The dike in the picture, in the province Zuid-Holland, is one of the many thousands of sea or river barriers, 90% of which have a road on it. The very first dam in Holland was built by the Romans, the oldest dike dates from the 1st century A.D.

Some dikes are not visible; you might be walking on a dike and not know it, like the busiest street in the center of Dordrecht, the '
Voorstraat'.

Some 25% of the surface of Holland is beneath sea level.
And probably the healthiest too... The Dutch just love to eat them, covered with fresh cut onions. Especially in the first week of June, when the ´New herring´ arrives traditionally in the old town of Scheveningen.

The consumption of herring is subdued under strict regulations; the fish must contain at least 16% of fat and needs to be deepfrozen for at least 24 hours before consumption, to ensure that all bacteria have died.
Shocking Blue was a rockband from the city of The Hague (Dutch: 'Den Haag') founded by Robbie van Leeuwen in 1967, and was hugely popular in Holland.

In 1969 the song '
Venus' was released, written by van Leeuwen (seen on the far left) and reached the number 1 status in the USA as well as in other countries.

Although the song was popular in Holland, the song only reached number 3 in the Dutch charts.

After their success in the USA the members of the band were decorated as '
honorary citizens'
of The Hague.
The flower is one of Holland's most important exporting commodities. Most of the flowers come from greenhouses. The floriculture consists mainly of flower bulbs, cutflowers, pot plants and flower bed plants.

Germany is the largest importer of Dutch flowers, followed by England, France, Italy, Belgium and Russia. The flower industry yielded more than € 5,000,000,000 in 2013.
SOFT DRUGS ARE TOLERATED IN HOLLAND, NOT LEGAL !
When in Rome...pass the Dutchie !
Contrary to popular belief any use, trading, possession or producing any kind of soft drugs in Holland is forbidden by law. However, if you are smoking a joint, the police will tolerate it.

Possession of a maximum of 5 grams of soft drugs, intended for
personal use, is also tolerated, not legal. This tolerance policy does not apply for hard drugs !

The so-called '
Coffee-shops' are allowed (under very strict regulations) to sell soft drugs, such as weet and hash.
HOLLAND HAS A TOTAL OF 23,000 KILOMETERS OF DIKES
HERRING IS ONE OF THE DUTCH'S FAVORITE SNACKS
A recently published scientific paper explains why the Dutch grew so fast since 1860, while other peoples stabilised their growth spurt.

A combination of a healthy diet and good medical care helped them to grow tall. Taller men have more offspring, so it is believed that genes play a significant part in the process of growing.
THE ONLY DUTCH BAND TO SCORE A NUMBER 1 HIT IN THE USA
Shocking Blue
On April 1, 2001, the first same-sex marriage between three male couples and one female couple was performed by former mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen.

Press from all over the world were present to cover this milestone.
Same-sex marriage
HOLLAND WAS THE FIRST COUNTRY TO LEGALISE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES
With over 800 museums to choose from, Holland offers a comprehensive insight in culture, art, fashion, architecture and science, in both history and future.

The most important and most visited museum is the 'Rijksmuseum', home of Rembrandt's masterpiece, '
The Nightwatch'.
With a total population of more than 17 million people, every Dutchman has one or more bicycles on average. Dutch love to bike and no wonder...it is practical, especially in crowded cities and it's fun too.

Children learn to bike at very young ages; biking is considered a part of growing up in a Dutch family.

Holland has thousands of kilometers of biking roads in all cities, towns and villages as well as thousands of touristic routes.
THERE ARE MORE THAN 18 MILLION BIKES IN HOLLAND
Clogs are traditional footwear worn by farmers and industry workers. They are rugged, waterproof and prevent the user from injury.

The clog has been replaced by the steel-toe boot, but many farmers still wear them in the field and even off the field.

