Holland, land of the windmills
My own interest in Holland goes far back. My father had visited the country already in 1947, and I have many of his fascinating black and white photos from that time neatly set up in a fine album with precise data and place and date, also people on the journey and purpose of everything. Dutch friends later stated that it was very early to travel to Holland after the war. Everything was just opened after the winning parties’ negotiations after the war, and they told about the country’s fate during the war, which was much harder than say Denmark. Fortunately, Amsterdam was saved completely during World War II.
Later it was my interest in art history that pulled me towards Rembrandt and the museums, and soon after or at the same time growing interest in Dutch football with absolutely festive trips to Amsterdam; we said hello then the soccer star in Europe of the age, Michael Laudrup, who had crowned days at Ajax Amsterdam. Holland is central Europe and you get close access to Germany as a bonus and certainly also Belgium.
Holland’s struggle against the elements began early
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth except for the Netherlands, for the Netherlands created the Dutch themselves” is a comprehensive expression to describe the country’s struggle against the sea. Amsterdam emerged as a fishing village around 1125, when the fishermen built the house at the mouth of the Amstel river, the river that would give today’s Amsterdam its name.
At a time when we feel and fear the carelessness and consequences of climate change, the Dutch have benefited from long-standing expertise in handling the sea in the lowlands of the Netherlands. Dikes and houses on piles as houseboats are just the beginning of that story. Today, this know-how is a treasured export item.
The Netherlands is mostly 6 meters below sea level
More than half of the Netherlands is about six meters below sea level, and more than 20% of the land area is land created from the former sea bottom by draining. These drained areas are called boilers. The polder (lowland) was created by the use of drainage mills, which were invented in 1414. Around 1450, many of the 10,000 water and wind turbines that characterized the landscape were found in the southwestern coast belt. Water and wind turbines are allegedly introduced in the Netherlands around the time of the crusades in the Middle East, so the Netherlands itself is unique in terms of the multifunctional use of wind turbines. The industrial revolution meant the end of the use of wind turbines. As early as 1923, the number of wind turbines had fallen to 3000, and today only 900 turbines are left.
The tolerant Holland
The Netherlands has always been a tolerant country. The Netherlands welcomed Portuguese Jews, French Huguenots and Flemish Protestants when they were oppressed in their respective countries. The refugees have greatly contributed to Holland’s economic development, which already flourished in the 17th century, known as the Golden Century. Then came the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602 and the Dutch West India Company in 1921. During this period the culture flourished with masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Jan Steen.
Tulips, one of the world’s first speculative investments
Tulips describe the color of the Dutch landscape each spring and tulips were introduced in the country by botanist Carolus Clusius in 1593 when he imported plants from the Ottoman Empire to the Hortus Botanicus (Botanical Garden) in Leiden. The Dutch tulip mania began back in 1620 when investors paid for rare tulip bulbs with their weight in gold, which forced the prices up until the market collapsed in 1636. Today, Holland’s exports are 6,500 million tulip bulbs annually, generating more than 400 million the year. Every spring, about 1.5 million tourists from all over the world come to the Tulip district to experience thriving tulips.
Say Gouda: The second major Dutch export product cheese
The Dutch are also large and recognized cheese producers. The story goes back to the Middle Ages when the official dairy and market markets opened. In these places, both the quality and the weight of the cheese were sharply controlled. Edam port alone exported a million pounds of cheese in 1649. This cheese came from producers in the provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Friesland, and Utrecht.
The Dutch cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Maastricht can present a unique picture of the country. Amsterdam, the capital of the country, is the economic center of the country and is known for its concentric channel system. The Hague is home to the royal family and the Dutch government and parliament. Maastricht, Holland’s oldest town and located in the Limburg hills, among Roman ruins and caves.
The Netherlands must be experienced from a bicycle saddle
There is something for everyone to see in Holland. Visit the many museums, go cycling through the tulip fields, sail along the Dutch waterway and sleep in a palace hotel. And remember All Dutch speak good English and are very friendly.
Thanks to the Dutch Tourist Office for inspiration, Much more about the Netherlands to come!
Briefly about Holland
Country code: +31
Area: 41,543 km²
Population: 17.02 million (2016) World Bank
Official languages: Dutch, Papiamento, Frisian
Currencies: Euro, US Dollars
Visit Holland and Belgium
- Holland on Traveltalk: Travelfacts
- Amsterdam, a roadtrip and a bike ride, all in one
- Extraordinary hotels in Holland and around the world
- Official Dutch travel website
- Bruxelles and Belgium
- New trends and things to see in hot Berlin
- Visit Belgium
- Brussels in Belgium, best food, best beer, best?