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 (since 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 then 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 NATO, the EU and the 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 either a civil ceremony (by a local official at a town hall) or a wedding in a church or other location. Regardless of location, unions must be registered with the local town hall (gemeente) to be recognised as 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.
› The Dutch monarch's birthday has been an officially celebrated since 1898 (Queen Wilhelmina’s 18th birthday). Queen Juliana (1948-1980) changed the date to her own birthday (April 30) whereas Queen Beatrix (1980-2013) celebrated her birthday on April 30, despite the fact that she was born on January 31. King Willem-Alexander (2013-present) celebrates his birthday and King's Day (koningsdag) on April 27.
› Netherlands is the only country with a national dog.
› There was a time when the Spanish Inquisition condemned the entire nation of the 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
› Since January 1, 2014, one has to be aged 18 or older to purchase alcohol, cigarettes or soft drugs. Previously people 16 years and older could buy alcohol and cigarettes.
› As a rule, public consumption of soft drugs is unacceptable.
› Dutch police are not obliged to grant a phone call to those they detain.
› The Dutch were the first to officially recognise nationhood of the United States.