Seven interesting facts about the Netherlands that might surprise you


Let’s explore them!

The Netherlands is one of the most famous and well-recognised countries in the world – and that goes without saying. The Netherlands is also very well known to Poles – after all, hundreds of thousands of our compatriots reside permanently or temporarily in the country of tulips and windmills. Few people realise, however, that the Netherlands, apart from its well-known symbols or people, has many much less well-known phenomena and facts. In this article, we take a closer look at what we believe are the 7 most interesting ones. Enjoy your reading!

Interesting fact #1: the most popular delicacy in the Netherlands is… liquorice

It will certainly come as a surprise to many readers, but the most loved delicacy in the Netherlands is liquorice. For everyday consumption, it is usually produced in the form of candies or jellies, which are simply adored by people in the Netherlands. It is worth mentioning that the root of this plant has been known in this country for generations. This is because it has many healing properties and has been used in natural medicine for centuries, especially to treat respiratory diseases.

Although it comes in many varieties, liquorice is most commonly consumed in four variants – a mix of sweet and salty with the hard and soft types. Generally speaking, however, the liquorice flavour can be described as bittersweet, yet gently tingling on the tongue. The popularity of liquorice is surprising given that many people find its taste simply… not very appealing. The Dutch, however, have taken a liking to this delicacy and lead the world in its consumption (on average, the Dutch eat as much as 4 kilograms per person per year). Outside the Netherlands, however, it does not get as much attention – which is why it is a kind of curiosity and a unique phenomenon.

Interesting fact #2: The Netherlands has a very rich alcohol tradition

Few people also realise that the Dutch, perceived as a relatively calm and composed nation, have… one of the most interesting alcoholic traditions in the whole of Europe. First of all, we should point out that it was in the Netherlands that the internationally popular gin was invented back in the 16th century. It was created by, surprise, surprise… a doctor! Sylvius de Bouve, the man in question, produced the first juniper strain called jenever almost five hundred years ago, which is considered to be the first beverage that most closely resembles today’s gin. He obviously created it for medicinal purposes – the juniper berries from which the mixture was created have healing properties for treating fever, as well as many diseases of the internal organs. Mixed with grain spirit, however, juniper oil became so popular that it was massively bought out of pharmacies. Recognising a business opportunity, the Bols family decided to mass-produce the drink for the first time – though no longer as a medicine, but as alcohol.

In addition to the production and popularisation of the gin, the Netherlands also has a rich history in the context of other spirits, mainly beers. Indeed, to this day, the Netherlands exports the second-largest number of beers worldwide. Many popular brands of this drink also originate from the land of windmills – such as the famous Grolsch or Heineken, beers that can be found in almost every shop, including in Poland.

Interesting fact #3: The Netherlands is well known for the popularity of bicycles

Exactly right – the bicycle is as popular here as cars are in our country. There are as many as five million (!) more bikes here than there are inhabitants, which shows how popular they are in the Netherlands. This gives an average of 1.3 bicycles per inhabitant – there are 22 million bikes here and only 17 million citizens.

Such a great interest in bicycles was bound to meet with an adequate response from the local authorities – the Netherlands is a true paradise for cyclists with as many as 37,000 kilometres of cycle paths. In addition, on average, every Dutch citizen cycles 3 kilometres every day, which is the best result in Europe. This brings us to another interesting fact about the Netherlands…

Interesting fact #4: The Dutch are one of the most physically fit nations in Europe

Given that the Dutch spend so much time cycling, it should come as no surprise that they are one of the most fit nations in Europe. As many as more than half (56%) of the Dutch do some form of physical activity at least once a week. Considering the average of all European countries, which is only 40% of those who engage in physical activity, this places the Netherlands in a really high position. This, of course, has consequences in other areas of life too – the Dutch are one of the healthiest nations globally.

Interesting fact #5: The Netherlands is a country full of unusual architectural and design solutions

Another interesting fact is that architecture and design in the Netherlands can surprise on many levels. For example, the whole of Amsterdam is built on wooden poles, due to the sinking bogs. These wooden pillars give the buildings stability and resistance to landslides.

Another architectural curiosity is that there are as many as 1,281 bridges in the Netherlands – one of the highest number in Europe. What’s more, it can be considered a design curiosity that hardly any flat in the Netherlands will have curtains or drapes. The nation is well-known for its openness, resulting precisely in transparent window space.

Interesting fact #6: The Netherlands is not only a country of windmills, but also of… tulips

Our list of the most inspiring interesting facts about the Netherlands could not, of course, fail to mention the Netherlands’ most popular flower, the… tulip. Alongside its association with the plant, this country is home to the largest flower park in the world, which is mainly composed of… tulips, naturally. Keukenhof, the garden in question, is a 32-hectare garden that is open for several months each spring. This one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the Netherlands is now more than 50 years old and continues to attract tourists from all over the world. It really is worth seeing!

Interesting fact #7: the Netherlands is home to as many as… 1,000 windmills

We simply could not fail to mention perhaps the most interesting symbol of the Netherlands, the… windmills. Today, there are about 1,000 of them left and they continue to impress tourists from all over the globe. There are two types of windmills: drainage windmills and industrial windmills. Due to the waterlogged terrain, the windmills were used to drain the soil so that the flooded areas could be inhabited.

Windmills have been known in the Netherlands for centuries. It was not until the steam engine that they began to be replaced by newer machines. It is interesting to note that, to this day, many brand names, products, streets, and places have the term “windmill” in their root word, so the symbol will certainly remain in the memory of the Dutch for many years to come.

We have presented above what we think are the 7 most interesting facts about the Netherlands. Do you know any inspiring stories related to the Netherlands? Share them in the comments or on our social media!