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Nederland, THE LOW LANDS

Perseverance and Dutch engineering created much of the Netherlands of today. Influenced by north winds, tidal waters, and sand dunes, the Netherlands is an engineering marvel. A system of canals link waterways to the North Sea; dikes and dams hold back the sea to create more arable land and fresh-water lakes. Much of the Netherlands of today is at or below sea level.

The constitutional monarchy of the Netherlands is divided into 12 official provinces (4 regional divisions). Beginning in Amsterdam during our trip to Northwestern Europe, we explored three of the provinces of West Netherlands—North Holland, South Holland, Utrecht—and then traveled through Breda in North Brabant of South Netherlands on our way to Belgium.

Dutch Regions and Provinces 

Western Netherlands

North Holland

Amsterdam, Haarlem

South Holland

The Hague (Den Haag),

Utrecht

Flevoland

Eastern Netherlands

Overijssel

Gelderland

Northern Netherlands

Drenthe

Groningen

Friesland

Southern Netherlands

Zeeland

North Brabant

Limburg

Much of the Netherlands is navigable by alternative modes of transportation—train, tram, boat, ferry, bicycle, foot—which commonly eliminate the need for a car. Efficient, convenient, and well-operated Dutch trains travel between cities, while trams operate within the city. Most of our time, however, was spent traversing cities and villages on foot to take in the scenery.

As if caught in time, storybook postcard photos come to life. Ubiquitous bicycles cross picturesque canals; antique windmills dot ever-present waterways; colorful tulips cover fields in spring. Beyond its well-preserved history, we were struck by the Dutch progressive modernity. Known for its traditional characteristics, the Netherlands is also known for tolerance and innovation.

God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.

Dutch proverb

Basics

Know Before You Go


Dutch

official language

Euro €

currency

12

official regions

Amsterdam

capital

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