Fun Facts About Holland
Want to know some interesting information about Holland? Read on and enjoy our fun facts and trivia, perfect to know before you visit!
Did you know?
Why are The Netherlands also known as Holland?
When the country Nederland came into existence, Holland was one of the provinces that joined the new country. Netherlands is often referred to as Holland but it is important to be aware that Holland and the Netherlands are not two names for the same Country, but rather that Holland makes up two Provinces which together make up the region: Noord Holland and Zuid Holland, out of twelve provinces in the Country Netherlands. Despite this, the Netherlands are commonly called Holland in English.
The Cat and The Cradle Fairytale
Kinderdijk, located 15 miles east of Rotterdam, is a UNESCO-listed site that has 19 pristinely preserved windmills. The windmills were erected in the 1600s to drain the Alblasserwaard polders, which had suffered floods since the 13th century. One such flood, the Saint Elizabeth Flood of 1421, is both the source of the name Kinderdijk and of the associated fairy tale, "The Cat and the Cradle": after the storm, a wooden cradle was spotted on the flood waters, in which a cat jumped to and fro to keep the cradle afloat. When the cradle approached the dry land of the dike, the locals discovered a baby inside - hence the name Kinderdijk, Dutch for "children's dike".
During the Winter months Sinterklaas, also known as Saint Nicholas, arrives each year in mid-November with his helpers, all referred to as 'Zwarte Piet’ (Black Peter) on a steam boat filled with gifts. For Dutch children, this means they can put their shoe next to the chimney or back door. At night, Sinterklaas rides across the rooftops on his white horse, Amerigo, and places little treats or gifts in the children's shoes, assisted by his helpers, the Black Peters. Traditionally, the sweets are gingerbread men, spiced biscuits, marzipan and chocolate letters. If visiting Holland during this festive time you can buy these sweets at any supermarket or bakery.
Cheese is an important part of the Dutch diet. They produce Gouda (which is named after the Dutch city of Gouda, not because it is produced in or near the city, but because it has historically been traded there); Edam (named after the town of Edam in the province of North Holland); Leerdammer (which is produced in Schoonrewoerd in the municipality of Leerdam, the city which gave Leerdammer its name) and many other cheeses.
More facts about the Netherlands:
- Many of the world's tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers are exported from the Netherlands.
- The Dutch have a saying: "God made the Earth, but the Dutch made Holland." The North Sea would have washed away the Netherlands if the Dutch had not erected defences to protect their land. Over the centuries, the Dutch have built series of canals, dams, dikes, and pumping stations to keep the sea and rivers back.
- Today more than 1,491 miles (2,400 kilometres) of dikes shield the low, flat land—almost half of which lies below sea level—from the North Sea. Without the existing dikes 65 percent of the country would be flooded daily.
- Wooden windmills helped to drain water from the land for over 600 years. Today there are other sources of flood control and sources of power. The Dutch plan to have 10 percent of the country’s energy needs supplied by renewable energy, including wind turbines, by 2020.
- Many of the residents ride bicycles for transportation in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and other cities. There are three times as many bicycles as there are cars in the Netherlands.
- The Dutch are on average the tallest people in the world. Men are six feet tall (182.5cm) and women are 5 feet 7 inches (170.5cm). Researchers point to a healthy diet and good medical care as the main factors that lead to a tall population.
- The Netherlands is a republic with a constitutional monarchy. The Dutch monarchy dates back to Prince William of Orange in the 16th century. King Willem-Alexander has been the reigning monarch of the Netherlands since April 2013, when his mother Princess Beatrix abdicated in his favour after 33 years as Queen.
- The Dutch love to play football, although as yet the Netherlands have not won the World Cup. They have, however, been runners-up in 1974, 1978 and 2010, making them the ninth most successful team in the tournement's history. The Netherlands won the UEFA European Championship in 1988.
- Before the Euro was instated, Dutch money (known as the Guilder) had its own style. It was very colourful and also almost all the pictures depicted on the notes were of things and not people. The only note to have a person on it was the 1000 guilder note.
- Dutch wooden clog shoes are called klompen and are made of willow.