Clog making is done mostly in factories but there are still small companies in Holland producing them by cutting them out of a solid log of wood.
AND YES...CLOGS ARE STILL USED TODAY
Dikes keep Holland dry...
Another very popular treat (and not just with children) is the 'Stroopwafel' which is basically a caramellike filling sandwiched between two layers of baked dough.

The main ingredients are flour, butter, brown sugar, yeast, milk and eggs. If you're counting calories, do some extra Jumping Jacks later.

Eat them while they're still warm !
ANOTHER SNACK THE DUTCH LOVE...
Syrup waffel or Stroopwafel
The Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman named it 'New Holland' in 1644, but it was never claimed to be Dutch; not by the Dutch government nor by the Dutch East India Company.

It was James Cook who claimed the territory English in 1770.

The name New Holland was used in general until the 1850's.
New Holland
TERRA AUSTRALIS
The Dutch parliament decided in 1917 that women should have the right to be chosen for public office and adjusted the constitution accordingly.

In 1919 it was decided that women also should have full suffrage.

In 1922 women were able to make use of this new right to vote.
WOMEN GET TO VOTE IN HOLLAND
Woman Suffrage
'Gouda' is the most famous and most popular cheese from Holland. The country produces more than 600 million kilos of cheese of which some 500 million kilo's are exported, mostly to Germany, Belgium and France.

On average, the Dutch eat around 15 kilos of cheese every year.
CHEESE IS AN IMPORTANT EXPORT COMMODITY
Gouda
Wood engravings, wood cuts and lithographs, based on mathematical principles were Escher's specialty. He had a strong preference for impossible compositions and studies of infinity.

In the 1960's his work became extremely popular as '
Popart' in the hippie and rock scene. One of his quotes about this: "I constantly stroll in riddles. Young people come up to me and say: You make popart too. I have no idea what that is. I do this for 30 years already".
Maurits Cornelis Escher
The population density of Holland is around 408 people per km², making it one of the crowdiest countries worldwide, second to the UK (June 2016).

The largest concentration of people is in the so-called '
Randstad', an area consisting of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht and its surrounding area's.

More than 7 million people live and work there. It is one of the largest conurbations in Europe.
Some Scandinavian countries and Germany consume this kind of candy too, but the Dutch are really fond of drop (licorice). Almost 80% of Holland's population admits to eat it every now and then.

On average, the Dutch eat two kilograms of drop per year !

There is an overwhelming variety of the candy in shapes and colors. Flavors are sweet or salt and there's even an 'extra salt' variety for the real diehards. Watch your blood pressure !
HOLLAND's MOST POPULAR CANDY
Drop
The village of 'Philippine' on Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is a must for the real mussel eaters. Lots of mussel restaurants can be found here and the quality is excellent. Don't miss this delicious sea fruit of the province Zeeland.

Or...do it yourself. Cook them in some wok oil with lots of garlic and herbs of your choice for 10 minutes, while stirring them up. Enjoy !
Mosselen
The country known as 'Holland' or 'The Netherlands', is officially called 'The Kingdom of The Netherlands'.

It includes the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire in the Caribbean, which are 'special municipalities'.

Former colonies Curaçao and Aruba (shown above) now have self-rule.
A croquet or kroket is one the most loved snacks in Holland but its origin is most probably French.

The snack is basically a ragoût of flower, stock, spices and cut small meat, covered with a panade of breadcrums. After deep frying, the snack is served with mayonnaise or mustard.

The filling consists usually of meat but cheese, mashed potato or even vegetables are used.
THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS
THE 'CROQUET' IS A VERY POPULAR SNACK.
Kroket
'Nieuwe haring'
The average Dutchman stands over 6 foot tall
Holland is the place to visit museums
Biking in Holland is fun !
The Dutch and their wooden shoes
OVERPOPULATED HOLLAND
Holland is a crowded country
Holland can be very hot !
MUSSELS ARE A DELIGHT !
LOVELY
HOLLAND
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