10 interesting facts about the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a weird and wonderful country and there are countless fun facts to be told. To keep it short and sweet, here are 10 interesting facts about the Netherlands which you can use to impress your friends. They may even help you out during your next quiz’s trivia round.
1. More than a quarter of the Netherlands is under sea level
The Netherlands is a low-lying country, 26 percent of which is actually below sea level. At it’s lowest point, Nieuwekerk aan den IJssel, the Netherlands is 6,7 metres below sea level. A further 50 percent of the land in the Netherlands is only one metre above sea level.
2. The Delta works are also known as the eighth wonder of the world
During the floods of 1953, more than 150.000 hectares of land flooded and 1.865 people lost their lives. It was a disaster and it spurred on the creation of the Delta works, a collection of dams, sluices, locks, dykes, levees and storm surge barriers which are the reason why the Netherlands is not under water.
3. The Dutch consume the most liquorice in the world
The Dutch can’t get enough of drop a.k.a. liquorice, with shops selling over 80 different kinds and Dutch people consuming two kilos per person per year. That’s around 32.000.000 kilos per year!
4. Even adults eat sprinkles on toast for breakfast
Don’t be surprised if you see fully-grown people eating sprinkles on toast for breakfast or lunch. The Dutch call these sprinkles hagelslag and 14.000.000 kilos are consumed each year.
5. The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. The first same-sex marriage ceremony was carried out on April 1 of that year and many same-sex couples have since tied the knot.
6. Dutch people are the tallest in the world
In the Netherlands, Dutch men are on average 1.84 metres and women are 1.70 metres, making them the tallest people in the world. Many people have posed theories as to why the Dutch people are so tall, however the reason behind their height is still inconclusive.
7. The Dutch airline KLM is the oldest in the world
Founded in 1919, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the oldest airline in the world. The first KLM flight was captained by pilot Jerry Shaw in 1920 and flew from London to Schiphol.
8. The Dutch own more bicycles per person than any other country in the world
Cycling in the Netherlands is essential if you want to get about efficiently. Not to mention that it is very healthy for you to do so. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Dutch own the most bicycles per person than any other country in the world. On average, every person has 1,3 bicycles. Of course, in reality, 84 percent of the Dutch own all the bicycles, meaning that many have two at their disposal.
9. A pub in Groningen, The Drie Gezusters, is the largest pub in all of Europe
The Drie Gezusters (Three Sisters) pub situated in Groningen is the largest pub in the whole of Europe and is a national heritage site.
10. Amsterdam is built on more than a million piles
The soil in Amsterdam is too soft to support a building. The foundations of buildings, such as houses in Amsterdam, are thus supported by wooden piles, which go 12 metres into the ground. For larger buildings the piles extend further into the ground and anchor at around 20 to 50 metres deep. Nowadays, concrete or steel piles are used in construction.