1 – The Dutch drink beer every Friday afternoon after work and whatever they do after having gulped more than just a pint is attributed to ‘Dutch courage’. Termed as post-work and pre-weekend session, it is an informal get-together wherein groups meet at a pre-determined location that may be a pub, bar or restaurant and consume this frothy golden liquid.
2 – More than a quarter of Netherlands is below sea-level but thankfully this country is located far away from the tsunami-prone areas of the world. However, the fact still remains that its lowest point is recorded at being 6.7 meters under the level of the sea and the famous Schiphol Airport is at 4.5 meters below the mark. The scary indication is that even the slightest tip in the aquatic world could prove to be disastrous for the beloved city of Amsterdam.
3 – Dutch people are the tallest in the world although there is still some confusion as to whether this attribute is genetic or due to nutrition and healthy food habits. Nevertheless, at 184 cm, meaning a little more than 6 feet, Dutch men tend to tower over men from all other nationalities and Dutch women enjoy the same privilege from a height of 170 cm or 5-feet-seven-inches.
4 – Netherlands is the most densely populated nation in Europe courtesy of its 487 citizens sharing a kilometer of land. This translates into more than a million inhabitants within the boundaries of this nation thus being the most densely populated in the continent.
5 – Amsterdam is built entirely on poles courtesy of the swampy soil that is composed mostly of fen and also of clay. To counter this quicksand effect, wooden poles as long as 11 meters were driven deep into the ground to serve as foundation for the buildings. Gradually, they were replaced by concrete poles that are more durable and need to be replaced less often. Some of the statistics in this regard are 13,659 wooden poles supporting the royal palace and as many as 6000 stilts holding up the Central Station.
6 – Raw herring might cause people living beyond the Schengen countries to feel squeamish but in Holland it is a delicacy for which people wait eagerly. When the herring is lifted from the North Sea from the month of May onwards it is immediately frozen and then laid amidst salt for the next few days, weeks or months for ripening. Having softened sufficiently, it is then served with onions and gherkins and eaten by picking up by its tail, dipping it in onions and sliding it into your mouth.
7 – Spice things up with an Indonesian rijsttafel which is an elaborate rice platter comprising of fish, meat and vegetables prepared as per the traditions of this colony and flavored liberally with a variety of herbs and other native ingredients. It is one of the aspects that survived the colonization as also the war and now finds a place in the menu of any multi-cuisine restaurant in the city.
8 – Tulips in form of never-ending multi-colored carpet have always served as pleasant representatives of Netherlands but did you know that these are not indigenous to this country? It was from Turkey that the first tulip bulbs were imported by the Dutch and as luck would have it they flourished in their new and adopted nation.
9 – The King and the Queen in Netherlands enjoy the privilege of having a day dedicated to their date of birth and while till 2013 it was celebrated as Queen’s day, in the year 2014 it will be celebrated as King’s day. For the Dutch it is day when every individual should be out on the streets dressed in orange and contributing to the large scale fun and revelry in whichever way they can.
10 – Dutch were slave traders and operated from the Amsterdam-based Dutch West India Company wherein they transported African slaves aboard slave ships that were fitted to suit this very purpose. Much of the trading took place on the portion of African coast which is presently marked as Ghana and the intention was to build manpower to work in sugar and coffee plantations.