Thank you Please Have a nice meal Cheers Excuse me Open/ closed No entry A cup of coffee/tea Service including And VAT I would like to order May I have the bill please How much is it? I do not know/understand I do not speak Dutch Could you please tell me..? Sleep well See you later One, two, three, four Five, six, seven Eight, nine, ten, Monday Tuesday Wednesy Thursday

Hallo Goedemorgen Goedemiddag Goedenavond Hoe gaat het met je? Ik Heet? Dank je Alsjeblieft Eet smakelijk Proost Neemt u mij kwalijik open/gesloten verboden toegang Een kopje koffie/thee Inclusief bediening en BTW Ik zou graag willen bestellen Magi k even afrekenen Wat kost dit? Ik weet/begrijp het nie Ik spreek geen Nederlands Kunt u mij vertellen? Welterusten Tot ziens Een,teww,drie,vier vijf,zes,zeven acht,negen,tien maandag dinsdag woensdag donderdag

Friday Saturday Sunday What Where Pharmacy Hospital Doctor Post Office Bus stop Tram Stop Railway station

vfijdag zaterdag zondag wat /waar apotheek ziekenhuis dokter postkantoor bushalte tramhalter station

See how Afrikaans is so similar!

Did you know that..........

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"The Netherlands" and "Holland" are used to describe the same country. One quarter of the Netherlands is below sea level. The Netherlands has approximately 480 inhabitants per square kilometre.

The Netherlands was one of the European Union's founding nations.

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The Netherlands has at least 15,000 km of cycle tracks.

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The Dutch are the tallest people in Europe.

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The Netherlands is the world's eighth largest exporter.

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People of 200 nationalities live in Amsterdam.

When Dutch schoolchildren pass their exams, they hang a Dutch flag and a school bag outside their homes. There are around 16 million bicycles in Holland, which supposedly means one for every inhabitant.

The Netherlands still has about 1,000 traditional working windmills. Amsterdam is entirely built on piles. Almost every Dutch person has a bicycle and there are twice as many bikes as cars. The Netherlands' highest point is 323 metres high and is therefore called a " mountain". The Netherlands has one of the youngest populations in the EU.


Holland Info Pack