Due to different reasons, the Netherlands has been known by many names over the past millennium. Since the late 16th century, the country has been renamed around six times changing from the Seventeen Provinces, to the Dutch Republic, to the Batavian Republic, to the Batavian Commonwealth, to the Kingdom of Holland and to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Wilhelmus is the country’s national anthem. The music dates back to at least the year 1572, making it the oldest melody used in a country’s anthem. The origin of the lyrics is uncertain, but it is said that the words are at least 400 years old.
Despite the national flag consists of red, white, and blue colors, orange is the national color as the monarchy is from the House of Orange. On the king’s birthday on 27th April – Dutch people dress in orange and celebrate their country with outdoor parties, picnics and parades.
Exactly because of King’s love to the orange color we have orange carrots nowadays. They were black, yellow, red, purple or white. An orange variant was made in honor of the House of Orange, that led the revolt against the Spanish and later became the Dutch Royal Family.
The Dutch are the most ancient cheese producers. They have been producing it since 400 A.D. Nowadays Netherlands is the world’s biggest exporter of cheese; its dairy industry worth a mind-blowing €7 billion.
Amsterdam has the world’s oldest stock exchange. The Dutch East India Company is the first truly multinational company in the world. It issued stocks in 1602 and became the first company to do so.
The fairytale hero of Santa Claus came from the Netherlands. There is a holiday called Sinterklaas However, Dutch immigrants who moved to the United States took it with them and transformed it in Santa Claus and to Christmas time.
The population of Netherlands is just a slightly bigger than 17 million people. This is slightly more than in Moscow in Russia and slightly less than in the state of Florida in the USA.
Both Dutch and Frisian are official languages in the Netherlands, although English is also spoken by the majority of the population.
The largest Netherlands cities are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven.
The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, 822 000 people live there. For comparison, approximately the same number of inhabitants lives in San Francisco in California or in Saratov in Russia.
The second most important city in the country is The Hague. Here are the royal residence of the country and all administrative institutions located.