Did you know that
› Words such as "dollar" and "Yankee" have Dutch roots - just like 4,5 million Americans.
› Same-sex marriage and euthanasia are legal (2001 and 2002 respectively).
Photo by Flickr user -Marlith-
› Prostitution is considered legal as long as prostitutes are at least 18 and clients at least 16 years old.
› Only coffee shops are allowed to sell soft drugs. Citizens can grow their own though.
› Orange carrots were bred in the Netherlands in the 16th century in honor of the house of Orange. Before they were white, yellow, black, purple or red.
› Although the Dutch language is taught at more than 250 universities worldwide, in the province of Friesland, locals speak Frisian, their own language.
› The Netherlands is a founding member of the NATO, EU and OECD.
› Royal House members have to acquire an official approval by the parliament in order to get married. If not, they lose the right to succeed to the throne.
› A Dutch wedding can consist of both a civil (by a local official) and a church wedding. Nevertheless, a church ceremony alone does not constitute a legal marriage in the Netherlands.
› The Homomonument in Amsterdam is the world’s first public memorial to persecuted gays and lesbians.
› Around 9% of marriages in the Netherlands are same-sex.
› Every New Year’s Eve, fireworks worth around 65 million euros are consumed.
› The Dutch healthcare system is (considered) one the best in the world. In fact, it has been proposed as a model for the United States to emulate.
› May 4th is the day when Dutch victims of war are remembered and at 8pm, a two-minute silence is observed nationally.
› Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) has been an officially celebrated since 1898 (Queen Wilhelmina’s 18th birthday). However, Queen Juliana changed the date to her own birthday (30 April) and Queen Beatrix, the current monarch, celebrates her birthday on April 30th despite the fact that she was born on January 31st.
› Netherlands is the only country with a national dog.
› There was a time when the Spanish Inquisition condemned the entire Netherlands to death for heresy.
› Sinterklaas and Santa Claus are not the same person! Sinterklaas, his white horse and his helpers (Zwarte Pieten or Black Petes) arrive from the south of Spain on a steamboat.
Photo by Nicolas St
› One has to be over 16 to purchase alcohol (18 for spirits) and / or buy cigarettes (18 for coffee shops).
› As a rule, public consumption of soft drugs is unacceptable.
› Dutch police are not obliged to grant a phone call to those they detain.
› Dutch were the first to officially recognise nationhood of the United States.