Population | 16,783,092 (July 2010 est.)
Area | 41,526 SQ KM
Official Language | Dutch, Frisian
Holidays | Queen's Day (Birthday of deceased Queen-Mother JULIANA and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX), 30 April (1909 and 1980)
Currency | euros (EUR)
Time Zone | UTC +1
Best Time to Visit | April to September (spring and summer)
Connecting with the Culture | Exploring the many neighborhoods of Amsterdam, from red-light and bohemian to stately grandeur. Visiting Hoge Veluwe, the country’s largest national park, which also houses works by Van Gogh, Picasso, and Mondriaan in the Kroller-Muller Museum. Wandering around the tunnels of Maastricht’s western outskirts.
Read | The Diary of Anne Frank, a moving journal that describes her life in hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.
Listen | to Tiesto, the undisputed trancemeister
Watch | Stromenlied (Song of the Rivers) by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens
Eat |stamppot (potatoes mashed with kale, endive or sauerkraut and served with smoked sausage or strips of pork)
Drink | Heineken beer
In a Word | Een pils/bier, alstublieft (A beer, please)
Characteristics | Bikes; windmills; clogs; tulips; red-light district; pot smoking
Surprises | Dutch ovens were invented in Pennsylvania; the Dutch are the tallest people in the world.
NEWS ABOUT THE NETHERLANDS:
Dutch Government Collapses
(HN, 4/23/12) - The Dutch government appears on the verge of collapse following the breakdown of proposed budget cut talks, opening the way to early elections in the Netherlands; 1 of the most stable EU member countries. PM Mark Rutte was expected to offer his resignation at a meeting with Queen Beatrix today. Rutte heads a minority center-right coalition government that has relied on populist politician Geert Wilder's right wing Freedom Party for support in parliament, who this weekend refused to agree to budget cuts of up to 16 billion euros aimed at bringing the public-spending deficit in line with EU rules. For each of the past 35 years, the Netherlands has surpassed the UN target of spending at least 0.7% of its national income on international development aid making the Netherlands the 6th largest donor in the world giving USD 6.35 billion in 2010. (Read more at Radio Free Europe)